How to Get Rid of Raccoons: Ultimate Guide

Say goodbye to pesky raccoon intruders with our expert guide. Discover tried-and-true methods for reclaiming your space and ensuring a raccoon-free environment.

From smart prevention strategies to safe removal techniques, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to bid farewell to raccoons once and for all.

  • To effectively eliminate raccoon nuisances, follow these proactive steps: pinpoint their hideouts, eliminate accessible food temptations, secure entry points, and employ humane live traps for any lingering raccoons.
  • Keep an eye out for telltale signs of a raccoon infestation, such as toppled trash cans, distinct tracks, scattered droppings, or unusual noises like mewing, whistling, or growling.
  • If raccoons persist or prove too challenging to handle alone, don’t hesitate to reach out to seasoned professionals, for expert assistance in resolving the issue. Your raccoon-free peace of mind is just a call away.

How to Get Rid of Raccoons

When addressing raccoon removal, our foremost principle is to prioritize humane and environmentally friendly methods over lethal alternatives.

If you’re grappling with a raccoon issue, consider the following steps for effectively eradicating these creatures from your property.

In the Attic

If a raccoon has taken up residence in your attic, it’s highly probable that it’s a female accompanied by her offspring. These determined females, on the lookout for suitable nesting sites, will not hesitate to damage facia boarding, vents, and more to secure a safe space for their young ones.

To effectively address a raccoon infestation in your attic, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the Presence of Babies: Before taking any measures to remove the raccoons, ascertain whether it’s indeed a mother raccoon with babies. If you confirm the presence of babies, it’s essential to exercise patience.

    Allow the raccoons to stay for a few weeks so that the young ones can grow adequately. Removing them prematurely would result in their demise without their mother’s care.

  2. Install One-Way Doors: Once you’ve determined that it’s safe to proceed, install one-way doors to facilitate the raccoons’ exit from your attic. These doors permit raccoons to leave but prevent re-entry. To encourage their departure, you can place a loud, battery-operated radio in the attic or position a bowl of cider vinegar near their nesting site.

    Alternatively, consider enlisting the services of a professional pest control expert, who can ensure the humane relocation of both the mother and her babies without causing harm to any of the raccoons.

  3. Implement Live Raccoon Traps: If you choose to employ live raccoon traps for removal, it’s essential to reach out to your local Fish and Wildlife Department first. They can provide you with appropriate traps and guidance for the safe and ethical relocation of these creatures.

  4. Seal Attic Openings: To prevent future raccoon incursions, thoroughly inspect your home to identify the access points they have been using. Utilize galvanized hardwire wire mesh to seal off these openings, including vents and seals, effectively fortifying your attic against future invasions.

  5. Remove Attractants: Eliminate any potential sources of food, water, or bedding material that raccoons may have been utilizing in your attic. This step helps to discourage their return.

In your Yard or Garden

When raccoons establish residence in your lawn or garden, their primary quest is typically for sustenance.

These crafty critters, in their quest for grubs, often resort to tearing up your grass, flowers, tree fruits and landscaping, exposing their favored delicacies. This relentless foraging can swiftly rack up thousands of dollars in damages to your precious flowers, shrubs, and grass.

To effectively oust raccoons from your yard, garden or trees, we suggest the following strategies:

  1. Professional Grub Treatment: Consider enlisting the services of a professional to administer a comprehensive grub treatment for your lawn and garden.

    By eliminating grubs and other food sources for raccoons, this action encourages them to seek nourishment elsewhere, thereby curbing their destructive tendencies and preserving your grass.

  2. Secure Trash Containers: Ensure all outdoor trash is stowed away in durable metal or plastic containers fitted with tight-fitting lids that securely clip into place. This prevents raccoons from accessing the garbage and making a mess.

  3. Garage or Shed Storage: Whenever feasible, store your trash cans in a garage or enclosed outdoor shed. This minimizes raccoons’ access to them and deters their scavenging efforts.

  4. Additional Lid Security: In case raccoons persist in tampering with your trash cans despite your best efforts, augment the lid security by using wire or clamps to fortify the lids, rendering them raccoon-proof.

