How To Get Rid Of A Raccoon In Your Garage

How To Get Rid of Raccoons

— Keep pet food indoors. Same for bird food or any other attractant.
— Strap garbage can lids down with bungee cords.
— Place chicken wire or plywood with nails sticking up on swimming pool steps.
— If it is legal in your area, you can shoot the raccoon, but I don’t really recommend this.
— Most important — seal shut entry holes into your house. Install a steel chimney cap, make sure vent screens are bolted in, secure pet door, etc.

— You need the animal trapped and removed from the property. Read here about can I trap it myself?
— Raccoons have gotten into your attic, or any other part of the inside of the building.
— You need raccoon feces cleaned out of the attic space.

— Repellents, such as mothballs, ammonia, predator urine, and sound machines are ineffective at deterring raccoons. This has been proven repeatedly, by government studies and trappers like me.
— Poisons, such as rat poison, antifreeze, etc. are a bad idea, because they rarely work. They’re more likely to make the animal sick, or often a non-target animal, like a dog or cat, will eat the poison. Plus this tactic is not legal.

Raccoons can prove to be a challenge for any homeowner. Once a reliable shelter or food source has been discovered, these intelligent animals will return as often as they can to reap the benefits. If the problem goes unchecked for a long period of time, raccoons will often move into the attic of the home, into the garage, or into the neighboring tree line. Sometimes it’s not your home that is a problem; a neighbor’s home can provide the food, yet the raccoons decide they like your attic instead. In neighborhoods, this can prove to be a difficult problem to solve.

The first consideration when it comes to getting rid of raccoons is: Why are they there? All wild animals are driven by the basic necessities of life. Yes, a raccoon may like your attic for its warm and quiet atmosphere, but without a nearby food supply, chances are you wouldn’t have a raccoon investigating your home in the first place. If you keep your trash outside, be sure to place edible waste in bags prior to placing it in the can. This will help to seal off any attractive odors. The garbage can should have a tightly fitted lid, and the lid should be attached to the can by way of bungee cords or another locking mechanism. Raccoons are known for their ingenuity when it comes to opening containers, and once they learn how to do it, they will retain the information for years.

In addition to garbage, any pet food should be kept off of porches or patios. Raccoons are not the only wild animals that are drawn to pet food. Feeding your pet inside the home is a good idea. If you can’t accommodate that recommendation, consider feeding your pet outside but immediately removing the bowl when the pet abandons it. If you are one of the kindhearted souls who leave out food for strays, be prepared to have visitation from wild animals.

If a raccoon has gotten into a specific part of the house, it must be dealt with in the correct manner, and it is often difficult. You can read more information on this website, with these specific how-to articles:
How To Get Rid of Raccoons in the House
How To Get Rid of Raccoons in the Ceiling
How To Get Rid of Raccoons in the Wall

Once you’ve scoured your property and removed the tempting tidbits of food, you need to look at the state of your home’s structure. Sometimes your habits aren’t the problem, and your neighbor may be the reason a raccoon is around. For this reason, making sure there are no entry portals into your home and attic is very important. Raccoons are very dexterous and can rip open a way into a house if even a small hole exists. Seal all openings regardless of size.

If the issue has progressed, and you are now sharing your living space with a raccoon or family of raccoons, you will need to review your options. Various raccoon repellents are on the market, some commercial, some home remedies. Mothballs, predator urine, ultrasonic emitters, sound enhancers—the list goes on. Unfortunately, most of these deterrents are ineffectual. Mothballs have been proven worthless in countless trials, and the little, white, pungent balls are actually a dangerous carcinogen. Predator urine will make a raccoon wary, but most animals are smart enough to use all of their senses to detect danger. Just because a place smells like a dog doesn’t mean the dog is really there. Clearly dog scent has little effect on raccoons eating out of dog food bowls. Sound emitters can be helpful, as one of the reasons the raccoon is in your attic is because it is quiet and warm, but bear in mind that you will have to put up with the sound as well. Ultrasonic sounds won’t help you; just because the raccoon can hear them doesn’t mean they bother the animal.

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Poison is never recommended for pest removal. If you poison a raccoon living in your home, chances are that animal will crawl into a tight space and die (and it will be a long, agonizing death) and then the smell will linger for months unless the carcass is removed. Worse yet, if that raccoon had infants, the babies will eventually starve and die, adding more potency to the smell already wafting through your home.

