How To Get Rid of Raccoons for Good - City Pests

How To Get Rid of Raccoons for Good

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When you think of pests, raccoons may not be an animal you would commonly associate with insects or even rats. But research consistently shows that raccoons are disruptive to homes and carry a range of dangerous diseases. Although raccoons may look like lovable pets, these destructive and hostile animals are certainly pests, and it is important to address the problem once they take up residence on your property.

So, how can you get rid of raccoons for good? Getting rid of raccoons through extermination is not a viable solution due to laws and regulations that vary across regions. Preventing raccoons from nesting and removing their food sources are the most effective ways to get rid of raccoons for good.

Due to erratic environmental regulations, raccoon removal and prevention are the best options to consider for this pest. Raccoons are intelligent animals, therefore, it is important to know how these animals think and what attracts them to your home in the first place. This article will explore the relationship between raccoons and human dwellings, and then address ways in which you can get rid of the pests for good.

Why Are Raccoons Attracted to My Home?

Raccoons are largely nocturnal animals that primarily rely on scavenging for food instead of hunting or foraging. Being scavengers makes the waste that we humans throw away or keep near our home an easy and quick means of obtaining food, especially since the animals forage overnight when you are asleep.

Raccoons will also become attracted to certain types of pet food that you may keep outside as well as to any standing bodies of water or containers with water on your property. Since raccoons are omnivorous animals and eat both meat and vegetation, this means that virtually anything you throw away or any edibles foods you may have in a garden are attractants to these pests.

Perhaps worst of all, raccoons will also become inclined to set up permanent residence in your house or your yard if their needs are met in this situation. Finding shelter is especially important for female raccoons since they will need a safe place to give birth and nurse their young to maturity.

Although raccoons generally love woodsy environments when it comes to their dwelling; any area that offers plentiful amounts of food and water can become attractive to raccoons. Being nocturnal also means that raccoons will also be attracted to homes that have diminished lighting at night, so be sure to leave all porch lights on.

Raccoon-in-zoo-Deklofenak-Depositphotos
Image credit: Deklofenak, Deposit Photos

Are Raccoons Dangerous?

It is safe to say that everybody generally knows that raccoons can be a nuisance, but are the animals also dangerous? Raccoons are dangerous in two ways primarily: attacking and disease transmission.

All wild animals are incredibly unpredictable in their behavior patterns, and this is even more apparent if they feel threatened. But much like rats, the possibility of spreading diseases to your home is the most dangerous aspect of raccoons.

These animals carry a range of diseases including leptospirosis, rabies, and roundworms. Arguably, the most dangerous of these diseases is leptospirosis, which can be transmitted to humans and pets by coming into contact with raccoon feces and urine. Symptoms include vomiting, fever, headache, and even liver or kidney issues.

How to Clean Up Dangerous Raccoon Waste

Since raccoon waste contains dangerous diseases, and raccoons prefer to urinate and defecate in select places that become their latrines, these areas are biohazards. For this reason, it is important to use thick gloves and an N95 respirator mask to avoid breathing in any dust particles and running the risk of touching the contagious waste.

Be sure to spray the area down with water first to prevent any dust from rising once you begin removing the waste. Scoop up the feces and place it in a durable trash bag to be placed in an outdoor waste bin for removal.

Then, use a mixture of hot water, bleach, and mop liquid to thoroughly scrub the entire latrine area leaving no spot unscrubbed. The bleach will kill all evidence of roundworms or leptospirosis. Once finished, carefully remove your gloves and mask to also be thrown into a sealed trash bag, and immediately launder your clothing on the highest heat setting.

This is one of the primary things that makes raccoons such a dangerous pest to have around the home.

Are Raccoons Dangerous to Dogs?

Raccoons are more likely to pose a physical threat to dogs than they are to humans. Since dogs strive to guard your home and property, raccoons will always alert your dog to their presence. But a raccoon will not back down from a fight, and one of the worst dangers to be aware of with raccoons attacking dogs is the transmission of rabies.

Not all raccoons carry rabies, but the percentage of raccoons carrying rabies is high. Any mammal can contract rabies, and this also includes human beings. Since dogs are the most likely animal to engage in a fight with a possibly rabid raccoon, this makes dogs the most common carrier of rabies from raccoons.

Ways to prevent this from occurring are being sure to have your dog up-to-date on all rabies vaccines and to never let your dog loose during the evening hours when raccoons are active.

Signs of rabies in raccoons are not always noticeable and there are cases in which the rabies-carrying raccoon will look and act completely normal. If you ever notice a raccoon acting randomly aggressive, in addition to excess salivating, limp, or paralyzed legs or paws, or loud and erratic hissing or barking, these are common signs of rabies in raccoons and you should notify a pest control professional or consider professional raccoon removal immediately.

