Raccoons can be a very pesky animal, especially if they are living around your house digging in your trash cans. If you are trying to get rid of a raccoon, you need to understand how their mind works, what motivates them, and that they are not as cute as you see the baby raccoons in the movies. Fixing a raccon problem can take a lot of time, work, and a little bit of money, so you need to be persistent and patient when dealing with these versatile critters. Raccoons like to nest in trees, which can be a big problem if you want other animals such as squirrels, birds or owls to nest also. The Hollywood movies tend to make these creatures look very cute with their tiny claws and cute faces with coon eyes. Don’t be fooled though, they are a very serious problem and can be quite dangerous.
How to trap a raccoon
Probably the easiest way to get rid of raccoons overnight is to trap them. If you have a raccoon stealing your dog or cat food on your back deck or porch, then it is necessary to trap them since not much will scare them away from this feast. Many of these animals are found near large bodies of water and make their homes in trees with leaves and sticks. To push them out of their house, you need to find a way to trap them and release them somewhere else more than 10 miles from your location or they will find their way back. Using a live animal trap, such as those found in Orscheln’s, is the best way get rid of raccoons without killing them. They are a pretty solid build and cost under $50. Since they are reusable, this is a great way to keep them from coming back. Always check your local laws about relocating raccoons since it is illegal in many states without a permit.
I find that tune and cat food is the best bait to lure these coons in. Fruits work well too, and it may take a few tries since other animals might wander in. Be careful after catching the racoon though, since they will bite and can spread rabies. Some hunters catch these animals, kill them by shooting them, and sell their hides. There are also many ways to build your own homemade raccoon trap, but we will leave that for another post. A DIY homemade trap is fun to make and usually works, but it’s more time-efficient to just buy your own. Many states have laws pertaining to the killing of trapped animals, so always check with your local conservation department.
Keep your yard clean
Probably the best way to prevent raccoons from nesting under your house or in your chimney is to simply keep your yard and house clean. Mow your lawn once a week and keep all food inside containers. If you have an outside cat, make sure to feed it during the day and hide the food. Raccoons are very smart and will find a way to get inside of the tub. To keep them out of your chimney, consider purchasing some chicken wire and placing over the top of your chimney access to prevent them and other animals, such as birds, from living in there during the winter.
If you have trash cans, a lid is vital. These critters are on the lookout for food and your trash can is the perfect place for them to get it. If you don’t want raccoons in your trash cans, or even around your house, get a lid that locks and will stay on. The trick is hiding the smell, since after they smell desirable food, almost nothing will stop them from tearing it open. If you are constantly feeding them inadvertently through your cat food or your trash, then they simply will never leave. Consider placing a cinder block or using a bungee cord to keep the lid on tight. Double bagging your trash may also be needed though, it is quite wasteful and will require extra resources and twice the money.
It will be worth it in the long run if it scares the coons away though. Remember that preventing raccoons is probably the best way to deal with them in the first place. Metal trash cans may be more expensive, but works better at keeping pests out since raccoons have sharp teeth and claws that can rip through thin plastic. Also, try to keep your trash can bucket clean by rinsing the bottom out with a hose and some soap. Tip them upside down to let all the nasty mosquito eggs and gunk at the bottom to fall out. This will keep bears away too. I highly advice keeping trashcans locked in your garage when not on the street for pickup.
If you have raccoons hiding under your house or in the bottom of your porch, get it sealed tight. You may need to invest in some extra plywood or scatter board, but the results will be the lack of these pests in your house. Another problem is that raccons love to live in the attic of houses. If they can find a way on the top of your roof, usually from a tree, they will find a way into your attic. Some find holes on the ends of your house, while others will dig through and eat the shingles if necessary. The point is, keep your trees cut back enough to prevent them from jumping on your roof to keep them out of your attic. Many people plant trees near their house to provide adequate shade in the summer and reduce the air conditioning costs, but you need to keep the limbs trimmed.
Probably the scariest part about raccoons in the attic is that when trying to remove them, there are baby raccoons up there. Getting rid of baby raccoons is a very dangerous situation since the mother will become very territorial and do everything to protect her kids just as any mother would. I recommend calling a professional exterminator to get aid in removing the problem. Some people think that raccoons spray like skunks, but this is not true and they don’t spray, but they will leave little droppings, called scat. Raccoon scat is very easy to identify and can become a problem if found in your house.
If you can, keep bird feeders and humming bird food away from their reach. Consider the pests you will face when planting a fruit tree, since they go crazy for fruits such as apples and pears. Sweet food lures in raccoons like flies on poop. If needed, bring your bird feeders in at night since raccoons are nocturnal and will stay away during the day. If you follow these methods for several weeks, and persuade your neighbors do to the same, maybe they will wander into a different neighborhood when they realize the food source has run dry.
Consider buying and putting up some fence around your yard to discourage raccoons from sticking around. Although this will not get rid of them permanently, if you have no food on your property, and place a large fence, they will not spend the energy to climb over it. Some people even install an electric fence to keep out raccoons from their gardens. If you have a garden with valuable vegetables and fruits and don’t want any animals to eat them or wreak havoc, simply install an electric fence. Although it may cost more, it’s definitely a suitable action to do. I recommend using two strands of wire, one high and one low. Remember that the larger the garden you have, the higher amount of voltage you will need. Also, fencing such as barbed wire can be used, but is more permanent and is not recommended for those with children.
Scare them away
If all else fails, you can deploy some devices that are manufactured to scary away these nocturnal pests. Many devices are designed in the aid of removing these critters from your yard, house, and farm. The only problem that arises is their intellect. Raccoons tend to be pretty intelligent and smart creatures and will figure out quick that what you are trying to do. My best advice for you to scare them away is to mix up the noisy devices every now and them to keep them on their toes. Consider getting a dog, or letting your dog outside often to try and scare them into the trees for a while. Flood lights are a good investment not only to scare away pests, but also thieves. Automatic sprinklers have also been known to effectively get rid of coons in your yard.
If you really want to keep raccoons out of your yard and away from your homes and cars, sprinkle a little bit of cayenne pepper on your property. Many animals hate cayanne pepper and will do whatever it takes to stay away from it. Just like humans find it to produce a burning sensation, so will mammals such as coons. They will not eat anything with this harsh cayanne pepper taste in it, so if needed sprinkle some at the bottom of your trash can too. Raccoons can carry diseases such as rabies, roundworm, leptospirosis and distemper, so take extra care when messing with these viscous creatures.
Many homeowners have difficulty in removing raccoons from their roof and backyard, and you can do that very simply by using some ammonia. Consider buying some ammonia and spraying it around your house, but always read the full directions and keep kids or pets away. Soak a towel in some ammonia and throw it into the nest if possible.
Also, predator urine has been known to scare away and keep away these pests. Wolf urine, along with bobcats or mountain lions, does an excellent job at keeping many small rodents away. Another great method at keeping raccoons away from your campfire at night is to shoot a gun. A gun is very loud and will terrify any wandering coon that is searching for your hot dogs or other camp fire or camping food. In certain states, you don’t even have to just shoot it in the air, you can aim it right at the coon and kill it dead.
For a non lethal way to remove these scavengers, consider building a scarecrow. The problem with scarecrows is that since they don’t move and raccoons are very smart, eventually they will realize and the scarecrow will have no effect. A common fix to this is to install a sensor that creates a very annoying loud noise when activated. If you have a pool and want to keep any predators out of it, wrap it with some tarp.