Trapping and removing raccoons is the most effective way to deal with them. It is notably difficult to catch a raccoon in a trap; you will have to outsmart the raccoon. Leave your trap in the area frequented for a few days, unset. Place some food inside the trap and allow the raccoon to take it and eat it. Eventually, the animal will drop its guard and enter the trap without a second thought. You can read more raccoon trapping tips here. Some states prohibit or limit the contact a home owner can have with a wild animal, especially a raccoon due to their high risk of carrying rabies. Be sure to check with your local government about trapping raccoons, because it is illegal to trap them in many states, and also illegal to relocate them. If you are allowed to make the attempt, be prepared to relocate the raccoon or to turn it over to wildlife professional. Further complications will include the gathering of offspring. For the untrained person, it is almost impossible to determine if a raccoon is male or female, and a litter of babies may be hidden cleverly inside the home. Due to the difficulty level of this pest animal, it may be in your best interests to hire a professional to eliminate the problems adults and to determine if babies are present in the home. If so, they must be removed by hand.

Do You Need Help?
I wrote this website to provide information on How To Get Rid of Raccoons in the case that you have a raccoon problem and need to make an informed decision about what to do. If you have any questions you may email me, but I do know from experience that raccoon removal is not simple. If you need professional help solving your wildlife conflict, I recommend that you talk to a professional raccoon control expert in your town by clicking on my National Wildlife Control directory, which lists experts who I recommend in every USA city and town who can help you with your raccoon issue.

How to Get Rid of Raccoons in the Attic
Raccoons in the attic are trouble. Not only do they tear apart your insulation and other structural materials, they leave food waste and feces everywhere they go. Even if waste and destruction were not enough of a reason for raccoon control, these animals are extremely loud and disruptive when they live inside of a home. To get rid of raccoons in your attic, you need to prevent them from getting inside. Most states prohibit civilian handling of raccoons due to the high prevalence of rabies among the species. If you have a problem raccoon in the attic and are unable to get the animal to leave (perhaps it’s sick or injured), call a professional to remove the animal. Raccoons are easily trapped in live traps and can be relocated into a less populated area or euthanized based on the circumstances of capture. Once the raccoon is removed, it is very important to completely seal up any holes leading into your attic. Raccoons can create large holes from small ones, so do not ignore the tiny cracks and openings along your roof. If not a raccoon, a squirrel or a mouse will surely find the opening inviting.

How to Get Rid of Raccoons in the Garage
Garages are often the targets for raccoons. The quiet, dark garage is ideal for a tiny mammal to seek shelter in, and most people pack their garages full of things other than cars. Garages are also rarely temperature controlled, so homeowners don’t always spend a lot of time worrying about holes in the foundations or missing windows. Garbage bags and pet food are often stored in garages, another reason why raccoons choose to wander in. To get rid of a raccoon in the garage, you need have the animal trapped and removed. Raccoons pose a serious health risk to humans, so it is never advisable to attempt to remove a raccoon without the proper equipment or assistance. Some state have regulations regarding trapping raccoons, so make sure it is a situation you can handle before making the attempt. Because raccoons are easily trapped, live trapping is very successful with these mammals. Once the raccoon has been removed from the area, seal up all cracks, broken windows, loose siding and so on. Be careful to secure garbage and pet food. Once a raccoon has detected food, they will try to figure out a way to get to it. Proper home maintenance is almost always the first step in nuisance animal control.

See also:  What Does Raccoon Eat In The Wild

How to Get Rid of Raccoons in the House
A raccoon in the house can be a tricky dilemma. It is not uncommon for these little creatures to wander in through pet doors or open windows, looking for food. The raccoon has a very indiscriminate palate, and it really does not take much of a draw to lure them into a home. Pet food is a favorite among many wild animals, so food left out on a porch overnight will usually lure in some guests. If the raccoon is inside the main part of your home, it may have mistakenly entered the living space because it has been seeking shelter in your roof or attic. The inquisitive nature of raccoons often leads them into trouble, so a forlorn critter trapped in the kitchen may not be so rare of an occurrence. If there is a raccoon in your home, do not approach it. Raccoons are a known carrier of rabies, and most state health departments advise against unnecessary contact. If one of these creatures is trapped, confine the animal to one area of the home and call a professional immediately for removal. When the raccoon is safely out of the house, do some investigating and find out how it entered in the first place. Secure all doors and windows. Investigate your attic. Does it look like a raccoon has been living up there? If so, the wildlife professional should be able to investigate to make sure no complicating factors—like baby raccoons—are present.

