How to Get Rid of Raccoons: A Complete Guide


Raccoons may be adorable creatures, but they can make your life difficult. They’re well known for digging through trashcans and destroying gardens with their dexterous fingers that help them to excel at climbing trees as well- skill raccoons use to find food sources such as birdseed scattered on the ground or pet foods left out by careless owners.

Don’t let raccoons take over your life. The first step to overcoming this problem is learning how to get rid of the little critters once and for all! Fortunately, we have you covered with our top tip on getting these pesky creatures out of your property for good.

How to Get Rid of Raccoons: A Complete Guide

How to Tell You’ve Got a Raccoon Problem

Raccoons are nocturnal, meaning they’re only active at night. As a result, their presence can be difficult to detect- but there is one way you might be able to tell that these masked bandits have invaded your home: paying attention to the clues they leave behind!

Here are a few things we recommend keeping an eye out for:

  • Evidence of raccoons feeding. Raccoons are messy, ravenous eaters. After they finish their meals you can often find leftover food scattered on the ground and knocked over trash cans around your property. Raccoons may also try to get into pet bowls or break bird feeders in order to feast themselves some more!
  • Tracks. There is little difference between raccoon tracks and possum tracks. Raccoons, like humans, walk flat-footed with toes bearing clawed fingers — unlike the rounder paw of a dog or cat. The differentiating factor in their track patterns is that they tend to move diagonally while most other animals follow straight lines which cause them to take long strides on one leg than any others (heel). Being wide at the front paws from 3″ up to 4″, but narrower close behind as it nears its heel; this pattern makes for easy identification when mixed among small forest creatures and deer alike!
  • Droppings. Raccoon droppings are cylindrical with tapered ends. They tend to be dark in color, although the shade varies depending on what they have eaten recently. The scat usually contains berry seeds and may contain signs of trash that have been consumed around them or near their den site as well.
  • Strange sounds. One of the most common questions people have is «What are those strange sounds that I hear at night around my property?» The answer may surprise you! Raccoons make a variety of noises including mewing, whistling, and growling. You may not be able to see them in your yard without close examination but their sound will give away their location. These animals can cause damage if they get into an attic or other area where food is stored because these nocturnal creatures steal it when we’re asleep so keep all areas well secured with strong locks on doors while raccoons are active from dusk through dawn.

Raccoons are a tough breed, and if you see any of their signs around your house or property— think about taking care of the problem right away. They can be very damaging to buildings in search of food sources, so waiting too long just makes it worse!


How to Get Rid of Raccoons Humanely & Naturally

When it comes to raccoon removal, we always advocate humane removal over lethal methods. If you have a raccoon problem, here are a few steps you can use to manage the raccoon population on your property:

In The Attic

Want a cuddly pet? Well, you might not want to have raccoons in your attic. Females looking for places to nest will rip off facia boarding, vents, and more just so they can find their secure space.

To get rid of a raccoon in the attic, follow these steps:

  1. Set live raccoon traps to catch and remove all present raccoons. If you’re going to do this, contact your local Fish and Wildlife Department, first. They’ll be able to supply you with traps and help you relocate the raccoons safely.
  2. Seal all gaps and openings into your attic, including vents and seals. Use a galvanized hardwire wire mesh to seal these spaces.
  3. Remove all sources of food, water, and bedding material raccoons may be using.

Under the house or deck

Again, a raccoon living under the house or deck is usually a mother with babies. Female raccoons generally have their babies between January and June, so care should be taken to remove the raccoons without orphaning the babies.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Live traps are the safest way to catch raccoons. Set them up in a secluded area, and once you’ve caught all of the animals inside, shut off any lights that might attract other creatures.
  2. Once the raccoons are gone, if you have space or crevice under your home that they used as their den and is now empty without any bedding left behind, make sure to scrub it down with hot water.
  3. The house always looks its best when it’s sparkling, but you have to make sure all the access points are sealed so that there is no dirt.
  4. Use floodlights to illuminate the space and place store-bought scent-based deterrents or homemade options such as vinegar, dirty cat litter, ammonia under homes, and decks.

In Your Yard or Garden

When raccoons take up residence in your lawn or garden, they’re typically looking for food. Raccoons are scavengers and will rip up all the grass to find grubs which is their favorite meal. This can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to gardens if not caught early on!

To get rid of them, we recommend the following:

  1. Invest in a professional grub treatment. For the past two years, Smith’s Pest Management has been keeping raccoons away from one San Francisco neighborhood. We can help you too! Contact us to learn how we use professional grub treatment and lawn-care services for your property today.
  2. Use home remedies like ammonia. Home remedies like ammonia, vinegar, ground-up garlic, powdered cayenne pepper, and dirty cat litter are useful ways to deter raccoons. Sprinkle the natural deterrent for raccoons in highly trafficked areas so they don’t find their new home appealing!
  3. Use motion-activated light or sound deterrents. In order to keep raccoons away from your lawn and garden, you can use motion-activated light or sound deterrents. These devices sense movement in the area and emit loud noises or flashes of bright lights that scare off these nocturnal animals.

On The Roof

As a homeowner, the last thing you want to see is an animal on your roof. It’s not uncommon for raccoons and other animals such as squirrels or opossums to make their way onto roofs and scurry across them like they own the place! This can be both alarming and dangerous because these critters will damage shingles, enter through chimneys that are unprotected by screens (increasing fire hazards), or even use vents in attics.

When homeowners find themselves with wildlife making off-limit entry into their homes it’s important that they take action quickly before any more damages occur.

