How to get rid of raccoons? (Humanely)
Raccoons can be cute—but not so much when they’re inside your house, tearing up your insulation and creating holes in your roof. Raccoons can cause some serious and extensive damage to your home, including but not limited to: creating holes in your roof, chewing on electrical wires and damaging your electrical system, damaging HVAC systems, destroying insulation, destroying pipes, and much more. It’s
important that you have raccoons removed from your home as quickly as possible to prevent further damage.
Raccoons can and should be removed humanely. Thankfully there are numerous ways that you can humanely remove raccoons from your home; the following are some of the best ways to humanely get rid of raccoons.
Make loud noises to deter raccoons from staying
Raccoons will typically not stay somewhere that does not feel safe, and you can help your home feel less safe for raccoons by making loud noises. You should try to concentrate the noise to the area where the raccoons are staying, such as the attic or other areas of the home. Loud noises that may deter raccoons include playing loud music, playing a loud TV program, banging pots and pans and similar disturbing
Shine bright lights in the area where raccoons are staying
Raccoons want to feel unnoticed and protected from predators, and you can eliminate their feeling of security in the darkness by shining bright lights into the area where the raccoons have nested. This can be done with large lanterns, flashlights, and even interior spotlights. You may need to shine more than one light, depending on where the raccoons have decided to create a nest. Try to aim the light inside the
nest for maximum exposure.
Place vinegar-soaked rags or bowls of vinegar in the area
Another way that you can make your home unappealing to raccoons is by making it smell awful for them. Raccoons do not like the smell of vinegar, so one way to remove them humanely is to place bowls of vinegar or rags soaked in vinegar around the area where the raccoons are staying. If possible, place the bowls or rags as closely as possible (or even inside, if it is safe) to the nest.
Hire a professional
If all else fails, you will want to hire a professional to have the raccoons removed humanely from your home. In some cases, the raccoons may be too stubborn to leave or they may have found themselves trapped without an effective means to leave your home. The raccoons could also have babies, which means that the adult raccoons won’t leave the nest even with loud noises, annoying smells and bright lights. A professional will be able to locate and remove any dependent babies along with the adult raccoons.
After you have had raccoons removed from your home, don’t forget to assess the damage they have done so that it can be repaired promptly and professionally. And remember, if you want to remove raccoons humanely from your home, keep the above tips in mind.
How to trap a raccoon?
Want to trap a raccoon but not sure how to do it? If so, then you needn’t worry. In this article, you’ll learn how to trap a raccoon right from trap selection to the preventive measures. Ready to get started? Well, let’s get to the steps.
Step 1: Choose The Right Trap
When choosing a raccoon trap, the type and size of the trap matters.
a. Type of the trap.
There are three types of traps that you can use for trapping raccoons.
- Body grip traps: This type of trap snaps down on the raccoon when sprung. After that, it chokes or squeezes the raccoon to death. However, the trap is difficult and dangerous to use.
- Paw hold trap: It’s equipped with a small snapping device that clamps down on the raccoon’s paw and holds on to it. This method is not humane as you’ll have to kill the trapped raccoon by shooting it.
- Live cage trap: It’s a large metal cage in which you put food to lure the raccoon. Once the raccoon gets inside, it steps on the trip pan, which triggers the trap door to shut instantly. Common brands include the Havahart brand or Tomahawk.
Note: The first two types of traps are strongly not recommended since they kill the trapped raccoon. And in some states, they may be highly prohibited.
b. Size of the trap
The recommended size is 12x12x36. Depending on your preferences, you can choose a trap with either a single or double door.
Step 2: Set Your Trap
Consider placing traps where raccoons live or in areas with raccoon damage. Since raccoons prefer hidden places, the most likely places to place your trap include:
- Underneath structures
- Wood piles
- Tree hollows
- Fence lines
- Along Walls
Besides that, set your trap correctly on a flat surface. Also, set the trip pan with the appropriate tension and ensure that the trap is stable.
Note: To achieve the best result, you should set multiple traps in different locations.
Step 3: Add An Appropriate Bait To The Trap.
Since raccoons have an excellent appetite for sweet food, using marshmallows, white bread, and watermelons give excellent results. Lead some bait up to the raccoon’s trap, put some at the back of the trap, and on the rare side of the trip pan. Also, ensure you place your bait at the back inside the trap and replace it every two days.
Note: Even though meaty baits seems the best bet, it might attract other wild animals such as stray cats and opossums.