How to Get Rid of Raccoons in the Yard
If you are having an issue with raccoons in your yard, chances are there is something appealing about your property. Raccoons are nocturnal and will generally avoid human contact, but they are decidedly brave when it comes to ransacking yards for food. Because the raccoon will eat almost anything, gardens, garbage containers, compost piles and pet food bowls are all likely targets. Keep your yard free of unnecessary food waste; make sure your garbage cans are secured; keep pet food picked up when the pet is done with it. If you have a garden, consider placing a fence around it. Raccoons are industrious climbers, so fencing does not always keep them out. They are opportunistic, and like most nuisance animals, do not want to work too hard for a meal. If a fence around your garden makes them think twice about entering, then it is well worth the hassle. Raccoons will also invade a yard if they feel there is a safe place to create a den or to raise young. A yard with no predators, no noise and ample vegetation will be more appealing to a raccoon than a yard with no trees, no gardens, and a dog running around outside. Households bordering the wood line will be more prone to problems since raccoons do not have to live in the yard to invade it from time to time.

Raccoons living in shed or garage

A raccoon living in a shed or garage from January to September should ALWAYS be assumed to be a mother with babies. Be careful, as you don’t want to orphan the baby raccoons. Raccoons are excellent mothers and will move their babies to a new den site when frightened, but evicting a mother raccoon always runs the risk that she might abandon or become separated from her babies.

What to do if a raccoon is living in the shed or garage

Be patient with a mother raccoon

Your first option is to do nothing at all. Raccoons typically use sheds or garages as dens for short periods. Raccoon babies are independent by the end of summer, when they leave the den and disperse from their family groups. Raccoon mothers also commonly move their babies between den sites during the nesting season, so the raccoon may move her babies on her own. If you can wait until the babies are grown and/or have left, you can then close off the access point to prevent other raccoons from using the shed or garage as a den in the future.

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In our experience, a raccoon mother whose shed or garage den has been discovered is usually frightened enough to move her babies within 48 hrs with no other intervention.

Humane harassment

The mother raccoon is living in the shed or garage because it’s a dark, quiet, safe place for her and her babies. If you make the shed or garage not dark, not quiet, and not safe using light, sound, and smell, the raccoon can be convinced to leave your shed or garage and take her babies with her. All harassment techniques should be placed as close as possible to the den entrance, so the mother raccoon can’t ignore them when she comes and goes.


Turn on as many lights as you can in the shed or garage. Make sure they’re fire-safe, especially if you have to use extension cords. Raccoons are nocturnal, and don’t like bright lights in their homes. An outdoor spotlight or a mechanic’s light should do the trick. In a small shed or garage, it may be enough to leave the lights on inside.


Tune a radio to a talk station and place it near the den entrance. Music doesn’t mean anything to raccoons, but the sound of human voices is threatening to them. The radio should be turned up as loud as you can stand it without annoying your human neighbours.


Soak some rags in Apple Cider Vinegar or ammonia, and put them in a plastic bag. Poke holes in the bag to let the smell escape, and hang it next to the den entrance. You can use dirty kitty litter in a plastic bag the same way. Scent deterrents are least effective with raccoons, but can help when used in combination with light and sound methods.

Patience and persistence

Keep all of the above going for at least 3 days and 3 nights. You’ve got to be persistent to convince the raccoon to leave.

Paper Test

When you think the raccoon is gone, you want to make sure with a paper test: either stuff the entrance with balled up newspaper, or tape a double sheet of newspaper over the hole. Wait another 3 days and nights. If the paper is still in place, do a visual inspection of the shed or garage to make sure the raccoons are gone. Temporarily patch the entrance hole with ¼” wire mesh until you can do a more permanent repair.

What NOT to do

Live trapping

Trapping and relocating a raccoon might seem like the “humane” option, but it isn’t. Relocated raccoons don’t tend to survive when they’re moved off of their home territory. Relocated mother raccoons leave behind babies who will die without a mother to care for them. A mother raccoon relocated with her babies will be so frightened she will abandon them when faced with a new, unknown territory. In Ontario, it is illegal to relocate any wild animal more than 1km from where it was found.

Every year, Toronto Wildlife Centre receives hundreds of calls about baby raccoons orphaned because well-meaning people trapped and relocated their mother. Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to care for them all.

One-way doors

Many humane removal companies will recommend putting up one-way doors so the raccoon can get out but not get back in. One-way doors are a good option between October and December, when tiny baby raccoons are unlikely. Between January and September, one-way doors can exclude the mother raccoon and leave tiny baby raccoons trapped inside. If they are too young to follow their mother, the babies will starve inside without her care. Separated from her babies, a mother raccoon will cause major damage to property as she tries desperately to get back to them. Make sure the baby raccoons are old enough to be mobile and following their mother before installing a one-way door.

Animal Removal Companies

Sometimes the best and easiest way to get a raccoon out of an attic is to hire a company to do it for you. Wildlife removal companies are not well monitored or licensed, so it is up to you to ask questions about a company’s practices before hiring them. Consult our guidelines for choosing a removal company.

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