  5. Stable Can Positioning: Anchor your garbage cans to a support or secure them to a rack to prevent raccoons from tipping them over.

  6. Pet and Bird Food: Bring in any outdoor pet or bird food each night to eliminate another potential food source that might attract raccoons.

  7. Resist Feeding Raccoons: While raccoons may appear endearing and employ persuasive tactics, it’s crucial never to feed them. Even succumbing to the charms of a single raccoon can lead to an influx of these creatures. Refraining from offering food to raccoons is the best way to discourage their presence in your vicinity.

In the Deck or Within Crawl Spaces

Once again, discovering a raccoon taking shelter beneath your house or deck often indicates the presence of a mother raccoon accompanied by her offspring.

Female raccoons typically give birth to their babies between January and June, making it crucial to approach their removal with care to avoid orphaning the young raccoons.

Here are some essential tips to handle this situation:

  1. Utilize Live Traps: Employ live traps to capture and relocate both the mother raccoon and her babies. To entice cautious raccoons into the traps, ensure that the bottom of the trap is firmly embedded in the soil, creating a layer of earth over the base.

  2. Conceal Traps: If you’re situating live traps along the raccoons’ daily travel routes, camouflage them with twigs, branches, and natural materials to make them less conspicuous.

  3. Pre-Bait Traps: Pre-bait the traps with enticing food lures such as peanut butter, vanilla wafers, marshmallows, and whole raw eggs. Place these treats inside and around the trap, as well as on the path leading to the trap. Initially, secure the trap door open with twist ties for the first 2-3 days.

    This encourages wary raccoons to feed without triggering the trap, reducing the likelihood of them avoiding it. Additionally, since raccoons are drawn to shiny objects, consider adding a balled-up piece of aluminum foil to pique their curiosity.

  4. Trap Security: Guard against raccoons pilfering the bait by placing logs, stones, or other weighty objects around the sides of the trap. Furthermore, secure the traps by staking them down to prevent raccoons from lifting and shaking them to dislodge the bait.

  5. Strategic Trap Placement: Position the trap as close as possible to the entrance of the raccoon den or nesting area to maximize the chances of capturing the entire family.

  6. Regular Monitoring: Check the traps once or twice daily to ensure timely removal of trapped raccoons.

  7. Safety Gear: Always wear protective gloves and clothing when setting up or handling raccoon traps, and be diligent about cleaning and disinfecting all traps between uses.

Once you have successfully removed the raccoons, take the following steps:

  1. Clean the Nest Space: Thoroughly clear out the nesting area beneath your house or deck, removing all bedding materials.

  2. Screen the Area: After cleaning, secure the space by screening it off with quarter-inch hardware cloth or heavy-duty wire mesh to prevent future access.

With these guidelines, you can compassionately and effectively manage raccoon infestations under your house or deck while safeguarding the welfare of both the mother raccoon and her young ones.

On the Roof

Raccoons are agile climbers, and although it can be disconcerting to discover them perched on your roof, it’s a common occurrence for many homeowners.

When raccoons take up residence on your rooftop, they can wreak havoc by damaging your shingles or roofing materials, infiltrating chimneys and vents (posing a serious fire hazard), and more.

Here are some effective strategies to address this issue:

  1. Landscape Trimming: Trim the trees, vines, and landscaping surrounding your home to reduce potential “bridges” that raccoons could use to access your roof.

  2. Eliminate Food Sources: Remove food sources from your property, including securing trash containers, managing compost piles, bringing in pet food, and minimizing birdseed availability. Starving raccoons are less likely to frequent your premises.

  3. Metal Sheeting: Install metal sheeting around the roof’s perimeter and at the bases of trees on your property. This simple measure effectively deters raccoons without harming other creatures, such as your outdoor cats.

  4. Live Traps: Strategically place live traps at the base of trees that raccoons are using as access points to your roof. This allows for humane removal and relocation.

  5. Electric Fencing: Add a strip of electric fencing atop any fences in proximity to your home or roof. This provides an electrified barrier that discourages raccoons from attempting to climb.