Step 4: Relocate The Captivated Raccoon
Inspect your traps every morning. In case you find other animals trapped, release them immediately. If you find a raccoon, keep the cage away from your body and relocate it at least 5 miles away.
Step 5: Eliminate All Raccoon’s Attractants
After relocating the trapped raccoon, carry out the following:
- Clear your home of all raccoon’s attractants.
- Cover your garbage, fishponds, and seal off woodpiles.
- Seal all possible entryways and holes in walls or buildings.
- Use raccoon repellent.
With all the above steps followed, you’ll trap and relocate raccoons and prevent them from ever coming to your home.
How to keep raccoons from getting into your house?
There are many ways to keep raccoons out of your home. Some strategies are easy everyday changes that can deter raccoons from your property, while others require more work to ensure your home is free of possible nesting areas for these critters. Whatever your need may be, this article will outline some great tips and tricks to keep your house protected from pesky raccoons.
Raccoons are attracted to food sources so the first steps in preventing raccoons from feeding on your property is to ensure that food is not readily available to the them. This includes:
- Bringing pet food inside
- Pet food that is left outside at night is easily accessible to raccoons.
- Securing trash cans
- Make sure garbage is secure in trash cans with a heavy lid or tie down the lid to ensure it can’t be opened easily.
- Safeguard bird feeders
- Bringing feeders in at night or using a feeder that deters pests is best.
- Keep your yard clean of fruits and nuts that have fallen off of trees
- Raccoons are attracted to any food source, so keeping your yard clean from fallen fruits and nuts is ideal.
- Fence off your compost, gardens, and ponds
- Electric fences are best to ward off raccoons.
- Bringing pet food inside
Raccoons seek out food sources that can be easily accessible from their nesting places. Another way to discourage raccoons from your home is to eliminate possible nesting sites. This includes:
- Keeping your yard clean
- Overgrown foliage, wood debris, and large tree branches that allow easy access to your roof are especially attractive to raccoons.
- Sealing off possible entry points
- Open spaces under porches or decks can be protected by burying hardware mesh under the soil in these areas.
- Sealing off your chimney is especially important as it is a common nesting spot for raccoons.
- Keeping your yard clean
The above methods are the most reliable for keeping raccoons from getting into your house. There are other raccoon preventatives that can be used but are not necessarily the best options. If used, these methods are best paired with the above tips. These include:
- Scare Tactics
- Motion sensored lights, loud noises, or even pets can scare raccoons from your property. However, these scare tactics won’t deter raccoons forever if there is a food source available.
- Scare Tactics
- Cage traps can be used but should also be paired with preventative measures so as not to attract more raccoons in the future.
- Hot pepper spray: Raccoons are sensitive to the taste and smell of peppers. Spraying a hot pepper-water solution around trash cans, gardens, and nesting spots can prevent raccoons from lingering in those areas.
- Spices: Black pepper, cayenne, and cinnamon can be sprinkled around areas that raccoons are attracted to.
- Ammonia: Soaking cotton balls in ammonia and placing them around your property where you nor your pets can smell or reach it will especially repel raccoons if they have nested inside your home.
- Pet urine: Dogs and cats are predators to raccoons and the scent of pet urine outside will deter raccoons from feeding in those areas.
The main tip to keep your home free from raccoons is to eliminate food sources and possible nesting areas. All of the methods above should be useful in helping you deter raccoons from your property and keeping them from entering your house.
How to keep raccoons out of my chimney?
During the spring and summer, chimneys are often used by female raccoons as nesting places because they are safe, quiet, and dark. However, you can humanely remove raccoons from your chimney. It is inadvisable to use smoke, naphtha flakes, mothballs, or anything else poured down the chimney to get rid of them. This is because an adult raccoon can easily climb out of the chimney, but babies are not able to. Several ways in which one can keep raccoons out of the chimney include:
- Install a commercial, stainless steel chimney cap over the top of the chimney. Make sure screws are used to fasten the cap to the flue. Once you have capped the chimney, you should clean out all nesting debris following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) safety practices. The CDC recommends you avoid contaminating your hands and clothes. To prevent cross-contamination, wear disposable gloves.
- Close the chimney damper then turn on a radio talk station, turning up the volume, and putting it in the fireplace. You can use a short pole, broomstick, or board to bang the bottom of the damper. This noise will irritate the raccoons and cause them to flee.