Are Raccoons Dangerous to Cats?

Likewise, raccoons can also pose serious threats to cats. By and large, cats are much smaller than medium to large dog breeds, and about equal in height and stature to a raccoon. This makes cats an easier target for feral raccoons that will likely attack a cat with more confidence than a larger dog.

Like any mammal, the biggest danger to cats posed by raccoons is the transmission of rabies or other diseases. The good news with cats and raccoons is that neither of these two species will go out of their way to attack the other. Cats prefer to hunt or provoke smaller animals like rodents or birds, therefore, the number of cats coming down with raccoon-transmitted rabies is much lower than the incidence for dogs.

Generally speaking, the only time that a cat may provoke a raccoon is if the raccoon is eating the cat’s food. This is why it is crucial to never leave cat or dog food unattended outdoors.

Raccoon-during-summer-karlumbriaco.hotmail-Depositphotos
Image credit: karlumbriaco.hotmail.com, Deposit Photos

Do Raccoons Bite?

Raccoons will either scratch or bite when they feel threatened, with scratching being the most common form of attack. Raccoons will bite a human or another animal if scratching is not getting their point across effectively enough.

A raccoon bite can be very painful, but the biggest thing to worry about if a raccoon bite is the transmission of diseases, specifically rabies. If a raccoon bites you or your pet for no reason and at random, this is a strong sign of rabies, and you should go to the emergency room or take your pet to the vet immediately.

Do Raccoons Attack?

Most raccoons will only bite people or another animal as a last resort; more commonly, a raccoon will typically attack with its claws. But this is not an overly common occurrence since raccoons will usually run away when confronted and they can easily escape.

Never attempt to corner a raccoon as this will trigger their flight or fight response; since they cannot flee, they will attack instead. Similarly, a mother raccoon will also attack people or pets when she has young nearby and feels that they are under threat; this is why it is recommended to never disturb a nesting raccoon with babies.

Lastly, as previously mentioned, a raccoon will attack for no apparent reason whatsoever if the animal is sick with rabies. This is one of those random incidences where you can be minding your own business and a rabid raccoon charges at you. This is another reason why it is important to make your property unattractive to raccoons with nothing freely available that they need.

For the most part, you do not have to worry about a raccoon attacking you or your pet. Never corner a raccoon or disturb a raccoon nest. Be sure to keep your dog or cat close by if there are raccoons in the area.

How To Get Rid of Raccoons

When deciding how to get rid of raccoons, there are multiple details to keep in mind. Prevention is the best method of raccoon control, yet there are also some important removal methods to know if you need to get rid of active raccoons, either inside of your house or more commonly, somewhere on the outside of the property.

At the end of the day, raccoons are just looking for a safe place to nest and food and water to consume; if they weren’t so dangerous, they would make incredible pets! But the destruction they can cause and the potential for spreading dangerous diseases makes this impossible. Let’s explore ways to get rid of raccoons in the four most common places you will find them.

How To Get Rid of Raccoons in Your House

Unlike insect pests or even rodents, it is fairly hard for raccoons to establish a nest inside of your home, and this area would most likely be the attic or the basement if they did. But if you do find an area inside of your home with live raccoons, this is an emergency of the highest order. Not only will all the raccoons have to be removed, but the areas they were nesting in will also have to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

The first step when deciding how to get rid of raccoons in your house is to find out exactly how they got in. Do a thorough inspection of your home and check for holes in the wall or any type of entry point that a raccoon could fit through. Mother raccoons will typically find entry points into a house and create a nest for their young in attics or basements, or any part of a house that is largely vacant and undisturbed.

If you inspect the area in your home and see that it is only adult raccoons, you can consider using raccoon traps like this with raccoon trap bait to trap and safely remove the animals. But since this requires taking the raccoon to a remote area and releasing it, this is not a wise decision since this exposes you to a possibly rabid animal.

Additionally, if there are young raccoons still relying on their mother for survival, you will have to wait until the raccoons are mature before you disturb or attempt to remove them. In any of these situations, notifying a pest control professional is the best course of action. By using raccoon removal services, ensures that the mother and the young to be moved without having to wait for the offspring to mature into adult raccoons.

How To Get Rid of Raccoons in Your Trash

Raccoons and trash cans go hand-in-hand; everybody is well aware that these animals will knock over trash cans and spread the garbage all over your lawn. It’s a disgusting and foul mess to clean up, and these animals will knock over your trash cans every single night if you let them.

Since there is no way to avoid leaving your trash cans outside, the only way to prevent this mess is to ensure that the lid cannot be pried open. You could try and keep your cans inside somewhere until shortly before the waste removal trucks arrive, but this would mean that a week’s worth of waste would be inside of the home. The most practical thing to do is to prevent the animals from getting inside the cans.

