Raccoons are truly a success story in America. Their adaptability to urban environments, strength and climbing ability make them a major source of property damage. With the advent of many people learning how to box trap raccoons, they are becoming trap wise to cages thus more difficult to control. Below, I have listed a number of techniques and strategies you may want to use to address your damage problem. Of course, when all else fails, I suggest getting my book Wildlife Removal Handbook: Completely revised and expanded
You know you have raccoons in your chimney when you are smelling somthing eminating from your chimney, the smell could be fecal, urine, just general raccoon smell etc. Another sign is the sound of chirping. This sound means you have young. The last sign is smudge marks on the side of your building where the raccoon climbed up the side.
If you have any of these signs, you have just found out why I recommend people to cap their chimneys which I strongly recommend you do after the raccoons are gone. Depending on when they were born, they may move out in July. If you want to hurry the process, read my page on hints on harassment in the animal info section. If you want to learn how to get rid of chimney raccoons like a pro. Get a copy of my book. Otherwise, you may need to hire a professional. Cost averages around 150-250 dollars.
Raccoons are frequent visitors to trashcans. Why not, given what many American's throw away. Here are some solutions for preventing your trashcan from being raided. They are listed from less effective to more effective.
a. spray 10% bleach solution over the container contents to reduce the smell. (Don't mix with ammonia and avoid using it with metal cans as the bleach will increase the rust factor.
b. bungy cord the lid down. This can work but sometimes the raccoons can damage the cans or tear off the cords.
c. place inside the shed or enclosed building. This is very effective.
d. Use a trash compactor dumpster. I understand from Tim Julien of Indiana that these devices are completely enclosed and work very well at thwarting raccoon entry.
We have only seen the following type product used at one location. This cat door advertises that it only opens when your cat approaches. It uses a magnet on the cat's collar to signal that the door will unlock. The problem is that the plastic construction can't keep out raccoons. They just broke the door open. Hopefully, manufactures will develop a steel door.
You can purchase this "electronic cat door" one by calling Whole Sale Pet USA at 1-8004PET-USA
One of the most difficult things to prevent is raccoons predating on crops. The only effective option, unless your garden is quite small, is to reduce the raccoon population. Preventing raccoons from climbing fruit trees however can be accomplished with electric fencing around the trunk or the installation of porcupine wire. (porcupine wire click porcupine_wire.php) If you install either of these items take care to install them high enough so that small children cannot come into contact with them. Don't bother using fox urine or bleach around the perimeter of your garden. Raccoons may actually be attracted to the urine and bleach is useless. Just think. Why would a raccoon be bothered by the smell of bleach or urine when they can see that luscious corn just waiting for them?
The best way to protect small livestock from raccoons is to make sure that the fencing around the pens are of heavy gauge wire, 1/2 inch weave should work well. Do not use chicken wire as it is too thin. The pen should be completely enclosed over the top of the pen area, as raccoons can climb. Of course, putting an electric line on fence would also be useful in discouraging climbing raccoons.
If you have a small landscaping pond with fish, recognize your fish are potential dinner for the raccoon. The first step in protecting your fish is to provide structure in the pond water for the fish to hide. Placing concrete blocks in the water, deepening the pond will all help. Remember the fish are vulnerable because the pond is small and shallow. Give your fish a place to hide.
A second alternative is to fence off your pond around the sides and the top. A four foot high fence may help reduce the problem but it may not eliminate it as the raccoon can climb the fence. Adding an electric line around the fence will certainly help. But the fact that the fence is around water may be too dangerous. Consult with an electric fence expert to see if this technique would work in your situation.
If you notice that the fish are gone only during the daylight hours and that no plantlife has been disturbed, then you should consider Herons as the possible culprit.
Raccoons and Bird Feeders
Raccoons can get a taste for bird seed and especially suet. To stop raccoons from raiding your feeder try one of the following strategies. First, suspend your feeder between two trees on a wire stretched between them. While this technique won't stop squirrels (it will make it more difficult for squirrels), it will stop raccoons who are unable to wire walk. Use caution here though. Make sure your feeder is high enough off the ground ( I would suggest at least 6 feet) and away from branches that could be used by the raccoon to reach the feeder. You will also need to make sure that the feeder is stable enough to prevent the raccoon from shaking the wire to spill seed on the ground. To prevent squirrels from getting to the feeder, install a baffle on the wire above the feeder.
The second option is to place the feeder on a tall pole (at least 8 feet high) and install porcupine wire around the pole at the seven foot level. The porcupine wire, if installed correctly, will prevent the raccoons from climbing the pole. You need to have the pole tall, so that the sharp wire is out of reach from unsuspecting humans who would otherwise impale themselves on it. To kee squirrels from climbing the pole visit Feed Birds not Squirrels.