- Sprinkling coyote urine or raccoon eviction fluid is another option. You can buy these from a hunting store, farm supply center, or online. They can be put on a rag then above the damper. If you are unable to find a natural repellent, put one cup of ammonia in a bowl on a footstool below the damper. You may need to open the damper 1/8 inch then leave the deterrent there. The raccoons should leave in two to three days.
- Remove the young raccoons by hand. This should never be done with the mother still in the chimney as she can viciously attack in an attempt to protect her babies. Wait until the mother is out and then get the babies out. In most cases, you will need to use a mirror to see the young so you can grab them with your hands or a safe snare.
- Hiring a professional is one of the best ways to get rid of raccoons in your chimney. They will have a special trapping system that easily mounts right on top of your chimney flue. Professionals may use this with or without a pole and trap system that makes the adult raccoon move upwards until they enter the trap. However, if you insist on trying it yourself, you may see results by placing a trap at the top of the chimney. Just be sure to check it very regularly so that the raccoon is not stuck and exposed to the elements. This is especially a concern during the day when overheating and dehydration are real concerns.
While getting rid of raccoons, you are encouraged to release trapped ones nearby. Female raccoons will return for their young if any are left behind. You can carefully capture infant raccoon cubs with gloved hands or by using a capture pole/grasper. Place the young ones in a cardboard box, secured outside and near the entry hole at dusk.
How to keep raccoons out of my garbage/trash?
Raccoons are the ultimate trash thieves. They’re fast and sneaky and rely on their burglary skills to make it through the winter every year. If you’re not careful, they could end up becoming reliant on your trash. The results of a raccoon raiding a trash can are quite destructive: a mess of trash all over a lawn. There are several strategies you can use to keep raccoons from your garbage.
- Change Your Trash Day Habits
Put out your garbage during the morning of pick-up instead of the night before. Raccoons are nocturnal so they do most of their damage overnight. Use a double bag to keep your trash which is tightly sealed so as to keep pungent smells contained. Instead of placing garbage bags at the curbside, protect them by placing them inside a trash bin. It is advisable to use a trash can that is specifically made to withstand wildlife or a metal trash can with a locking lid.
- Use an Animal Repellent
This can be used to keep raccoons away from your trash. Sprinkle granular animal repellents such as Havahart Critter Ridder, or liquids such as Just Scentsational synthetic wolf urine around the area where trash cans are stored. Additionally, you can spray a liquid animal repellent directly onto trash bags and recycling bins as you place them by the curb. If you employ both repelling methods, you’ll have greater long-term success. Commercial repellents can ward off raccoons from coming close to the vicinity of your trash. In addition, you can set up an electronic repellent in the directions that the raccoons are approaching. The repellent will shoot a quick burst of water, motion and sound when it senses a raccoon approaching.
- Tie Your Garbage Can Lids
Raccoons are infamous for using elaborate methods to access garbage. To get what they want they will knock things over, climb, burrow, squeeze, leap and sneak. To prevent this, you can use a sturdy fastener to tie down the lid of your outdoor garbage cans. Bungee cords are highly recommended because they keep your garbage very secure and they’re also easy to remove quickly. An easy solution is to place a heavy rock or cinder block on top of your lid. Attaching clamps, a chain-and-padlock combo, or specifically designed garbage-lid straps are all good strategies to ward off raccoons.
- Rinse Disposables
Before you throw out or recycle food containers, rinse them out in the sink because anything in a food package that you haven’t eaten becomes a meal for raccoons. It’s tempting to throw them out as soon as you empty the containers. A little rinsing could go a long way when it comes to averting bushy-tailed problems in the future.
- Motion Detection Lighting
Install motion detecting lights near the garbage area. Pests such as raccoons are often deterred by sudden bright light.
How to keep raccoons from eating pet food and seeds?
Raccoons are nocturnal and omnivorous, meaning they eat anything from grubs to crayfish, as well as pet food and seeds. Even though wild raccoons prefer areas with trees and a source of water, more and more of them are raiding gardens and bird feeders because they are an easy source of food. The persistence of raccoons has inspired many different solutions. One of them is bound to work for you. Below are tips that may be helpful:
- First check local and state laws on trapping and releasing raccoons. You can set live raccoon traps and release the raccoon at least three miles away. Raccoons will eat virtually anything; try fish-flavored cat food, chicken necks, ears of corn, or whole peanuts for bait.
- To keep raccoons away, try scattering blood meal or wood ashes around your plants.
- Grind up garlic, mix it with an equal portion of chili powder, and spread it around your seeds. Frequent applications are needed.