One method is to place your cans underneath a motion light that will startle raccoons once they get near the can. You can also place a raccoon repellent on the lid of the can to deter the animals from touching the repellent. For the repellents, you can use either granular repellent which can be sprinkled around the trash cans, or liquid repellents that use scent and taste to repel raccoons. For best results, use both.

You can also use an old trick by placing large stones or even heavy bricks on top of the trash can lids to make it difficult for the pests to knock the cans over. However, this method does not always work as raccoons have been known to push the rocks or bricks off of the lid to the ground below.

The best method is to prevent the animals from becoming attracted to your trash cans in the first place. Be sure to thoroughly cleans and sanitize your trash cans after every pickup. Use bleach and ammonia when you clean out the cans since these scents are highly unpleasant to raccoons.

Racoon-willbrasil21-Depositphotos
Image credit: willbrasil21, Deposit Photos

How To Get Rid of Raccoons in Attic Spaces

Of all the places inside of a home that raccoons are attracted to, the attic is the most appealing due to its quiet and undisturbed environment. Raccoons prefer to use the attic as a latrine, which is essentially a preferred spot for raccoons to use the bathroom. As we explored earlier, a raccoon latrine is crawling with millions of pathogens and is a breeding ground for dangerous diseases and parasites.

It can be very difficult to clean these latrines in an attic, therefore, it is crucial to do everything you can to prevent raccoons from getting into the attic. Any openings that lead to the roof should be sealed, and any tree branches that lead to the roof should be trimmed back.

Once raccoons set up residence in your attic, you will likely find yourself wondering how to trap a raccoon and safely remove it. This is the only option you have, and if you decide to do this on your own, you will need to purchase live traps for raccoons like this to ensure that the animal (s) are completely trapped.

Once the animals are trapped, it is important to call a professional raccoon removal specialist to come out and handle the removal.

How To Keep Raccoons Away From Your Garden

Gardens that grown fruits or vegetables are huge attractants for raccoons and will ensure that the pests take up residence in your yard. Since raccoons are omnivores, they will respond to vegetation just as much as they would to pet food or spoiled meat or dairy in a trash can.

Keeping raccoons out of your yard will mean that you will need to make your garden edibles unattractive to the pests. You can do this by sprinkling deterrents like garlic and chili powder all around the garden and also consider investing in a noise-making deterrent that will scare the raccoons away once they approach your yard.

If the problem doesn’t stuff with these tactics, you can use something like a dog-proof raccoon trap to trap as many raccoons as possible and call to have the pests removed. You can also consider using a radio overnight on your porch or even near your garden as long as it doesn’t disturb neighbors. The sound of the radio will make the raccoons think that humans are outside and will prevent the pests from venturing into your yard.

All in all, the best way to keep raccoons out of your garden is to prevent the animals from coming into your yard in the first place. Keep your trash cans weighted down or indoors until the morning of trash pickup. Keep all pet food trays and standing water emptied overnight, and consider installing wire mesh around your garden to prevent the animals from climbing over the mesh to reach the garden or any food source.

Professional Raccoon Removal

Instead of trying to figure out how to trap a raccoon, utilizing professional raccoon removal services is a much more effective and safer alternative. This takes away the hassle of having to figure out the most effective way to remove raccoons, and this can also save you a great deal of money in the long run since raccoon removal services can address the entire problems all at once.

Raccoon removal costs will vary based on the severity of the problem determined during an assessment. If you only need assistance in keeping raccoons from knocking over your trash cans, this will not cost as much as live raccoon removal or latrine clean-up. Therefore, it does serve you well, in the long run, to do as much as you can to prevent raccoons in the first place.

If you need help in finding a reputable raccoon removal specialist in your area, fill out this form and we can narrow down a search in your area to find a raccoon removal specialist to best serve your needs based on the particulars of your situation. This is the safest way to address a raccoon problem.

Summary

So, when you are left wondering how to get rid of raccoons for good, prevention is the most important step. There are far too many different rules and regulations concerning raccoons to attempt poisoning or exterminating the animals, in addition to this being incredibly inhumane. Raccoon-proofing your trash cans, removing all pet food and water from outside, and making your yard less attractive to raccoons will work towards preventing their unwanted arrivals.

For most residents, securing your outdoor trash cans will take care of the problem immediately. The pests will still try and pry into the cans, but they will eventually give up once they know it is pointless to try and open the trash can.

Featured Image Credit: chasbrutlag, Deposit Photos

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Mike Henderson
Mike Henderson

Mike is a pest control operator from New York with over 15 years experience dealing with a wide range of pests. He shares his knowledge on this blog and provides useful information to help you combat pests on your own.

For severe infestations and professional advice you can also request a free pest control quote here.

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