Here are a few smart ways to get rid of them:

  • Cut down vines and trees that are near your roof to stop unwanted guests from climbing on the side of it.
  • Fight back against raccoons by removing their food sources, like pet food and birdseed.
  • Place a metal sheet around the edges of your roof and tree bases to deter raccoons while still keeping other animals, like outdoor cats safe.
  • Install electric fencing on any fences that are close to your home or roof. This will keep invaders out and make them think twice before entering the premises again.

In Your Walls

If you have a raccoon on your wall, the situation can become stressful very quickly. Raccoons in walls make noise at all hours of the night and may damage more than just your insulation—they are known to chew through wiring as well!

Here are some tips to get rid of a raccoon in the wall:

  1. Professional pest management companies like Smith’s can help you get rid of raccoons in the wall. The task might be dangerous for both humans and animals if attempted DIY, so hiring a professional is advised!
  2. You can identify problem areas in your home and seal them off to prevent future entry for pests. This is a much better solution than dealing with the raccoons yourself!

At The Bird Feeder

Figuring out how to keep raccoons away from bird feeders is a difficult task. Luckily, there are some creative ways to prevent them! From motion-activated sprinklers that scare the animals off when they come close and battery-operated lights with flashing patterns that deter their curiosity at night, you can find something for every budget if you’re persistent in your search.

Here’s what we recommend:

  • These furry creatures are intelligent, agile and a nuisance to many birdfeeders. Fortunately, there is an easy solution for the raccoon problem: make them feel unwelcome with these methods!
  • Hang feeders from the sky, it’s time to get out of this tree. Some raccoons might try and come for you but hang your feeder high up off the ground so they’ll have a tough climb — if not impossible!
  • Store-bought raccoon guards can be used to improve the effectiveness of feeders mounted on poles.
  • Raccoon-resistant bird feeders will ensure your feathered friends are safe from these pesky animals who cannot resist a free meal.

In The Chimney

Keep the chimney clean and free from their nesting materials with an electric or gas fireplace cleaner (or any other suitable means) so they can’t get in there even if they wanted to. They might not enjoy hanging out near that smell for long anyways!

To get rid of raccoons in your chimney, follow these tips:

  • Hire a professional raccoon removal company to remove the critters from your chimney. They can successfully trap and release all of them without harming you or damaging any part of the house.
  • After the raccoons are gone, clean up after them. Clear away any remaining nesting material and other things they may have left behind in your chimney.

In Your Chicken Coop

If you want to enjoy a good chicken dinner, it’s best not to take any chances with these pests. Raccoons have no qualms about jumping onto the roof of your house in order to get at some tasty chickens and eggs!

To keep raccoons out of your coop, follow these tips:

  • A raccoon’s sharp claws are a threat to the chicken coop; however, if you line your windows with hardware cloth they will be safe from these attacks.
  • To avoid the raccoons from digging into your coop, bury 3-5 feet of hardware cloth around its perimeter. You may also want to run it over any chimneys that are accessible for climbing onto them as well.
  • Install complex latches and locks on the chicken coop doors. This will ensure that not only raccoons, but any other creature with opposable thumbs are unable to get their hands on your chickens!

In a Tree

Raccoons are typically harmless creatures unless they get into your attic. They can cause major damage to the structure of a home and contaminate it with their droppings.

Remove raccoons from a tree with these tips:

  1. What’s worse than a raccoon? A bunch of them! Use live traps to control the population and get rid of these furry invaders.
  2. Install sheet metal or raccoon guards to the trunks of your trees in order to prevent them from climbing.
  3. You can clean up fruit or nuts dropped by the tree to remove food sources for raccoons. This helps keep them away from your property, which will make you feel better and safe!

General Tips

Here are some tips to keep raccoons off your property all year long:

  • Secure trash cans. Raccoons may be cute, but they are also destructive pests that can do a serious amount of damage to your home and property. Secure trash cans with heavy lids that clip in place so raccoons cannot access the contents inside before disposing it properly at designated places such as Recycling Centers or Trash Collection Points.
  • Remove pet and bird food. There are some strict rules about what you should keep outside for your pets. One of those rules is that they will not eat pet food or bird food unless it’s inside with them!
  • Use fences to protect high-interest areas. The clever and resourceful raccoon is capable of finding food in compost piles, gardens, fish ponds — it can even crack open a jar. To keep these creatures out of your yard or garden without harming them, install an electric fence around the perimeter with two wires: one 6 inches above ground level and another 12 inches high up to discourage foraging without risk because they won’t be able to touch either wire on their climb over!
  • Never feed raccoons. Raccoons are a pest that most people don’t want living near them, and even if they do seem cute at times it’s better to stay away. They can be deceiving beggars who will find any opportunity for food in your home or yard so make sure you take the proper precautions before providing anything of value!

How do Pest Management Experts Get Rid of Raccoons?

Sometimes, getting rid of raccoons is a job only a wildlife control professional can do. Here’s how our team can help:

  • Initial Assessment. Our pest control technicians are experts in solving any pesky raccoon problems you may have. We’ll inspect your property to determine how they’re getting in and what damage they’ve caused, then pinpoint their entry spaces so we can make a plan for them to get rid of the problem once and for all!
  • Trapping. While most pest control companies don’t take the humane approach, we do. To remove raccoons without hurting or killing them, we set live traps to catch these pests. We monitor and check on these cages daily before relocating any captured raccoon!
  • Exclusion Methods. Exclusion Methods. Finally, we’ll prevent future raccoon infestations by installing exclusionary barriers to keep them from coming back and damaging your property. Our commercial-grade products hold up against time while also being safe for the environment around them!
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