Educational guide will help you to resolve your problem with a raccoon
Remember, raccoons are wild animals, and although they are not interested in attacking a person, and they very rarely transmit disease, please take proper safety precautions. Raccoons are basically urban animals, and they love to eat out of garbage cans or dumpsters or pet food dishes, and they frequently set up a den or a nest inside human dwellings, including in the walls or attic. They are very strong and have dexterous hands. You will find that the best way to get rid of raccoons is often with simple and free habitat modifications.
WARNING: In most cases, a raccoon in an attic is a female with a litter of babies.
STEP 1 – Inspect the exterior of the house, and find the raccoon entry hole.
STEP 2 – Climb into the attic space, and intimidate the mother. She may move out.
STEP 3 – That failing, spread raccoon eviction fluid in the attic and around the entry hole.
STEP 4 – If that didn’t work, attempt bright lights and loud radio in the attic for a week.
DECISION – If the female doesn’t move herself and the babies out, decide if you want them out now, or if you are willing to wait 8-10 months for them to grow and move out on their own.
STEP 5 – If you want them out, go in the attic and remove the litter of young by hand.
STEP 6a – You can either wait for the female to leave, and then seal the entry hole shut,
STEP 6b – Or you can use the young as “live bait” to lure her into a trap with them.
STEP 7 – Relocate them all together (this is a delicate process so read more about it).
STEP 8 – Seal the entry hole, and all vulnerable areas, with professional grade repairs.
STEP 9 – Clean the raccoon droppings and disinfect the attic space.
It can be a fairly simple and easy process, or it can be very complex, depending on the behavior of the raccoon. For more detail on each of the above steps
PREVENTION IS KEY – In most cases, you can solve the problem by taking away the attraction. You do not need to trap and remove the raccoon – that’s just a temporary fix anyway.
GARBAGE CANS – If possible, keep garbage indoors, and put it out for the garbage men in the morning. If not, you can drill holes in the side of the can and lid, and then use standard bungee cords to strap the lids on tight. Note, this isn’t a guarantee – it has to be very secure to work.
BIRD FEEDER – You can install a large squirrel baffle, which will also work for raccoons. You can also temporarily leave the feeder empty until the raccoon stops associating with a food source, then re-fill it.
PET FOOD – This is a no-brainer. If you leave pet food outdoors, it’s an open invitation to raccoons, opossums, skunks, stray cats, and more. Bring it inside if you don’t want wildlife eating it!
KILLING GOLDFISH – If you have a decorative pond with goldfish, simply buy some chicken wire at a hardware store, and either anchor it down, or make it into a ball that the goldfish can hide in.
RAIDING GARDEN – Raccoons are strong, and excellent climbers. So the usual trick of a fence around the garden won’t cut it, unless it’s a really good fence, with razor wire around the top.
IN THE YARD – If you think a raccoon is digging in your lawn, it’s quite possibly a different animal. Regardless, if you simply want to get rid of raccoons in your yard, your best bet is to find out whatever is attracting them, and modify it: remove it, or raccoon-proof it.
WARNING: In most cases, a raccoon in a wall or chimney is a female with a litter of babies.
IN THE WALL – If the raccoon is or climbing up and down the wall (or in a tight ceiling area), follow the above instructions for raccoon in the attic. The only extra challenge is accessing them. You may need to drill a hole near the warm spot (don’t drill into baby raccoons!) and install the raccoon eviction fluid there. You may need to cut a hole in the wall if it comes to removing baby raccoons by hand.
IN A CHIMNEY – Follow similar instructions as removing them from an attic. You have the negative of inaccessibility to deal with, but the positive of such a small space, in which eviction fluid works well. Never start a fire! That is the worst thing you can do. Read more detailed instructions: raccoons in chimney. After they are out, be sure to secure the open flu with a steel chimney cap.
STUCK IN A DUMPSTER – This is fairly simple, just stick a 2×4 plank of wood, or a thick branch into the dumpster, so they can climb out. Prevent future occurrences by moving dumpsters away from walls or fences that raccoons can easily climb, or better yet, leave the lids shut.
STUCK DOWN A WINDOW WELL – Same thing. Drop in something that will allow them to climb out, and then leave the area and wait. Window well guards will prevent it from happening again.
INSIDE THE HOME – If a raccoon somehow got stuck in your bedroom, kitchen, or living room, the best bet is to just open all doors, go elsewhere, and wait. It’ll find its way out. No brooms necessary. Same goes for the basement or cellar, if one gets stuck down there.
POOPING IN THE SWIMMING POOL – Raccoons like to wash their food in water, if possible (procyon lotor means “washes with hands”), and they like to defecate in water. They will often enter the swimming pool via the shallow front step and do their business. To stop this, you can install a board with nails sticking up on the front step, or just put unstable chicken wire over the area.
