How to Catch a Raccoon: Trapping and Disposal Guide

Catching a raccoon requires careful planning and knowledge of their behavior. In this guide, we’ll outline effective strategies and steps to safely and humanely trap raccoons when necessary.

Whether you’re dealing with a raccoon nuisance on your property or need to relocate one, these tips will help you catch raccoons efficiently.

How to Trap a Raccoon Efficiently

Here are some of the best tips and methods for effectively trapping raccoons:

  1. Identify the Pest Animal: Start by identifying the specific animal causing the issue. Knowing your target will help you choose the right bait. Raccoons, for example, are nocturnal creatures that often venture onto your property in search of food, water, and shelter.

  2. Select the Appropriate Trap: Opt for a 1-door live trap designed for raccoons. These traps effectively secure raccoons when they enter to access the bait. Reputable companies such as Havahart and Kness Pest Defense offer professional-grade live traps.

  3. Bait the Trap Strategically: Fill the trap with enticing foods rich in fat or sugar, such as bacon, marshmallows, or cat food. Before setting the trap, consider acclimating the raccoon by leaving the trap open with bait inside for a few days.

  4. Ensure Trap Security: Raccoons can be resourceful and may attempt to topple the trap. Prevent this by placing a heavy object like a brick on top of the trap to keep it stable.

  5. Regularly Monitor the Trap: Trapping raccoons can vary in duration, ranging from minutes to days. To avoid unnecessary stress to the animal and ensure a timely removal, check the trap frequently.

  6. Ethical Removal: Once you’ve successfully captured the raccoon, relocate it to a safe area. However, check your local regulations, as it may be illegal to release raccoons in certain areas. Approach the trapped raccoon calmly, speaking softly, and consider draping a cloth over the trap to maintain a sense of calm.

  7. Exercise Caution: Remember that raccoons can carry diseases and may become aggressive if they feel threatened. Always handle them with care and take appropriate safety precautions.

By following these best tips and methods, you’ll be better equipped to deal with raccoon issues effectively and ethically. Alternatively, you can refer to our comprehensive guide on ‘How to get rid of Raccoons.’

Best Baits for Raccoon Trapping

Raccoons, being opportunistic eaters, can be enticed with a variety of foods. Some of the most effective baits for trapping raccoons include sweet foods like marshmallows, honey, and fruit, which cater to their sweet tooth.

Fatty meats such as bacon, canned cat food, and fish are also highly appealing options.

Birdseed, due to its strong aroma, is an economical and easily accessible bait that raccoons find hard to resist. Whole eggs, being a natural part of their diet, make for excellent raccoon bait.

Moreover, butterscotch hard candies, a favorite among trappers, have proven to be effective. When using bait in a trap, it’s crucial to position it at the back of the trap, away from the entrance, to ensure that the raccoon must fully enter the trap to access it.

Regularly monitoring the trap and handling raccoons with care is essential, as they can carry diseases and may exhibit aggression when feeling threatened.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Trapping Raccoons

To maximize your effectiveness in raccoon trapping, it’s crucial to steer clear of common mistakes:

  • Selecting the Right Trap: Ensure you use a humane 1-door live trap, which secures raccoons when they step inside for bait. Avoid inhumane lethal traps, which may also be illegal in your state.

  • Strategic Trap Placement: Position the trap in areas frequented by raccoons, like near garbage cans or wooded locations. Avoid locations near objects raccoons can climb, such as fences or trees.

  • Bait Selection: Choose bait wisely from options like sweet foods, fatty meats, birdseed, eggs, or butterscotch hard candies. Avoid overly strong-smelling bait that could deter raccoons from entering the trap.

  • Securing the Trap: Recognize raccoons’ strength; they may attempt to overturn the trap to escape. Safeguard the trap by placing a brick or weight on top.

  • Regular Monitoring: Be diligent in checking the trap regularly, as trapping times can vary from minutes to days. Leaving a raccoon trapped for an extended period can stress and harm it.

  • Proper Handling: Handle raccoons with care, as they can carry diseases and become aggressive if threatened. Use gloves when releasing them. Verify local regulations before relocating raccoons, as it may be illegal in your state.

By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can significantly increase your chances of successfully trapping raccoons while ensuring their humane treatment.

Releasing a Trapped Raccoon Safely

Here are the steps for safely releasing a trapped raccoon:

  1. Gear Up for Safety: Start by donning thick, heavy gloves to protect yourself from potential bites and scratches while handling the raccoon or its cage.

  2. Careful Transport: If the raccoon is confined within a portable trap, it’s best to leave it inside. Secure the trap door with twine or rope if it’s loose. For raccoons in cages, use a cloth to cover the cage, keeping the raccoon calm during transportation to the release site.

  3. Select an Appropriate Release Location: Ensure that the raccoon won’t return by releasing it a substantial distance, at least ten to fifteen miles, from where it was trapped. Opt for a wooded area, away from residential zones.

  4. Open the Trap Thoughtfully: Place the trap on the ground in an open area near suitable shelter and carefully open the door. Step back from the trap, allowing the raccoon to exit at its own pace.

  5. Stay Prepared to Move: As the raccoon settles and calms down, be ready to move away swiftly to avoid potential bites or scratches. You don’t want its agitation to cause you to drop the trap, potentially releasing the raccoon accidentally.

By following these steps, you can safely release a trapped raccoon back into its natural habitat. Always exercise caution and handle raccoons with care, considering their potential for carrying diseases and becoming aggressive when feeling threatened.