How to Get Rid of Raccoons: A Comprehensive Guide

Raccoons, with their bandit-like masks and nimble paws, might seem charming at first glance. However, these wild animals can wreak havoc on your property, ranging from trashing your garden to infiltrating your home and attic. They can carry fleas, ticks, and lice and with their potential to spread diseases like rabies, it is essential to implement effective measures to deter and remove them.

1. Identification of Raccoon Activity Have you been hearing suspicious noises at night? Is your bird feeder constantly emptied? Are you concerned that raccoons may have taken up residence at your house? Do you notice any brown fur sticking out of your soffit? Before you can take the necessary steps to get rid of raccoons, you need to confirm their presence. If you suspect that raccoons are active in your area, it’s important to identify their activity before taking action to get rid of them. Look for the following signs:

  • Tracks: If you find raccoons are visiting your home, identifying their tracks can be an important step in confirming your suspicions. Unlike other animals that walk on their toes, raccoons walk flat-footed, leaving behind a unique pattern in their tracks that features five toes arranged in a slightly splayed shape. But it’s important to keep in mind that raccoon tracks can look similar to those of other animals, such as skunks or opossums. Be sure to look for other clues such as claw marks or pathways leading to food sources to confirm that raccoons are indeed visiting your home. By taking the time to identify raccoon tracks, you’ll be better equipped to take steps to prevent their unwelcome visits in the future.
  • Droppings: Have you noticed peculiar tubular droppings around your home lately? They may belong to none other than the nocturnal mischief maker: the raccoon. But why should you care? Well, for starters, raccoon droppings can potentially carry diseases, including roundworm eggs, that can be transmitted to humans and pets. Raccoons are known to use specific areas as latrines, meaning piles of droppings can gradually accumulate in the same spot, also known as raccoon latrines. The droppings themselves tend to be dark in color and may contain undigested food particles. So, if you happen to come across these distinctive droppings, it’s important to take necessary precautions in handling them and contacting a professional for safe removal.
  • Noises: Raccoons are becoming a problem in many neighborhoods, and it’s important to know how to identify their pesky presence. One tell-tale sign of these masked creatures is the sound of thumping coming from your attic, especially at night. Raccoons love to explore and scavenge during the dark hours, as they are nocturnal animals. They can easily find access points to your home, and once they do, they will make themselves at home in your attic. The problem is, their noisy antics can keep you up at night, leading to a lack of sleep for the next few weeks. It’s crucial to identify the source of the noise and take appropriate measures, such as contacting Affordable Wildlife Control, for their raccoon removal service.
  • Damage: Raccoons are notorious for their mischievous antics, and there’s no doubt that they can cause significant damage to your home. One of the most common ways that raccoons leave their mark is through access points around the house. These points could be in the form of damaged shingles, ripped screens, or even gaps around windows and doors. Once they gain entry, these furry creatures often target our trash bins and garbage cans, which are like treasure troves for them. Don’t be surprised to find them scattered all over your yard, with raccoons leaving behind their tell-tale dirty paw prints. You may also notice nesting materials around your property, like shredded paper or insulation. This is a sign that these critters have settled in, and it’s time to take action to prevent further damage. It’s important to inspect compost bins, as well, as raccoons can make quite the mess when they’re searching for a meal. By learning how to identify raccoon damage, you can take steps to protect your home and keep these pesky creatures at bay.

2. Preventive Measures Effective preventive measures are the cornerstone of raccoon control. Consider the following strategies:

  • Secure Trash Cans: Raccoons are notorious for rummaging through garbage bins in search of food. Use raccoon-proof trash cans or secure lids with bungee cords.
  • Remove Food Source: Do not leave any pet food outside, as this will attract raccoons absolutely, and ensure to pick up any fallen vegetables in your garden, and the same if you have fruit trees as dropped fruit attracts raccoons. It’s a good idea to keep any outdoor cats inside, at least for the time being. If you have bird feeders, the kind with the thin poles are best as they’re more difficult to climb, and be sure to sweep up any bird food on the ground.
  • Trim Overhanging Branches: These wild animals are excellent climbers and can use branches to access roofs and attics. Trim any hedges or bushes close against your home as well.
  • Seal Entry Points: Regularly inspect your home for cracks, holes, or other potential entry points – this could indicate raccoons have already gained access to your roof and you should act quickly. For fast and efficient service, contact the professionals at Affordable Wildlife Control to seal them over with a heavy wire mesh and a one way exit door.