- You can hang shoes and clothes that smell of human perspiration around your pet food and seeds. Human sweat has an acrid, ammonia-like smell which is very irritating for the raccoons.
- Tune a radio to a rock station and set it where you store your pet food and seeds (advisably far from the house due to the noise). Since raccoons are nocturnal creatures, they are not used to all the noise present during the daytime. This explains why the noise can be startling to them. Another method is to use high-frequency sounds which can only be heard by raccoons. Anything between 25-85 kHz should be easily heard by a raccoon, but unheard by humans.
- Put bright lights where you store your pet food and seeds. Raccoons are nocturnal creatures who thrive in the dark. The presence of light repels these pests and from the experiences of other people suffering from raccoon disturbances, the brighter the light, the more effective it is in repelling these pests.
- Put a smooth pipe around the pole of the bird feeder that is loose enough to move when the raccoon steps on it. The raccoon is unable to climb the smooth pipe and the movement under its feet might scare it away. It is also advisable to hang your bird feeders away from tree branches and structures that raccoons can use to get to the feeder.
- Spray the areas in which you store pet food and seeds with raccoon repellents such as mothballs, ammonia, castor oil or peppermint, among others. These are not harmful to the animals, but keep them away from the area. Such repellents are sold in most bird feeding stores.
- Take your bird feeders down at night when raccoons are most active and store them in the garage, shed, or a secure container that the raccoon can’t get into.
- Reduce the seed that falls to the ground (an attractant for raccoons) by placing seed catching trays under your feeders.
How to keep raccoons out of my yard?
Your yard has many hotspots for invading raccoons. Find out which areas in your yard are susceptible to raccoon activity, and methods you can use to keep them away.
- Garden Beds
Raccoons are omnivores, meaning that they eat all kinds of plants as well as animals. They’re accurately known as marauders of sweet corn patches, but they also commonly feast on other fruits and vegetables. These animals have a strong sense of smell and taste. Therefore, you can keep them out of this part of your yard by irritating their sense of smell, taste, and touch with hot pepper granules. Create a barrier by spreading raccoon repellent around the garden. Additionally, motion-activated sprinklers can be used to deter raccoons.
- Trash Cans
Your kitchen trash can include lots of items that are appealing to raccoons, especially meat and fish scraps. Once raccoons find sources of food, they will make regular visits to the food source. In order to prevent this from happening, you can attach the lids to the cans with straps or stretchable cords so that they don’t get tipped over. Liquid spray repellents are also effective because they irritate the animals’ highly sensitive noses and feet. They can be sprayed right onto the trash bags and cans.
- Fish Ponds
Many homeowners create small backyard ponds so they can enjoy the soothing sounds of running water and watching fish swim back and forth. For raccoons, these ponds offer fresh water and easily accessible sources of food. The solution in this case is to place motion-sensing lights around the pond so that the animals get startled by them and flee. A granular raccoon repellent can also be used to keep these pests away. In case motion-sensing lights are too pricy, one can place motion activated sprinklers instead around the pond to repel these creatures.
- Shed, Garage, or Doghouse
Undisturbed shelters safe from predators are highly desirable to raccoons raising their young. The protected spaces inside sheds, garages, and unoccupied doghouses are ideal for them. You can get rid of raccoons in these areas by capturing them with live traps. After getting rid of them, cover the entrances and exits with 10-gauge galvanized hardware mesh (1/4 or 1/3 inch thick wire). The bottom edge of the wire should be buried at least 6 inches deep and the covering extended outward for 12 inches to prevent the raccoons from finding a way to pry it loose.
Raccoons are attracted to sweet foods, especially ripe fruit. They may first come for the fallen fruit then eventually move to the trees to eat fruit from there. To avoid this, you should clean up fallen fruit as soon as possible to prevent the attraction of raccoons to your trees. To completely thwart their climbing prowess, you can wrap a sheet-metal baffle around the trunk of trees that they’ve been frequenting. Make sure it is 2 feet wide and placed higher than 4 feet above the base of the tree so that the raccoons can’t jump past it.
How to protect my pets or chickens from raccoons?
One of the foremost concerns for pet owners whose pets interact with raccoons is the risk of contracting diseases. Raccoons are known carriers of diseases such as rabies. They also cause injuries to pets by launching strategic attacks on their sensitive parts such as eyes, abdomen and chest areas. Since they are omnivorous creatures, they pose a threat to your chickens as well. They are one of the best known and easily recognized non-domesticated chicken predators. Fortunately, there are effective steps that keep raccoons at bay, therefore, protecting your pets and chickens.