ENTERING HOUSE THROUGH PET DOOR – They often enter in search of pet food! So either keep the pet food locked in another room, or lock the pet door for a period of time until the raccoon quits. Or get a magnetic pet door that responds only to the collar of your dog or cat.
KILLING CHICKENS IN A COOP – Not much to say here except that you need a sturdier chicken coop. That goes for future raccoons, increasingly common urban foxes and coyotes, etc.
ROLLING UP SOD – They sometimes roll up fresh sod to look for worms/grubs. Some people have had success with motion-sensor water sprayers at keeping them away. If that doesn’t work, this is a tough case, and one of the few in which you may have to resort to inhumane cage trapping and euthanization if you can’t stand sod destruction.
UNDER THE HOUSE, PORCH, OR SHED – Find out how they got in. In many cases, the entire perimeter of the structure is open, and that’s an invitation to raccoons, skunks, stray cats, everything. If you don’t want animals under there, install a strong steel mesh exclusion barrier. Bolt it into the structure, and bury the bottom at least 8″ underground, with the mesh sloping outward. To get them out, you can use the newspaper trick or a one-way door.
Raccoons are “well-rounded,” often plump, with reddish brown to grey fur. Adults weigh an average of 15 pounds, and are readily identified by alternating rings on the tail and characteristic black “mask.” Raccoons are important furbearers, providing income and recreation to hunters and trappers. Many people enjoy watching or photographing raccoons. Some people feed them, but this is unnecessary and unwise. Keeping raccoons as pets may be harmful to both humans and raccoons, and is illegal.
Distribution and Habitat
Raccoons are among the most widespread mammals. The adaptable raccoon can be found everywhere, from the most remote forest to the crowded inner city. Raccoon populations often are more dense in large cities than in the wild, but abundance varies widely in different types of habitat and different parts of the state.
Raccoons feed mainly at night. They eat fruit, nuts, berries, small animals, and insects and also will feed on pet food, garbage, and garden crops. Female raccoons look for den sites in late winter. Litters of one to seven young are born in April and May. Young raccoons open their eyes about three weeks after birth, and often announce their presence with mewing, twittering, or crying sounds. They nurse for about six weeks, then leave the den to follow the mother until September or early October when they disperse and establish their own territories.
Mortality and Disease Factors
Canine distemper is a common disease and is usually fatal. Raccoons with distemper act tame or confused, and eventually lose coordination, become unconscious, and die. Distemper cannot be transmitted to humans or immunized pets.
Raccoon rabies reached in 1990 and has become widespread. Rabies is a viral disease with symptoms similar to distemper. Rabid raccoons may behave aggressively, salivate heavily, or have paralyzed hind legs. Rabies can be transmitted to humans and other animals by the bite of an infected animal. If you suspect a raccoon is rabid, avoid or destroy the animal and contact local health officials.
Roundworm infects most raccoons at some time in their lives. The roundworm rarely causes the raccoon any problems, but the animals pass large numbers of eggs to the environment. Eggs ingested by another animal may hatch and cause nerve damage.
Raccoons are protected by law. No one may possess a raccoon without a license, and licenses are not issued for pet wildlife. Hunting or trapping raccoons requires a license. The law allows unlicensed homeowners and farmers to destroy raccoons that damage property. However, property owners should try eliminating food and shelter before killing the animal.
One of the most common wildlife problems face is garden raiding. The culprits are usually rabbits, groundhogs and deer, but occasionally a raccoon or bear will drop in for things like sweet corn and berries. Inexpensive solutions include using scarecrows, hanging pie tins and spraying peppery liquids on plants. Many home gardeners also place fences around their gardens.
Live-traps come in a variety of sizes and are of a cage-with-closing-door design. These traps are ideal for residential areas because if you catch the neighbor’s pet by mistake, all you have to do is open the door to release the dog or cat from the trap. Troublesome rabbits and squirrels can be relocated to another area. However, anyone who sets one of these traps must recognize it has the potential to catch something other than he or she may have ever expected; namely a skunk. The problem, of course, is what to do with the skunk. It’s liable to spray just about anyone who comes near the trap, even if the person is just trying to set it free.
Since skunks – as well as raccoons, bats, groundhogs, foxes and coyotes – are rabies vector species, they should not be relocated like other wildlife. Homeowners who set traps and catch these species face the choice of killing the animal or releasing it. Releasing a skunk or a raccoon can be a risky situation. There’s a chance that you could be sprayed by the skunk, or bitten or scratched. What follows promises to be unpleasant. You’ll either have to be deodorized or anxiously await test results on the trapped animal’s brain tissue to determine if it’s rabid.
Before you set a trap to resolve a wildlife conflict, ask yourself these questions:
Are you prepared to kill the trapped animal?
Do you know how to properly dispose of an animal carcass?
Do you know how to release a trapped animal?
Do you know what bait should be used to ensure you catch the targeted species?
Do you know how frequently you must check a trap set to capture wildlife?
