How to Safely Remove Raccoons From Your Home

Raccoons can cause problems if they get inside a home or other structure, bringing bacteria and disease. They can damage lawns by eating grubs and roots.

Homeowners can take steps to deter raccoons, including eliminating accessible food sources (such as pet foods and overturned trash cans), closing entry points, and eliminating areas where they might build a den or use it as a latrine.

Remove Attractants

Raccoons are opportunistic and will be drawn to your property for food and shelter. They damage crops and garden vegetables, rip off facia boarding, ductwork, and vents to find a suitable nesting area and spread diseases that can harm people and household pets.

A raccoon’s primary motive for entering your home is protection from outdoor elements and searching for food, especially during inclement weather. During this time, female raccoons with young will seek shelter under decks and in crawl spaces or attics.

Remove easy-to-access foods like pet food and compost:

  • Remove and trash to prevent raccoons from coming near your property. 
  • Ensure wood piles don’t provide hiding places for raccoons and block access to crawl spaces and attics. 
  • Use motion-activated lights and acoustic deterrents to discourage raccoons from seeking out areas around your house. 

These precautions won’t guarantee that raccoons will stay away, but they will give you the upper hand over these intelligent animals.

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Place Barriers

Raccoons are not only a nuisance; they can cause structural damage and create expensive cleanup jobs. They carry disease and feces, including canine distemper, rabies, and Baylisascaris process (roundworm).

They can enter a home through tiny gaps – even 4 inches wide – that haven’t been properly sealed or closed. This can include open pet doors, untied garbage bins, and bird feeders left outside overnight.

Preventative measures to deter raccoons include covering attic vents, and crawl space entrances with heavy hardware cloth and blocking access to hiding spots under decks or porches with concrete or wood. It would help if you also used animal-proof trash cans with locking lids. Raccoons often tamper with these bins, looking for food. A popular online term for these creatures is “trash pandas.” If you keep compost piles or bins, ensure they are securely closed. They can be attracted to compost materials by their natural odors. Also, keep outdoor bird feeders away from your house, as raccoons are attracted to them by their seeds.

Relocate the Animals

Raccoons are intelligent, curious animals that are surprisingly agile for their size. They look for accessible food, shelter, and water sources wherever they can find them. Trash cans, where they are known as “trash pandas,” are a top draw; if you can’t stop them from rummaging in your trash, consider investing in animal-proof bins.

They also like eating the grubs underneath your lawn, so consider having a pest controller eliminate them. Bird feeders should be hung high and kept away from the ground, and all pet food must be brought inside at night.

You can also create deterrents by sprinkling things raccoons hate on the area around your home and yard. However, it is best to leave trapping and relocating raccoons to the professionals; wild animals can carry rabies and react unpredictably if they feel cornered or trapped in your house. In addition, many states require a permit to relocate captured raccoons, and relocated animals often die outside their new territory from starvation or predation.

Protect Your Family

Raccoons can cause costly and dangerous damage to your home and property. They rip off shingles and fascia boards, tear up insulation, and leave behind feces that can carry disease-causing organisms.

Keeping them away is the best way to protect your family and pets from harm. Avoid feeding them, dumping pet waste, or using compost piles in areas where they are found. Use netting and fencing to seal any openings to your crawl space, shed, or deck, and monitor them regularly. Purchase raccoon-proof trash cans and place them where the animals cannot access them. Remove water fountains or use a screen to prevent them from visiting and filling up with water.

It is vital never to touch a raccoon as it can carry diseases like rabies and distemper. If bitten or scratched by one, you should seek immediate medical attention. Raccoons can also spread fleas and ticks that may infect humans or pets.