An educational guide to help you get rid of unwanted raccoons.
Raccoons are unfortunately a common problem in the attic if you leave an accidental entry point open for them. They can also be found in the backyard or other areas as well. The good news is that with a bit of effort, you can get rid of the raccoons, particularly if you get help from a wildlife removal professional. Here are just a few tips to guide you.
1. Babies are almost always with adult raccoons in the attic so be careful.
2. You must remove baby raccoons by hand.
3. It is typically illegal to trap raccoons so check your laws or opt for exclusion.
4. Discourage raccoons by sealing your garbage and getting rid of other food sources.
5. There is no effective raccoon repellent.
6. Raccoon eviction fluid only works on nursing or pregnant females.
7. After getting rid of the raccoons, seal up whatever entrances they used so no more wildlife can get into your space.
Adults Raccoons With Babies
Just dealing with a single raccoon living in your attic would be relatively simple as there is only one animal to worry about, but that will rarely be the case. In the vast majority of cases, raccoons have entered your attic or another cozy spot on your property to raise their young, which means there are almost always babies present. Because they are too young to trap or exclude, you will have to remove the baby raccoons by hand. For safety reasons, always wear thick leather gloves when handling baby raccoons and then place them in a pillow case. Remember that the mother is likely to attack if she is nearby.
If the mother raccoon wasn’t around when you removed the babies, you can actually use them as bait in a trap. Otherwise, you can catch the mother raccoon with a trap placed on the entry or exit hole of the space.
Lone Adult Raccoons
In rare cases, an adult raccoon will be by itself in your attic and that makes getting rid of it significantly easier. In this case, you can either trap the raccoon or use an exclusion device to get it out of a confined space, like your attic. Always pay attention to local regulations before trapping a raccoon as this is frequently illegal or may require a special permit. You would also have to figure out where to release the adult raccoon, which can be a challenge and involve other legal limitations. There is also the issue that unless you relocate the raccoon over ten miles away, it will simply find its way back.
Exclusion is typically simpler when getting a single raccoon out of a space like an attic, but you have to be certain there are no babies present first. To use exclusion, begin by inspecting the attic or other area and seal up every potential entrance except for one. Place an exclusion device or one-way door over this remaining entry and wait a few days. The raccoon should leave and not be able to get back inside.
Always Make Repairs Afterwards
No matter whether you are dealing with a single adult raccoon or a mother with her babies, you should always be certain to make any necessary repairs after evicting them. This should begin with sealing up the remaining entrances as skipping this step will lead to more wildlife simply entering your home. You will also have to inspect the space the raccoon was in for potential damage such as clawed insulation or wood. Be sure to thoroughly clean the area, removing feces and urine.
Get Rid Of Raccoon Attractants
The raccoon came to your property for a reason, most likely because it saw an opportunity for food and/or shelter. Since you should have already sealed up any entrances into your home after evicting the raccoon, it is time to take care of other attractants. Raccoons have a varied diet so any food or garbage left outside may attract them. You can discourage raccoons by keeping your garbage cans tightly sealed with a bungee cord or inside your garage and never leaving pet food outside.
Remember No Repellents Work
It only takes a quick online search to see dozens of suggestions for raccoon repellents that claim to work, but the reality is that none will do the trick. Whether you try ammonia, mothballs, coyote urine, or an expensive ultrasonic sound machine, you simply won’t see results. The only repellent that does work sometimes is raccoon eviction fluid, but you will only notice results with nursing or pregnant females. Raccoon eviction fluid is the scent of male raccoons and since males kill young, the female becomes intimidated and leaves. Unfortunately, while it does work sometimes, it won’t always function and has to be applied perfectly. Because of this, it is better to just physically remove the raccoons from the area via trapping or exclusion.
What Can You Do To Prevent Raccoons From Becoming Your Houseguests? The old adage "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" holds true in most, if not all, cases. Preventing raccoons from nesting in your home will save you headaches and may even preserve your health.
You may think you are not so much at risk for unwanted houseguests in the urban areas or perhaps even in the suburbs but you would be wrong. You are as likely to see raccoons in town as you are in the countryside. Unless you take precautions, your home is fair game to these very adaptable animals.
The first step to keep your house raccoon-proof is to work your way from the outside in. Begin with ridding your yard of all attractions for raccoons. Take down your bird feeders. Clean around your bushes; rake up old leaves and dispose of them; clear out loose brush or dead tree limbs. In short, take away every opportunity for a raccoon to use what is in your yard as a base for nesting.
Closer To The residence: Make absolutely certain that your garbage can lids are closed tightly. Even tie the lids down so that very adventurous raccoons won't be successful in removing them. Smelly fish or meat wrappers should be wrapped in extra plastic before placing them into the trash can. Ammonia sprinkled over the top of the garbage, or a paper towel soaked in ammonia and placed under the lid will be an additional deterrent.
No food should be left outside at all. Children often take snacks outside, spill them, or forget where they put them. Raccoons love that. Be assured that any pretzels will be found and consumed. Not only human food will be found, so will your dog's or cat's dinner. Pet food left outside will also invite the little critters to investigate their surroundings a bit closer to see what else there is to eat, drink or crawl into.
Food will attract raccoons, but so will open containers of water. You may get an A for preventing mosquito-borne illnesses by having a small decorative pond aerated, but this will not prevent wild life from drinking the water. Raccoons love water, especially since they often wash their food before eating it. They will often poop in a swimming pool or kill decorative goldfish. To prevent this, install chicken wire in the pond for the fish to hide in, and boards with nails (spikes) sticking up on the pool steps. Or you can trap and remove the animals.
Sealing the house - the most important thing:
Now inspect the house itself. Look under the eaves, at dormers, check outside vents to see if there are any openings, even very small ones where animals could slip in to find shelter. If raccoons can find a way to make a safe nest for themselves in your attic, or between your walls, or anywhere there is space for them to be safe from the elements and bring up their young, they will use it.
Check if there are open spaces around the foundation and the siding of your home. If there is an opening, close it. If your home is all brick, check for holes or bricks that are broken. Crawl spaces are another favorite spot where raccoons feel safe and ready to set up house.
Techniques And Exclusions: Catching raccoons in cages is about the only way you can be sure to dispose of them in a safe and humane way. It is probably best to get a professional to help you in this. To catch raccoons you need not only have the proper equipment, you also need the expertise to know just how to do it. You also need to know where to relocate them so that they will not end up at your house again a day later. Trying to remove raccoons yourself may be especially dangerous if they carry diseases. Many raccoons have Leptospirosis that can be transferred to people as well as pets. Other diseases may cause big health issues to humans.
Exclude raccoons from entering your chimneys and from your crawl spaces. Wire netting can span the entire crawl space to prevent their entry under your house and keep them from climbing down your chimney.
Repellents: In general, they are useless as these animals aver far too determined. Mothballs, the most commonly used repellent, do not bother raccoons much. If the raccoons do find them offensive, they just move a little further away but they will not leave the premises.
We are the Pest Education Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on wildlife and pest removal education. Our approach utilizes Integrated Pest Management, a strategy advocating prevention and humane methods.