  6. Chimney and Vent Protection: Secure your home by fastening a commercial spark arrestor cap constructed of hardware cloth and sheet metal to the chimney’s top. Alternatively, affix a robust wire screen over the opening to prevent raccoons from nesting in these spaces.

By putting these measures into action, you can adeptly control raccoon intrusions on your roof, fortify your property against damage, and mitigate the potential risks linked to their presence and activities.

Inside your Walls

When dealing with a raccoon in your wall, the situation can quickly escalate into a stressful ordeal. Raccoons taking up residence within your wall can create disruptive noises throughout the night and cause damage to your insulation, wiring, and more.

Here are some essential steps to effectively address a raccoon in the wall:

  1. Seek Professional Help: It’s highly advisable to enlist the services of a professional pest management company. Eliminating raccoons from within your wall is a substantial undertaking and can be perilous for both you and the raccoons if you attempt a do-it-yourself approach.

  2. Post-Removal Measures: Once the professional pest management company has successfully removed the raccoons from your wall, you can take the following actions:

    a. Identify Access Points: Collaborate with the professionals to pinpoint the access points through which the raccoons entered. This crucial step helps you understand how they gained access and how to prevent future intrusions.

    b. Seal Entry Points: Seal off these access points effectively to block any potential re-entry by raccoons. This proactive measure helps safeguard your home from future infestations.

At the Bird Feeder

Tackling the challenge of deterring raccoons from your bird feeders might seem like an uphill battle. Their size, remarkable climbing abilities, and dexterous hands make them adept at accessing most birdfeeders.

However, the good news is that you can put a stop to raccoon interference with your feeders. Here’s our recommended approach:

  1. Elevate Your Feeders: Hang your bird feeders as high as possible. The Humane Society advises suspending bird feeders from stands that are ½” or less in diameter since raccoons cannot climb such slender poles.

  2. Use Suspended Wire Systems: Hang feeders from wires suspended between two trees. Ensure that the feeders are positioned at a sufficient distance from each tree so that raccoons cannot make a leap onto the feeder.

  3. Install Raccoon Guards: Consider adding store-bought raccoon guards to pole-mounted feeders. These guards act as a barrier, preventing raccoons from reaching the feeder.

  4. Invest in Raccoon-Resistant Feeders: Explore the option of purchasing bird feeders specifically designed to resist raccoon intrusions. These feeders typically feature innovative designs that make it challenging for raccoons to access the birdseed.

In the Chimney

The presence of a raccoon in your chimney poses a significant fire hazard, as their bedding and nesting materials are often highly flammable. So, how can you effectively keep raccoons at bay and ensure your chimney remains safe? Follow these steps:

  1. Enlist Professional Help: To safely and humanely remove raccoons from your chimney, it’s crucial to hire a professional pest management company. They have the expertise to eliminate raccoons without causing harm to the animals or damaging your chimney.

  2. Thorough Cleanup: Once the raccoons have been successfully removed, it’s essential to meticulously clean the space they occupied. Remove all nesting materials and any other objects left behind by the raccoons to prevent future infestations.

  3. Secure the Chimney: Prevent future raccoon intrusions by sealing your chimney effectively. Install a spark arrestor or a chimney cap featuring robust wire mesh. This protective cover not only conceals the chimney opening but also makes it inaccessible to raccoons.

In a Chicken Coop

Raccoons are relentless chicken predators, and they will go to great lengths to infiltrate a vulnerable chicken coop. To safeguard your coop from these cunning creatures, follow these expert tips:

  1. Fortify Windows with Hardware Cloth: Secure the coop’s windows with hardware cloth, renowned for its sturdiness in resisting raccoon attacks. This durable barrier will keep raccoons at bay.

  2. Dig-Proof Perimeter: Prevent raccoons from burrowing into the coop by burying hardware cloth 2-4 feet deep around its perimeter. For added security, extend the cloth to cover potential entry points, such as the chimney, especially if the coop can be reached by climbing.

  3. Intricate Locking Mechanisms: Install complex latches and locks on the chicken coop doors. Raccoons are notorious for their dexterity, but these specialized locks will keep them puzzled and unable to gain entry.