If you can answer “yes” to the aforementioned questions then you should know what you’re getting into when you set a trap. Landowners and homeowners may not trap beavers, bobcats, migratory birds, big game, threatened species or endangered species. Landowners should contact the region office that serves the county where they are located before trapping nuisance wildlife. Also, once traps are set, they must be checked daily.
Get Rid of Raccoons
Why Get Rid of Raccoons?
Despite their innocent looking, cute little faces, raccoons actually have quite a reputation for being mischievous and destructive. Raccoons often knock down trash cans and uproot gardens and sod in search of a meal. Raccoons may also carry and transmit diseases such as rabies or roundworm. Raccoons are capable of becoming aggressive and biting humans or other animals when they are rabid or feel threatened.
There are Steps to getting rid of raccoon pests. When it comes to getting rid of raccoons, there is no magic spray or repellent. These chemicals and other products like sound devices are really just gimmicks. The only proven way to get rid of a raccoon is through preventing access, limiting food sources, and trapping and removal.
It is a little known fact that adult raccoons can fit through an opening as small as 3″ to 4″ in diameter. To prevent access, you should inspect the home or structure for all possible openings, and then seal them off. The most common entrance to a home for raccoons is down the chimney, or else through a window by way of the roof. Methods of preventing access include:
Trim trees and other shrubbery away from the house and roof
Secure a cap of sheet metal over the chimney outlet
Repair openings or holes in the home with heavy wire cloth or wood secured into solid substrate with screws
Electric fences may keep raccoons out of lawn and garden
Important Note: If you suspect a female raccoon or her litter may still be trapped inside your home, seal all entry points but one. This one existing opening will serve as an exit through which you can wait for the raccoon or raccoons to leave the structure before sealing it off. If you seal off ALL openings while a raccoon still exists inside, it may become trapped where you are unable to get to it and proceed to starve to death, resulting in a foul-smelling carcass. If there is a litter trapped inside and you seal the mother out, the litter will die and the mother will be inhumanely kept from her young. Be sure there are no raccoons left inside the structure before sealing off the last opening.
Limit Food Sources
Raccoons are not going to stick around long or make your home their home unless there are enough food sources to sustain them. To limit or eliminate food sources:
Keep all trash in metal cans or bins with tight fitting lids
Regularly splash the outer sides and lids of metals cans with ammonia, since raccoons are repelled by this scent and it also covers up food smells
Weight trash can lids with something heavy like a brick to keep raccoons from removing the lid
When throwing away meat or other foods with a strong odor, double-bag them to reduce smells
Elminate as many sources of water as possible in your hard and near your home
Regularly clean up fallen fruit such as berries in your garden
If possible, cover garden crops with a cage of wire netting.
Don’t leave pet food out at night
Problems with raccoons
Raccoons are living under my house (or in my attic). How can I get them to leave?
Your number one objective is to keep mothers and babies together. If you follow these steps, you should be successful. During nesting season (springtime and summer) patience is a virtue. It’s best to do nothing and wait until the young are big enough to leave on their own. If the mother is removed from the property, the now orphaned babies will soon begin to starve.
After you’ve determined that all of the raccoons – mother and babies – have moved out, you can prevent the situation from happening again by sealing the opening of the den. If you need to hasten the process, the best thing to do is to encourage the raccoons to leave by using mild repellants. To make the den inhospitable, we recommend the following combination of repellants done at night when raccoons are most active.
Place rags soaked in cider vinegar in an open container and place the container near the opening of the den.
Place a drop light or flashlight near the opening of the den.
Place a blaring radio tuned to an all-talk station near the den opening; not so loud that it keeps you or your neighbors awake.
How can I protect my garden from raccoons?
Plant squash around your beds to deter raccoons; they don’t like walking on the prickly squash vines.
Install motion sensor lights around your garden. Raccoons are nocturnal and bright lights often deter them from an area.
Grind up garlic, mix it with an equal portion of chili powder, and spread it around the garden, or sprinkle cayenne powder around the garden.
Have a dog. Even when dogs are inside during the night, the barking will often deter the raccoons.
Install a motion detector sprinkler system that is activated at night.
Raccoons keep getting into the garbage, what should do I do?
If there is no food and shelter to support them, most wild animals will go away and thrive off the natural environment. An abundance of food left out will only attract wild animals.
Do not feed raccoons.
Eliminate all food sources such as pet foods, birdseed, etc.
If your pets must be fed outside, remove all food at night.
Use heavy trash containers and fasten the lids securely with bungee cords or rope.
Harvest all ripe fruit from trees and shrubs and remove fallen fruit from the ground.
Keep pets inside and close off all pet doors so raccoons can’t enter through the door.
Keep BBQ grills clean or stored in a secure place.
Light the area with motion sensor lights.
Wrap metal around trees to prevent raccoons from climbing.
Discourage neighbors from leaving pet food dishes out at night or feeding the raccoons.