Raccoons are not really wild animals. They are urban animals. Raccoons are FAR more common in
cities and suburbs than they are in undeveloped natural areas. Just like rats. Thus, raccoon-human encounters are very common. Raccoons are smart,
curious, and agile, so in short, there's really no way to simply keep them away.
NEED LOCAL HELP? We have wildlife removal professionals servicing 95% of the USA. Click here to hire a local raccoon removal expert in your home town. Updated 2016. But read the below advice first!
How to Keep Raccoons Out of Your Yard: Impossible. Only a really good fence will do the trick, and I doubt you're going to install a prison-grade fence just to keep raccoons out. You can also try a motion sensitive water sprayer (but that doesn't really work very well), or trapping and relocation. What you want to do is minimize the damage the raccoons are causing in the yard. Is it your garbage they are after? Bird feeders and bird seed? A pond with fish? A deck or shed they can live under? The key is to eliminate the things that attract the raccoon. I'll discuss these below.
Oh, and there is absolutely no such thing as a raccoon repellent product that works. Those high-pitch ultrasonic noise making machines are totally bogus - the FTC issued a warning against them - and even if you can't hear them, many people can, so you'll be bothering a lot of neighbors - an old couple down the street from my house set one of those stupid machines, and I could hear it 6 houses away. So could the neighbors, and they got the old couple to remove it - it wasn't keeping the raccoons away anyway. No powder or spray will keep a raccoon away, it's not that easy.
Well, that's not entirely true. Read more about the only known effective repellent, that will, in some cases, keep away raccoons: raccoon eviction fluid - I don't sell it or anything, but I do recommend it in certain cases.
How to Keep Raccoons Out of Your Garden: This is a tough one, because raccoons are so intelligent, strong, and crafty. Only a real, heavy duty fence will do the trick. You can also try a motion sensitive water sprayer, or trapping and relocation to keep raccoons away for good.
How to Keep Raccoons Out of Your Garbage Cans: You can try to make your garbage cans raccoon proof by strapping the lids down with bungee cords, or keeping them in the garage until garbage night. Or you can get locks, heavy covers, etc which will prevent raccoons from getting into the garbage for food.
How to Keep Raccoons Out of Your Pond: A little decorative pond with fish is irresistible to a raccoon! Install some large gauge steel mesh and put it over or in the pond, for the fish to hide in and under. Some people even use cinderblocks. Or you can try trapping and removal. In general, you don't want to feed raccoons anything, from pet fish to pet food, if you want to keep them away from your property.
How to Keep Raccoons Out of Your Pool: Coons like to swim, bathe, and poop in swimming pools. You can try trapping and removal. Or you can get planks of wood and pound a bunch of nails into the bottom of the wood so they stick through the other side, and place those boards upside down on the pool steps, so that there's a bunch of spikes sticking up, and the raccoons might not want to walk on those steps.
But what if you have a raccoon somewhere in or on your home? Well, that's a situation that can definitely be taken care of with 100% results. I have written excellent guides covering several areas. Click any of the below articles:
How to keep raccoons out of your basement.
How to keep raccoons out of your crawl space.
How to keep raccoons out of your walls.
How to keep raccoons out of your ceiling.
How to keep raccoons out of your attic.
How to keep raccoons outside of your house.
How to keep raccoons off of your roof
These are just some of my raccoon prevention tips to keep away raccoons. You can email me if you have more questions. Or you can hire a pro in your area, from my list of raccoon experts.
Click below photos for more examples of trap sets by professionals:
Can you evict raccoons with tear gas - We won’t ask how or why you’ve obtained tear gas, but if you’re planning to use it on raccoons you must be rather frustrated. The problem with using tear gas or any other inhalant (smoke bombs) is not that raccoons are immune to it, but rather the nature of your problem will most likely continue after the gas dissipates. Here’s why: A raccoon in a human house is usually a female. She’s ventured out of the woods because she’s pregnant and needs a place to hide her babies from aggressive males. That being said, if you set off a bottle of tear gas inside the home somewhere, you might very well chase the adult raccoon out. You’re probably thinking once she’s gone, you’ll climb up onto the roof and seal off her entry point. The problem here is that there are almost always baby raccoons inside. If they’re really little, the tear gas won’t chase them out; it will just burn their eyes and lungs and cause undue suffering. Not only will you now have abandoned babies in your home, the mother will return for them. If you’ve sealed over her doorway, she’ll find a new area to rip open.
