How to Get Rid of Raccoons in Your Home Safely & Humanely

At first glance, raccoons may seem like harmless animals that just like to visit your home from time to time.

But, don’t let their cuteness fool you. They usually overstay their welcome when they get too comfortable. Before long, they’ll end up as pests especially if you aren’t careful. Worse, they may even carry diseases that can harm your pets.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can drive raccoons away from your home as safely and as humanely as possible.

Why are Raccoons in Your Home?

In order to fully understand how to get rid of raccoons, we must first learn what brings them to your property in the first place.

1. Diet

Raccoons are certainly not picky when it comes to food. In fact, they’re omnivores, which means that they eat plants and other animals. Thus, human dwellings definitely give them a plethora of things to munch upon.

Whether you live in an urban or rural area, raccoons will be able to find something that fills their stomachs. In urban properties, trash cans are especially appealing to them, especially if it’s filled with food scraps.

In rural or agricultural settings, they’re more likely to forage for plants or fruits. They also go for mice, squirrels, beetles, frogs, and poultry eggs when they feel like getting that protein fix.

If raccoons can readily have their meals within your property, it’s definitely one of the reasons why they’ll keep on coming back.

2. Habitat

Raccoons aren’t picky with their habitats, either. In natural settings, they love taking shelter in brushy areas, rock crevices, or hollow trees.

In urban areas, you can find them in chimneys. They usually tear through a home’s shingles to stay in the attic. In any case, they’re more likely to set up shop in places near a water source.

Signs That a Raccoon is Visiting Your Property

If you suspect that raccoons are messing with stuff in your property, here are some clues to look for:

  • Ransacked garbage bins: If you notice that your garbage bins are opened and the trash is tossed out very often, there’s a huge chance that a raccoon may have done it. Their front paws are very much capable of opening a wide variety of objects.
  • Empty pet bowls and bird feeders: Raccoons love an unsupervised food source. If you regularly leave pet food or bird food outside, raccoons will inevitably be drawn to them.
  • Entry hole and claw marks: As mentioned in the previous section, raccoons are likely to make a home in your attic if they find it accessible enough. If you think a raccoon is currently residing in your home, you’ll find holes and claw marks where they shouldn’t be.
  • Partially eaten crops: Raccoons are more likely to eat certain kinds of crops. “Unfinished meals” can be a sign that a raccoon is in the area.

6 Tips for Making Your Home Raccoon-Proof

Because raccoons are well-adapted to both urban and rural life, they can be a pretty difficult pest to deal with. They’re also very persistent, which means that they don’t easily back off from any deterrents.

Fortunately, there are tried-and-tested ways to outwit them.

Listed below are 6 tips to keep the raccoons out of your home, all while ensuring that they remain safe:

1.  Keep Your Yard Clean

Raccoons love areas where it’s easy to hide their tracks. Hence, make sure that you regularly mow your lawn and prune any overgrown shrubs.

Seal Your Trash

As mentioned earlier, raccoons love scavenging for food in trash bins. One solution to this is to secure lids using cinder blocks or bungee cords.

Additionally, you can try to reduce food odors by using heavy-duty trash bags. If you have meat scraps, it can be helpful to use two plastic bags for them.

If you wish to repel other pests as well, it’s highly recommended to use rodent-repelling trash bags instead. Such products typically use eucalyptus oil, camphor oil, corn mint oil, and methyl salicylate to keep raccoons and other rodents away.

This kind of trash bag is best used for leftovers because it effectively masks food odors. Thankfully, the minty smell is terribly unappealing to raccoons, but at least it makes the trash less smelly to the human nose.

2.  Eliminate All Food Sources

You may have addressed the food sources in the garbage bin, but that’s not the only place where raccoons may find food. If you have fruits, vegetables, and pet food in your area, you should take care of those as well.

Make sure that you clean up all fallen fruits from your trees. You should also harvest your ripe produce in your vegetable garden as soon as possible. As for pet bowls and bird feeders, it’s recommended to bring them in when night comes.

Raccoons typically do their scavenging at night because they are mainly nocturnal. However, it’s also not uncommon to see them out and about during the day.

Thus, it’s better to just eliminate food sources at all times because you can’t exactly tell when they’ll strike.

3.  Use Scare Tactics

Scaring off raccoons can be accomplished in a number of ways. Motion-activated sprinklers and strobe lights generally do the trick.

You can easily adjust these devices’ settings to go off only when raccoons are the most active.

You may also want to invest in noisemakers to switch up your scare strategies. These devices emit pre-recorded predator noises and animal distress calls, making your property a no-go for raccoons.

Because raccoons can adapt pretty well, it’s recommended to use multiple scare tactics so they don’t get used to one method. It’s better to have a slight element of surprise so they can quickly learn that your place isn’t raccoon-friendly.

4.  Seal Off Your Property

Instead of dealing with raccoons after the fact, it’s definitely better to prevent them from getting their paws on your property in the first place.

Since raccoons have a keen sense of smell, make sure that you seal up holes in all parts of your house. This includes the foundation, the sidings, and the roof.

Raccoons are also very persistent creatures. With enough effort, they can keep on scratching small holes until it’s big enough for them to breach your home.

As for keeping your perimeter safe, it’s usually wise to invest in an electric fence. This can be especially helpful if raccoons aren’t the only pests you have to deal with.

If your home has a chimney, you’ll need a barrier screen, a chimney cap, or a spark arrester to ensure that the hole is inaccessible to raccoons.

Before you do this, however, it’s best to make sure that no raccoon family has already resided in your chimney. In the event that there’s indeed raccoons in your chimney, it’s best to seek the help of pest control professionals as they can get aggressive.

5.  Create a DIY Raccoon Repellent

DIY raccoon repellents aren’t meant to be used as standalone solutions for driving raccoons away. However, they can be very effective when you use it together with the other methods that we already discussed.

Listed below are some natural DIY repellents that you can use:

  • Ammonia: The scent of ammonia-soaked cotton balls is strong enough to drive raccoons away, especially if you find out that they’ve resided in your attic.

    If you decide to use this method, be sure that you won’t be able to breathe it in if you place some in the attic. Keep your pets away from it as well.
  • Hot peppers: Some humans may love the smell and taste of hot peppers, but raccoons certainly don’t. Make a hot pepper solution by soaking them in water and spraying them in raccoon-prone areas in your property.
  • Spices: Raccoons find some spices repulsive, just like with hot peppers. Good spice solutions include cinnamon, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
  • Pet fur and urine: Just like most animals in the wild, raccoons need to steer clear of certain predators. Raccoons typically fight with dogs and cats, so having pets at home can be a deterrent for them.

However, it’s best if you prevent any contact in the first place, as your pets may get hurt in the fight. But if raccoons can detect your pet’s fur and urine in your yard, they may think twice about lingering in your property.

6.  Contact Pest Control

Last but not the least, you can always call the professionals if all else fails. Although hiring pest control experts can be more expensive than the other methods listed here, at least you’re sure that you’ll be driving all of them away safely.

Keep the Raccoons Away in the Safest Way Possible

Raccoons can be one of the most annoying pests in your property, but you don’t have to let them be that way. Try out the strategies listed here consistently. Overtime, you’ll see that raccoons will go away on their own if you’ve polished your methods.

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