Raccoons in Trees: Effective Methods for Safely Removal

Raccoons in trees can be both charming and problematic.

While they display remarkable climbing abilities, their presence in trees can lead to various challenges and potential conflicts.

In this guide, we explore the behaviors of raccoons in trees and how to effectively manage them.

How to Remove Raccoons from Trees

There are several ways to remove raccoons from trees, depending on the situation. Here are some tips:

  1. Observe from a Distance: If you spot a raccoon in a tree, the best initial approach is to leave it be. Raccoons are skilled climbers and will often descend on their own.

  2. Use Water as a Deterrent: Employ a garden hose with a sprayer attachment to gently spray the raccoon, encouraging it to leave the tree.

  3. Live Trapping: Consider live trapping as a humane and effective method. Acquire a cage trap, bait it appropriately, and place it in an area frequented by raccoons. After capture, release the raccoon safely away from your property.

  4. Branch Management: For recurring raccoon issues, prune low-hanging branches that provide easy access to trees on your property.

  5. Deterrent Installation: Protect your trees by installing sheet metal or raccoon guards around their trunks. Additionally, consider adding electric fencing strips to fences close to your home or roof.

Remember, if dealing with a mother raccoon and her offspring, consult a professional wildlife control expert to ensure the safety of the raccoons.

Moreover, reducing accessible food sources, such as securing trash, compost, pet food, and birdseed, can help prevent future raccoon problems.

Potential Risks of Having Raccoons in Trees

Having raccoons in trees can pose several risks, including:

  • Tree Damage: Raccoons can harm trees through burrowing, food residue, and over-foraging, weakening them and making them susceptible to disease and pests.

  • Health Risks: Raccoons carry diseases like rabies, distemper, and parasites. Their urine, droppings, hair, mites, and ticks around trees can pose health risks to humans and pets.

  • Property Damage: In their quest for shelter, raccoons can damage crawlspaces, attics, roofs, gutters, and other parts of homes while climbing trees.

  • Infection Risk: Raccoons host Baylisascaris procyonis, a potentially harmful roundworm. Its eggs are excreted in raccoon feces, often found in communal sites called latrines. Infection can occur if people ingest the eggs from soil, objects, or contaminated hands.

To mitigate these risks, it is crucial to prevent raccoons from residing or nesting in trees on your property. If you encounter a raccoon issue, it is advisable to seek professional wildlife removal services for their safe and humane removal. For another option, you may want to consult our in-depth handbook titled ‘How to get rid of Raccoons.’

Cleaning up Raccoon Droppings from Trees

When addressing the task of cleaning raccoon droppings from trees, exercising caution is paramount to mitigate the potential risks associated with diseases and parasites often found in such feces. To ensure safety, follow these steps:

First and foremost, don appropriate protective gear, including gloves and a face mask, to shield yourself from potential contaminants within the droppings. Next, employ a plastic bag or shovel to carefully collect the droppings. When dealing with droppings on tree branches, utilize a long-handled tool for safe removal.

Afterward, take measures to disinfect the area where the droppings were located. Utilize either boiling water or a 10% bleach solution to effectively eliminate any bacteria or parasites that might be present.

Proper disposal is crucial. Securely tie the plastic bag containing the droppings and place it in the trash. Avoid composting the droppings, as this could propagate diseases and parasites.

If you come across a raccoon latrine, which is a communal site where raccoons deposit their feces, exercise heightened precautions when cleaning it up. Adhere to the guidelines provided by organizations like the CDC and other health authorities to ensure a thorough, safe, and effective cleanup process.

Effective Methods to Deter Raccoons from Scaling Trees

Here are some ways to prevent raccoons from climbing trees:

  1. Install Raccoon-Resistant Sleeves: Protect your fruit trees by installing aluminum sleeves around the trunk. These sleeves create a barrier that raccoons cannot climb past, safeguarding your fruit from their reach.

  2. Branch Pruning: Eliminate potential footholds by pruning branches. Ensure there are no branches accessible from beneath the lowest one to prevent raccoons from ascending your trees.

  3. Galvanized Hardware Mesh: To fortify your defenses, bury a galvanized hardware mesh at least 6 inches beneath the ground around your trees. Raccoons, known for their digging prowess, will be thwarted by this barrier.

  4. Ground-Level Bird Feeders: If you have bird feeders in your garden’s trees, relocate them to ground level. This will deter raccoons from climbing the trees in pursuit of food.

  5. Conical Tree Guards: Safeguard fruit trees and wildlife by installing conical tree guards. These guards encircle the tree trunk at a height of approximately 3 feet above the ground, flaring out about 18 inches from the trunk. When raccoons encounter this cone-shaped obstacle, they are unable to navigate around it, preventing them from scaling the tree.

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively thwart raccoons from climbing your trees and causing damage to your property.

Natural Alternatives for Effective Deterrence

Before resorting to expensive measures, consider these natural methods to deter raccoons from trees:

  • Vinegar Vigilance: Raccoons have an aversion to the smell of vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar. You can create a repellent spray by filling a bottle with vinegar, diluting it with a bit of water, and applying it to the tree.

  • Ammonia Alert: Raccoons strongly dislike ammonia, a component found in urine. Soak rags in ammonia and strategically place them around your property, or leave bowls of uncovered ammonia as an effective deterrent.

  • Pepper Power: Spices like cinnamon, black pepper, or cayenne pepper can disrupt a raccoon’s keen sense of smell, compelling them to seek more hospitable surroundings. Create a natural raccoon repellent by boiling cayenne pepper and onion in water, and consider adding hot sauce for potency. To maintain effectiveness, apply the mixture along your yard and tree bases at least twice a week, especially after rain.

  • Predator Presence: Utilize the urine of wolves, coyotes, or bobcats, which can be purchased from outdoor stores or online. This tricks raccoons into believing a predator is in the vicinity, prompting a hasty retreat.

  • Peppermint Protection: Planting peppermint around your yard and entry points to your home serves as a natural raccoon deterrent. Alternatively, place a bowl of peppermint essential oil near the tree to emit a potent scent that discourages their presence.

By employing these natural methods, you can effectively deter raccoons from trees without causing harm to these creatures.