3. Humane Removal Methods As a wild animal, raccoons have little to no control over their actions, especially when it comes to seeking warmth and food. Therefore, to kill raccoons for being in the wrong place at the wrong time is not only cruel but also unfair to them. It’s not their fault that they seek refuge in suburban areas or homes. Raccoon traps are often set by concerned homeowners who want to get rid of these animals, but they don’t realize the consequences of their actions. Killing raccoons unnecessarily is not kind and does more harm than good. There are plenty of humane ways to deal with raccoons that don’t involve killing them, and as humans, we owe it to these animals to treat them with respect by finding appropriate ways to handle them or relocate them safely. If raccoons have already established residence on your property, consider the following humane removal methods to have raccoons safely taken out:

  • Live Traps: To trap raccoons and move them away is really not the best option, and should only be used as a last resort. Use a humane live trap baited with foods like marshmallows, fruits, or canned tuna. Once captured, relocate raccoons off your property. This method is not really endorsed due to the vast number of raccoons we have in Southern Ontario. There’s really no point in trapping adult raccoons one at a time and moving them off. Local regulations may dictate that you can only move it just under one kilometre away, and they can find their way back. Also, if you move them far away, you could possibly be removing a mother raccoon from her baby raccoons, which could result in having a litter of dead young (raccoon kits) up in your attic or your chimney, or worse, under your deck or shed.
  • One-Way Doors: Affordable Wildlife Control will screen over the opening and install a one-way door at the entry point to allow the raccoons to leave but at the me time prevent more raccoons from re-entering, and they can wire mesh over other vulnerable spots thus solving your raccoon problem. If it’s during baby season, they will perform an interior attic search and remove any babies by hand.
  • Exclusion Fencing: Install fencing around your garden, or into the ground on specific areas like decks, sheds, and porches to prevent raccoons from digging underneath.

4. Natural Repellents Several natural repellents can be employed to deter raccoons:

  • Ammonia: Raccoons hate the strong smell of ammonia. Soak rags in ammonia and place them near their activity areas. Put the rags in a pail or bucket, and saturate them. They can also be placed at the bottom of any trees raccoons climb.
  • Sauces, Pepper Sprays and other Household Items: There are natural and humane ways to keep these cheeky critters at bay. Hot sauce, water, cayenne pepper, vinegar, and even used cat litter are all effective repellents that can be sprayed around the areas raccoons frequent. Additionally, sealing off crawl spaces and keeping compost piles contained can help deter them from feeling welcome in your space. Be sure to spray these repellents frequently so they don’t lose their effectiveness over time. With a little persistence, you can give these nocturnal visitors a sense of unwelcome and stay raccoon-free. Mix a bottle of hot sauce with some water, and spray around the exterior of your house, in your garden, along your fence line, and your trash bins. Cayenne pepper also works well if mixed with water to make a paste. You can place vinegar soaked rags around the exterior of your home. Used, or dirty, cat litter can be sprinkled about outside as well. Predator urine can be purchased, apply it around your yard, it will make the raccoons afraid that a predator is close by.
  • Motion-Activated Sprinklers: These devices can startle and deter raccoons when they approach your property, and the water spray will discourage raccoons from venturing closer.
  • Install Bright Lights: Raccoons do not like bright light, it may help to repel raccoons if you install one.

5. Professional Help When all else fails, or if the raccoon infestation is severe, it might be best to seek professional help:

  • Wildlife Control Professional: AAA Affordable Wildlife Control, a professional animal removal service, has the expertise and tools to remove raccoons humanely and effectively.
  • Pest Control Companies: These companies typically offer comprehensive solutions, including removal, cleanup, and preventive measures.

Conclusion Raccoons can be troublesome neighbours, but with the right knowledge and tools, one can effectively deter and remove them from their property. Always prioritize humane methods and seek professional assistance when necessary. By implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, you will be well on your way to enjoying a raccoon-free environment.