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Raccoons are an animal that can be a huge nuisance when they are in and around your property, and there are several different types of damage they can cause, along with stealing food and also the possibility of disease transmission. This means that it is important to deal with a raccoon problem as soon as possible, and the truth is that the fastest way to deal with the raccoon is to trap it and then move it well away from the area where it is causing a problem. There are several other solutions that are marketed, but in some cases these can be ineffective or take too long to effectively be a solution for the raccoon problem.
Will Repellents Solve Your Raccoon Problem?
This is one of the most common misconceptions that people will find, as there are plenty of products that are found in stores that claim to be able to get rid of raccoons simply by spraying a particular powder or fluid around your property. The real truth here is that you should consider whether this is really too good to be true, and if it sounds like an easy solution to a difficult problem, then you would be absolutely right. These repellents will not get rid of the raccoon for you, so make sure that you don't get sucked in by the marketing claims, as this will delay the work of trapping and removing the raccoon, allowing it to cause a greater nuisance.
Find out if raccoons attack cats, dogs, or other pets.
Getting Rid Of A Raccoon Nesting In Your Property
In order to remove a raccoon, you will need to use a cage trap to catch the animal, and you will need to find one which is roughly the same size as those used to catch feral cats and animals of a similar size. This should then be placed in an area near the nesting spot of the raccoon, and baited with a smelly food such as canned fish, wet cat food or bacon, which will all draw the animal into the trap. Once you have caught the raccoon, make sure you check the nest in case there are baby raccoons that need to be moved along with their mother.
Learn whether or not raccoons can climb fences.
Dealing With A Raccoon Coming To The Property To Scavenge For Food
This is a slightly different problem, but ultimately the first thing you will need to do is to try and deal as best you can with the factors drawing the raccoon to the property. This will mean trying to protect the food sources, and this can be done by putting garbage in cans rather than leaving them in bags, and moving pet and animal food from their sacks into a barrel with a lid. The second stage then is to examine the fencing around the property, seal any holes or gaps that are allowing raccoons into the property, and then to look at stopping the raccoons from getting in to the area.
We can answer: Do raccoons burrow or dig holes?
Preventing Future Raccoon Problems
Once you have managed to remove the raccoons causing the problem, then you can start to look at ways to stop other raccoons from returning. Maintaining the fence, and also considering putting a new one in place with an outward leaning top section can help to prevent raccoons from getting in to the property, while dealing with potential food sources can also be useful. You should also look to seal the area where the raccoons were nesting, to prevent other raccoons from moving in to the same nest in future, and this can be done by fixing a screen of chicken wire over the area.
We won't beat around the bush here; having a raccoon in your attic is no laughing matter. In fact, in some cases, having a raccoon in your attic, or anywhere else on your property, can prove incredibly detrimental, not only to your health, but the health of your friends, family, and loved ones, and also any pets or other animals that you may have on your property.
There are five steps to get a raccoon or a family of raccoons out of the attic, and they are as follows:
1 - Locate the nest.
In almost all cases, one raccoon in the attic means one female raccoon in the attic with a nest of babies hidden away somewhere. You must make sure that you are dealing with one raccoon before you set any traps or take action to remove it.
You must locate the nest, work out how many youngsters are within it, and try to gauge how old the kits are. If they are less than a year old, they are still more than likely under their mother's care, which means you can't remove them without their mother.
Learn more about raccoon pest control:Pest Control & Raccoons: Can They Handle It?
Once you have found the nest, getting rid of the entire family will be much easier. You will know what tools you need for the job, how many of the critters you must count down as you are evicting them, and where the biggest clean-up projects are going to be situated.
2 - Raccoon removal.
A wildlife rehabilitator will be able to do almost all of the work, providing you hire a good one that knows what they are doing. When it comes to raccoon removal, removing the animal is actually just one very small part of the job — it is everything else that comes after that, that usually proves the biggest challenge.
You can remove a raccoon in a number of ways, using repellents, traps, kill traps, or via exclusion devices. You will need to tailor the approach you take to the situation. Raccoons that have entered your home via the attic and have then gotten stuck in the cavities within your wall or perhaps even in the chimney will sometimes require a snare pole trap to remove them. This isn't something you are going to have just hiding in the back of the garden shed somewhere — it is a very specialist tool and should be handled by those in-the-know. There are far too many things that can go wrong to start using these snare trap devices without any knowledge or reason. In so many cases, there are other, better ways of getting rid of the animal.
We do not recommend repellents, and if you are going to look at live cage traps and then releasing the animal, we urge you to do a sensible amount of research. In many states across North America, it is illegal to release rabies vectors into the wild once they have been captured, without prior checks and permission from the owner of the land on which you want to release the animal.
3 - Entry eradication.