Raccoon Proof the Chicken Coop
Make sure there are raccoon-proof latches on the doors and windows of your coop such as a padlock or combination lock. You should also use something heavy like a cinder block to lean up against the door. It is advisable to use hardware cloth around the run and over coop windows. Chicken wire will keep your chickens in, but can be ripped apart by raccoons. Hardware cloth is sturdier. Bury it 2 to 4 feet deep around your coop to deter the raccoons from digging. You may also want to put it over everything like a roof and secure it tightly so the raccoons can’t gain access by climbing.
Limit and Monitor Outdoor Activities
Your pets need outdoor exercise. That’s an undeniable fact. However, allowing your cat or dog to roam freely outside is tantamount to exposing him/her to wildlife such as raccoons. Try to avoid areas that are known to be frequented by wild animals. When you allow your pets outside, you should use a leash in order to keep their roaming in your control. Also, consider keeping your pets indoors at night as this is when raccoons are most active.
Surround Your Yard with Bad Odors
Raccoons do not like the smell of cayenne pepper, hot peppers, garlic, onions, or ammonia. Putting cayenne pepper around your yard is a safe way to help deter raccoons from coming onto your property. You can try a homemade raccoon repellent by boiling cayenne pepper in a gallon of water. Add 2-3 jalapenos and one onion. Boil for 20 minutes. Spray around your chicken coop and pet houses.
Use Lights to Scare Raccoons Away
Since raccoons are nocturnal, they mostly sleep during the day. Therefore, using a strobe light or a motion sensor light at night might keep them at bay. Make sure that you buy a light that is meant for small animals as many security lights only detect larger animals and humans. You will also want to check the accuracy and direction so that the light will detect animals.
Convert Your Property into a Wildlife Free Zone
In addition to the measures above, you can protect your pets and chickens from raccoon encounters by reducing the likelihood of wild animals entering your space. This can be done using exclusion strategies such as repairing cracks and holes that could provide access. Store your pet food and water inside and remove any traces of food around your yard. You should also consider changing your garbage disposal habits to ensure that you don’t attract raccoons to your property.
How to make my property less attractive to raccoons?
We’ve talked in the past about the extensive damage raccoons can do to your property. They can destroy walls and insulation can create a breeding ground for bacteria and even pose a risk to you and your family’s safety. So today, we thought we’d look at some easy ways to make your home less attractive to raccoons.
- Secure the trash!
We’re starting with this because pretty much everyone knows that raccoons are attracted to trash cans left outside the house. It’s only normal that the raccoons are looking for food. But on this snack trip, they might observe your property and get other more permanent ideas in their heads. Make sure that you use solid trash cans with heavy lids. If you can find one that has some sort of elastic or band that keeps the lid securely over it, then that would be great.
Another good idea would be to tie the trash cans to a post so that they can’t be moved. If raccoons are having a hard time getting into your trash, they might think twice about going for your home.
Bring all food inside the house at night.
Whether you’re in the habit of leaving snacks for your dog out in the yard or if you keep bird feeders, make sure to bring all these food sources inside at night (as raccoons are nocturnal creatures). Otherwise, you risk raccoons munching on them and making their favorite new pub out of your yard!
Also, if the trees in your yard happen to grow fruit, look for that as well and bring any fallen pieces inside.
Fence your garden.
As above, if you have a food garden, make sure to fence it, so that raccoons can’t get to it. But beware that regular fences don’t really do the job, as raccoons have no qualms about digging under. Ideally you’ll want some sort of electric fence if at all possible.
Look for any access points.
This one should be obvious, but alas many forget. First of all, we encourage you to seal off the chimney, as raccoons prefer getting in through there. But a chimney isn’t your only concern. You also want to look for potential holes and weak links in the structure of the house. Holes underneath the porch are a particularly tricky one that raccoons love, so inspect your home!
- Clean out your yard.
While some raccoons are simply hungry and looking for nourishment, most of the ones you’ll find nesting on your property are actually pregnant females, looking for a place to rest and raise their babies.
Endearing as that may be, you cannot afford the raccoon damage implied by that, so make sure you clean out your yard of dead leaves, fallen branches, trim shrubberies, etc. You might also consider trimming the branches of the trees if they lead up to the roof so that raccoons don’t have a way in.
One last thing we urge you to remember is never to leave out food for raccoons. We know it might seem sweet, but they are capable of surviving on their own and by doing that, you’re just putting your property at risk.