  4. Electric Fencing: Consider installing electric fences around the coop’s perimeter to deter raccoons effectively. A recommended configuration is a two-wire fence – one positioned 6 inches above the ground and the other 12 inches above. This humane approach effectively safeguards your chickens while deterring raccoons.

In Trees

While a solitary raccoon perched in a tree may not pose a significant concern, the presence of a raccoon nest can escalate the issue substantially. To effectively address raccoons in a tree, consider these proactive measures:

  1. Utilize Live Traps: Position live traps at the base of the tree to safely capture and subsequently remove the raccoons from the area. This humane approach ensures the raccoons are relocated without harm.

  2. Implement Tree Defenses: Safeguard your trees by installing sheet metal or raccoon guards around their trunks. This deterrent makes it difficult for raccoons to climb the tree, preventing them from nesting or causing damage.

  3. Maintain a Clean Surrounding: Regularly clean up fallen fruit or nuts from the tree’s vicinity. Removing potential food sources for raccoons discourages their presence and reduces the attraction to the area.

Other Raccoon Control Methods

In addition to the previously mentioned raccoon control methods, there are several other effective approaches to deter and manage raccoon activity on your property:

  • Repellents: Utilize raccoon repellents to discourage them from frequenting your property. These repellents can come in the form of sprays, granules, or electronic devices. They often contain natural or chemical ingredients that emit odors or tastes that raccoons find unpleasant. Ensure you follow the product’s instructions carefully to maximize effectiveness.
  • Ultrasonic Devices: Consider using ultrasonic devices designed to emit high-frequency sound waves that are irritating to raccoons but inaudible to humans. These devices can be strategically placed in areas where raccoons are a concern, such as near garbage cans, gardens, or entrances to buildings.
  • Hazing Tactics: Implement hazing tactics to instill fear or discomfort in raccoons, discouraging them from returning to your property. Hazing techniques can include using bright lights, loud noises, motion-activated sprinklers, or even non-lethal projectiles like rubber bullets (only when legally permitted and as a last resort). Be sure to prioritize safety and legality when using hazing methods.
  • Secure Trash Containers: One of the most common reasons raccoons visit residential areas is the availability of food in garbage cans. Invest in raccoon-proof trash containers with locking lids to prevent raccoons from accessing food waste. Regularly clean and disinfect trash cans to eliminate food odors that may attract raccoons.
  • Trim Trees and Shrubs: Raccoons are skilled climbers, so trim tree branches and shrubs away from structures like roofs and windows. This will limit their access points and make it more challenging for them to enter attics or other potential nesting sites.
  • Professional Assistance: If raccoon issues persist despite your efforts, consider seeking professional assistance from a licensed wildlife removal expert. They can assess the situation, safely remove raccoons, and provide long-term prevention strategies tailored to your property.

How Do Wildlife Experts Get Rid of Raccoons

At times, the task of eliminating raccoons from your property is a job best left to wildlife control professionals. Here’s how these experts can assist:

1. Initial Assessment: Wildlife control professionals commence by conducting a thorough assessment of your situation. Their seasoned pest control technicians will inspect your property to identify how raccoons are gaining access and assess the damage they’ve caused. They’ll pinpoint entry points and develop a comprehensive plan to resolve them effectively.

2. Trapping: While their primary goal is to eliminate your raccoon problem, most wildlife experts prioritize humane methods. To remove raccoons without causing harm or fatality, they employ safe and live traps designed for capturing raccoons unharmed. These traps are monitored and checked daily, and once raccoons are captured, they are relocated to a more suitable habitat.

3. Exclusion Methods: To prevent future raccoon infestations, wildlife control professionals install exclusionary barriers. These barriers are constructed using commercial-grade methods that stand the test of time and do not negatively impact your property. They act as formidable deterrents, keeping raccoons from returning.

Frequently Asked Questions about Raccoon Control

Where Do Raccoons Come From

Raccoons are native to North America but have been introduced to other parts of the world, like Europe and Japan, where they are invasive. They adapt well to various environments, from forests to urban areas, and create dens in trees or buildings. Their opportunistic and omnivorous nature helps them thrive in diverse habitats.