Can you keep away raccoons on the roof - You should never be surprised to see raccoons on the roof. These critters are fantastic climbers and don’t need a tree or a pole to make their way on top of your house. If you live near the woods, there probably won’t be much success at keeping raccoons away from your buildings. The best thing you can do is patrol your rooftops often and make sure no debris or damage exists that might encourage a raccoon to try to get inside. It doesn’t take much of a hole to entice a critter to start ripping into the building materials around an eave or a vent. No matter how small, close all openings and make sure they are patched with a resistant material. Foam filler won’t do the trick against a raccoon. Another reason a raccoon might be on top of your house is because of the presence of food. You might not think about it, but if you have an oak tree, a fruit tree, or moss-laden shingles, there might be ample food stuff up there for a hungry creature. Keep your roof clean as well as repaired and your incidence of raccoon sighting will go down.
Will human hair keep raccoons away - Once of the great myths surrounding wildlife pest control is that animals are afraid of humans. ‘It’s more scared of you than you are of it’ is a common phrase uttered by parents around the globe. That’s not true. In fact, animals are rather indifferent to humans. They don’t trust us, but that doesn’t mean they are afraid of us. If we regularly went out, stalked and killed mice, rats, armadillos, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, and snakes, these animals would have an instinctual fear of us and probably wouldn’t want to live in our homes. Since we’d rather have a bag of chips than a raw mouse, some pest animals won’t hesitate to sneak into our lives. For this reason, the trick of leaving human hair clippings around your home and garden to keep raccoons away is a complete waste of time. Not only does hair begin to break down quickly as most organic material does, there is nothing about it that is threatening in any way to a raccoon. You’d have better luck spraying your own urine around the area—thought that would be pointless, though entertaining, to try.
Actual Situation: David - I live in Prince William in Montclair and we have a raccoon hitting our garbage cans on a frequent basis. I’ve seen him and he is pretty big. Set out a humane trap before reading your article and he tripped it yesterday. It’s a 30 inch size and I suspected it might be too small – I was right. He got in, ate the bait (tuna fish), and backed out with the door closing behind him. Then he ate some more out of the trash can. Need to know what your prices are for trapping/removal. Thanks, Dan
My response: Dan - I do think hiring a pro would be a good idea in this case. Trapping is difficult for amateurs. Please look at my nationwide directory, and you'll find a company in your area that I recommend. You can also try to make your garbage cans raccoon proof by strapping the lids down with bungee cords, or keeping them in the garage until garbage night.
Actual Situation: Hello David, I hope you can help me, I'm at my wits end. I have an animal literally tearing up my back yard. I am 99.9% sure it's a raccoon. I have seen raccoon tracks on my back patio; I am familiar with what their tracks look like. Every so often I will see a raccoon in the back of my home. (I live in Florida just outside of Daytona Beach. I am worried they will get in my chicken coop. I live next to a canal, and have woods beyond my property line in the back.)
I've tried mothballs, but as I just read in your article these don't work unless it's in an attic. I learned that the hard way after spreading 6 boxes all over the back yard and still having my yard dug up. I have spread a mixture that I bought at my local Lowe's that is supposed to kill bugs in the dirt. I know the coons are digging for bugs to eat. That does not stop them from digging. I also bought another mixture I spread that is supposed to repel a long list of animals including raccoons for up to 2 months. The second night after spreading it I had more new holes dug in my lawn. It didn't work.
I recently bought a Havahart trap. The first night I put cabbage leaves in it (of course, always beyond the trap trigger). The next morning the cabbage leaves were still in there, the trap door was down, but no animal inside. The next night I put a piece of Parmesan cheese in the trap. Next morning no cheese, and the trap door was not even down. Last night I put another piece of Parmesan cheese in the center of the area beyond the trap trigger with an X cut partway down into the cheese. I tied the cheese to the cage floor sinking the string into the X to secure it, and tied it with a square knot. Next morning, no cheese, string uncut, trap door down, no coon. Like I said before, I'm at my wits end. Can you offer any help, please? Thank you. Sincerely, Colette
My response: Trapping is hard if you don't have a lot of experience. It's no so simple as just setting a Havahart trap. You can try raccoon problem prevention, but you might want to call someone in your area. The number I have on file for Daytona Beach is 386-310-3776.
Wildlife Education - Raccoon Problem Prevention Information