Raccoons may appear to be cute, cuddly creatures, but they can wreak havoc on your yard, trashcans, gardens, and move into your attic or basement. Eliminating the attraction of food, water, and shelter around your home can help you successfully control raccoons.
Remove all opportunities for raccoons to get food from your yard. Raccoons will risk coming into your yard to look for an easy and delicious meal. A middle-of-the-night foray by a family of raccoons can leave your yard a mess. Do not feed your pets outside. Remove all bird feeders. Use only trashcans with tight-fitting or locking lids.
Raccoons do not like the smell of ammonia, so spray a rag with ammonia and hang it from your trash can lid. Spraying the interior of your trash bags with ammonia before setting them in the trash can further deter raccoons. Soak rags with ammonia and hang them in locations the raccoons use to get into your yard.
Raccoons will come into your yard looking for water. They are also fastidious eaters and enjoy washing their food in water before eating. Remove all standing water, such as ponds, birdbaths, pet water bowls, and buckets.
Since raccoons become active at twilight and prefer to roam in the darkness, you can install motion-activated lighting to discourage them from hanging out in your yard. Bright floodlights work best for scaring them away.
Raccoons are cautious and fearful around noise, especially human voices. If it won't disturb your neighbors, play a talk radio show over an outdoor speaker system to keep them out of your yard.
Install electric fencing around your yard or garden to prevent raccoon entry. Keep in mind when installing the electric fence that it may be useless if the raccoons are able to climb over the fence by using a nearby bush or tree.
Secure Attic and Basement
Raccoons will climb trees, trellises, or rain downspouts to get to your rooftop. Once on top, they may try to enter your house through the chimney or attic venting. Remove anything close to your house that a raccoon can climb, such as a large tree or trellis. Cover your chimney opening with heavy-duty fireproof metal screening. Cover all attic openings and vents with metal screening. Make sure all openings to the crawl space under your house or basement are secure as well.
Traps and Bait
If you already have raccoons living in your attic or basement, the only way to get rid of them is to lure them out with food or set up traps in the attic or basement. Try setting a trail of their favorite food leading out of the attic or basement to see whether they will leave on their own. Never try to grab a raccoon as they are wild animals and very strong, with sharp teeth and claws, and may also carry diseases such as rabies and/or parasites. Foods that make good raccoon bait are cooked bacon, fish, vegetables, dog food, chicken, corncobs, or sardines.
Traps used for raccoons should be approved by your local county or city codes. In some cases animal control agencies may have traps available for loan and teach you how to properly use them.
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