Do Raccoons Bite

Yes, raccoons can bite if threatened or provoked. Given the potential for diseases like rabies, it’s crucial to avoid approaching or handling them. If you encounter raccoons on your property, seek assistance from wildlife professionals for safe removal.

Are Raccoons Dangerous

Raccoons can be hazardous due to disease transmission and property damage. They carry diseases like rabies and their feces may contain harmful parasites.

While they usually avoid humans, they can turn aggressive when cornered or protecting their young. Their knack for raiding garbage cans, gardens, and attics can result in property damage and nuisance problems.

Exercise caution, avoid direct contact, and implement deterrents to minimize risks.

How Long Do Raccoons Live

Raccoons in the wild generally live for 2 to 3 years, but those in captivity or ideal conditions can reach 5 to 7 years or more. Lifespan varies due to environmental factors and human-made hazards.

Will Raccoons Leave On Their Own

Raccoons tend to stay put once they’ve settled in an area with a stable food and shelter source. This can lead to nuisances, property damage, and health risks.

To make them leave, you’ll need to take steps like removing attractants, sealing entry points, and considering humane trapping. Wildlife professionals are often needed for a safe solution.

Do Raccoons Do Damage to Your House

Yes, raccoons can inflict damage to your home. They are notorious for causing substantial harm to residential properties, with a particular focus on areas like attics, roofs, and crawlspaces.

What Sounds Do Raccoons Make

Raccoons make various sounds, including chittering, growling, screaming, purring, rustling, and footsteps. These sounds serve different purposes, such as communication and warning. If you suspect raccoons on your property, consult professionals for safe management.

Do Raccoons Chew through Walls

Raccoons usually don’t chew through walls but enter homes through existing openings like damaged vents or gaps. They’re skilled climbers and use walls, trees, or downspouts to access attics or crawlspaces.

While wall-chewing isn’t common, they may gnaw weak spots. Inspect for openings, address vulnerabilities, and consult professionals if you suspect a raccoon problem for safe resolution.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Racoons

Whether homeowners insurance covers raccoons depends on the type of damage. It may cover home structure damage but usually not personal property.

While Progressive states raccoon damage is typically not covered, Allstate notes it might cover structure damage like in a garage or attic. Verify coverage with your specific policy.

Is It Hard to Get Rid of Raccoons

Raccoon removal is tough due to their intelligence, adaptability, and climbing skills, enabling access to attics, chimneys, and roofs. They’re persistent due to nesting attachment. Effective control includes exclusion, trapping, and wildlife professionals.

How to Know if You Have a Raccoon Problem

To spot a raccoon problem, check for torn garbage bags, paw prints, odd nighttime noises, exterior damage, and raccoon droppings. Act swiftly and consult wildlife professionals for solutions.

What Are the Best Traps for Raccoons

Choosing the right raccoon trap depends on your goals—capture for relocation or removal. Common options are Live Cage Traps (humane) and Conibear Traps (quick but not recommended for amateurs).

Be aware of local regulations, and consider professional assistance for safe, legal, and effective raccoon management.

Can You Kill Raccoons

Killing raccoons may be legal in some areas, but it varies by location. It’s usually permitted for specific reasons like protecting crops or when non-lethal methods fail.

Ethical and legal raccoon control is important. Consulting local wildlife authorities or professionals is often advised for humane and lawful solutions, as killing raccoons should be a last resort, done in accordance with local laws to ensure ethical treatment of wildlife.

How Much Is Pest Control for Raccoons

Raccoon removal costs vary based on factors like location, number of pests, and methods used. On average, it ranges from $300 to $600, with homeowners typically paying around $500 for trapping and relocating 2 to 3 raccoons. Raccoon cages for trapping cost $50 to $150 each.

Additional costs may include inspection, dead raccoon removal ($275-$300 per animal), nest removal ($500 per nest), barrier installation ($10-$20 per foot), damage repair ($100-$1,000 per repair), and cleanup ($500 per cleanup).

The total usually covers inspection and treatments, with follow-up visits costing $100 to $200 if needed due to raccoon return signs.