Only when you can be sure that you have removed all raccoons from your attic can you then go ahead and seal it up. If you do not check all animals are gone before you do this stage, you run the risk of trapping animals INSIDE your attic. In turn, this will lead to even more damage and disease threats as the animals either die or breed, depending on the situation. Young kits will die in the nest without their mother, if you seal up the building after removing just the mother and not her babies too.
The smallest and most insignificant of points can be an entry point to a wild animal, and raccoons are so determined and stubborn that virtually no part of your home is off-limits. You must look for entry points in the weirdest and most wonderful places, and that's why we recommend getting some professional help to make sure you don't miss any problematic areas.
4 - Waste removal & cleanup.
You MUST clean up after these animals, and that means getting your hands dirty … Just another reason why this job is definitely best left to the experts. Dry and dusty feces can send raccoon roundworm eggs into the air, allowing them to be ingested by passing humans or animals. Moist and not-quite-dusty feces can also spread diseases, such as tularemia, salmonellosis, and more. Although the majority of these are easily cleared away with medication, they often come with vague early symptoms and are difficult to diagnose. That, in turn, makes them difficult to treat. That's why diseases that are bred from animals are so dangerous — in many cases, you won't even know you have been close to an infected animal.
You will need a vast amount of protective equipment to ensure you do the cleanup job safely, and that will include protection for eyes and respiratory systems, body suits, foot coveralls, as much cleaning equipment as you can get your hands on, and a fire pit or similar spot to dispose of everything you used, at the end of it.
5 - Raccoon-proofing
Once you have done stages one to four, you must then make sure that the raccoon doesn't have a chance to come back. In order to do this, you're going to raccoon-proof your property. The easiest way to do this is to remove all things that encouraged the raccoon to come closer, in the first place, which is usually food. When you remove the food supply the raccoon doesn't really have a reason to stick around and may even move along of its own accord.
As well as removing all sources of food, you must make sure that you are cleaning up after yourself. Piles of garden debris, trees or wood piles, rocks, and more are all prime hiding spots for wild animals, so when you remove them, you are taking away the things that prevent them from being vulnerable in your yard. If you take away the places in which these critters hide, they will be less inclined to come into your yard. Your yard is no longer safe for them to hang out in.
There are so many different ways that you could raccoon proof your yard, but among the popular and most effective include:
*Erecting fences (with underground protection also).
*Using repellents (although, most of them have very little success — try wildlife eviction fluid).
*Covering swimming pools.
*Making areas of food (that you can't take away) inaccessible.
Congratulations for trapping a raccoon — many property owners don't even get that far before they call in wildlife rehabilitators to do the job, and if we're being totally honest about this; you may even need the help of wildlife control officer or wildlife rehabilitators to deal with a raccoon that YOU have trapped.
Because of the law.
You will need to check what's going on with the law in your area or state — you will find that raccoon tapping and killing regulations will vary greatly from one place to another. You might need a license or permit to trap, kill, or even transport the animal, and if you are caught breaking the law, you are likely to face the consequences. In the harshest of cases, this could mean prison time. Even in lighter situations, you can still find yourself with a pretty hefty fine slapped on you.
There is a reason behind these laws that seem to keep seemingly pest animals safe — over-killing of these creatures can be just as detrimental to us as leaving them to their own devices, without any form of population control. In one state, for example, if a large amount of raccoons were trapped or killed during one hunting season, the next hunting season or “open” season might then need to be slightly shorter, or moved slightly further along in the year. The reason for this is to ensure that humans don't accidentally eradicate an entire animal in a bid to get rid of pests.
Of course, many homeowners wouldn't want to destroy a perfectly healthy animal, especially one like the raccoon. The masked invader can turn on the cute for the camera, it would seem, especially if you spend any amount of time on social media. We can't tell you how many videos we've seen of wild raccoons 'acting up' for the camera, usually in exchange for food.
Catching a raccoon doesn't solve the problem if you live in an area where you are not allowed to release the raccoon afterwards. You're just stuck with a raccoon in a cage that you can't keep as a pet because it might have rabies, which is also a reason why you don't really want to get too close to it, and you're going to need to put that animal down. Oh, and before you do that, you'll need to do your research to the humane and legally permitted ways that you can do that too. For a pest, the raccoon comes with some pretty stringent regulations.
Before trapping a raccoon, make sure you know what to do with it. Some wildlife rehabilitators will not accept a raccoon in a cage from home or business owners, because of their rabies status, or the status of that animal in that state. It can be argued that it seems non-sensical to put a perfectly healthy wild animal down, but very few people would be happy to put their hand in their pockets to pay for the kind of testing and vaccination program that would be necessary to keep existing wildlife safe, in the area the raccoon would be released back into.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does raccoon removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of raccoons - my main raccoon removal info guide.
Example raccoon trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Raccoon job blog - learn from great examples of raccoon jobs I've done.
Will the city or county animal services help me with a raccoon issue?
The Truth About Using Moth Balls for Raccoons