I know of no magic cure for raccoons defecating in a particular spot, such as back yards, roofs, and in-ground pools, unless you are talking about physical barriers or physical removal. WARNING: Raccoon feces can be infected with Baylisascaris procyonis. For information on other animal diseases see animaldiseases.php
Defecating on rooftops
- Remove/cut back all tree branches from roof tops.
- Install porcupine wire around the corners of the house to prevent raccoons from climbing.
- Make sure your property is not raccoon friendly. To learn more click Damage Prevention
- Or physically trap/remove the raccoons. For how to information click book.
Defecating in/on ground areas
- Be sure your property is not raccoon friendly. To learn more click Damage Prevention
- Some may want to try electric fencing. Using a timer means the device is only on at night. Make sure to check to see if this is legal in your area.
- Or physically trap/remove the raccoons. For how to information click book.
Non-lethal options would include, dog, fencing, electric fencing, lights may work. But urban raccoons are very street wise it is doubtful that these methods would work at all or for very long.
Raccoons can do a great deal of lawn damage in their search for grubs and worms. Newly laid sod is especially vulnerable to raccoons as they will roll the sod up looking for food. Skunk grub damage consists of specific holes dug for grubs. Raccoons just tend to shred the soil. (Crows damage can appear similar to raccoons).
Here is how one person thought regarding one repellent (a mixture of fox and coyote urine). She needed to protect a fish pond. Here is what she said.
"Just thought I would tell you that I got these plastic containers filled with cotton and small holes at the top for the odor to escape. Filled 7 with a mixture of coyote & fox urine (a debate at my local plant store as to which worked better - my compromise). We hung them on our fence and at the entryway to under our house. Did this 5 days ago. Not a single night visitor since. Thought you might be interested. Looks like it works! They say it lasts 30 days."
Here is my reaction to this claim and many others out there. Many of the so called repellents really don't work but the myth that they work is perpetuated by people who said they sprayed this and the raccoon went away. What these advocates forget is that the raccoon may have stopped coming back because he was hit by a car etc. The raccoon may have stopped coming because the food source ran out or that it found a better food source. Sometimes predator urine works on raccoon females because she is afraid for her young. Unfortunately, the public's religious desire to see a chemical work is truely remarkable. I now get tired of debating people and tell them try it. We will still be available to solve the problem after it doesn't work.
There is one product that is effective in evicting female raccoons called Raccoon Eviction fluid. It sells for $10.00 +S &H. It has specific uses and it is NOT 100% effective. E-mail us if you are interested in purchasing.
Anecodotal evidence strongly suggests that these devices do not work on raccoons. In fact one of the problems with ultrasonics lies in the fact that most mammals cannot hear in the ultrasonic range in the first place. The other problem with ultrasonics is that even if the animal could hear the noise, the animal may simply move to a quieter spot in the building. Our advice. Ignore the ultrasonics.
Electric fencing has been used to keep raccoons from shredding grass looking for grubs. I have recently learned of this technique so stay tuned for updates.
If you live in a rather rural area and are suffering from raccoon damage, hunting
can be a possible solution for reducing your raccoon damage problems. Learn
how to hunt raccoons by getting a copy of Raccoon Hunting Basics by
Dr. Tom Rakow (Seen in Full Cry Sportmen's Magazine) Topics include: A Simulated
Hunt ;An Actual Hunt ;Treeing & The Hide
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1. Egg Trap: The egg trap was designed to be a species specific trap. That means it was manufactured to only catch a particular species, in this case raccoon. To learn more about this wonder trap visit Dr. Sue's site http://www.dcn.davis.ca.us/vme/DrSue/raccoon2.html#trap . The trap as shown has been modified with a stake ring, swivel and shock spring to further reduce animal injury and potential for escapes due to pull outs.
2. Box traps:
This is the Dura-Poly Plastic-catch, solid walled, box trap. It is available in white-ONLY. This trap measures 12" x 12" x 32". It has a solid metal galvanized door. This trap will hold the largest raccoon, and would be an excellent skunk, woodchuck, cat trap. Easy to set. Easy removal of the animal. Trap door extends only approximately 3 inches beyond the trap. Order On-Line
We sell raccoon traps please visit our Store for other traps.
3. For trapping instructions purchase our book Wildlife Removal Handbook Rev. ed.
Disclaimer: WDC seeks to provide accurate, effective and responsible information on resolving human/wildlife conflicts. We welcome suggestions, criticisms to help us achieve this goal. The information provided is for informational purposes only and users of the information use it at their own risk. The reader must consult state/federal officials to determine the legality of any technique in the reader's locale. Some techniques are dangerous to the user and to others. WDC encourages readers to obtain appropriate training (see our informational literature at our Store ), and understand that proper animal damage control involves patience, understanding that not every technique/method works for every situation or even 100% of the time. Your use of this information is governed by this understanding. We welcome potential users of the information and photos to simply ask for permission via e-mail. Finally, WDC welcomes e-mail but understand that all e-mails become property of Wildlife Damage Control.