How Do You Remove a Raccoon Stuck in a Dumpster?

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The best way to deal with a raccoon that got stuck in your dumpster is by calling animal control. A wildlife removal professional will know how to handle the extraction without harming the animal, without making a mess, and without giving the animal an opportunity to attack or escape. They will also remove the critter and relocate it somewhere safe.

This being said, if you want to give it a go yourself, here are some tips on how to go about removing a raccoon that’s stuck in the dumpster:

Use a professional snare pole. You can pick the raccoon up with a snare pole and transfer it in a secure container or cage. You can then go and release the animal away from any residential areas. You can do this, but I really don’t recommend it. First of all, chances are that these types of activities may be illegal in your state. And second of all, if you’re not a wildlife rehabber, you won’t know where it’s safe to release the animal, and you’ll just end up doing more harm.

You can also use the snare pole to extract the raccoon and release it in that very spot or nearby. I don’t recommend this either, as the raccoon will probably be frightened and desperate, and it can easily attack (as it can with the first snare pole method). And unless you are an experienced trapper, chances that you will actually hurt the animal during extraction and release are pretty high. Another con with this method: you haven’t solved the problem – the raccoon will come back, as they almost always do once they’ve found a food source.

Put more garbage in the dumpster. Garbage food is the main food source for urban raccoons, so they’re pretty efficient in getting in and out of trash cans. They make use of their really low center of gravity and of their extremely dexterous front paws to knock over garbage cans or to climb into them. They then can make use of the actual trash inside to get out of the garbage can. But dumpsters are too big for raccoons to knock down. The animal will often go in the dumpster attracted just by smells, and won’t have anything to climb on in order to get out. So, if a raccoon got stuck in your dumpster, and the dumpster is rather empty, you can throw in a couple of bags of trash. It will help the raccoon have something to grab onto and make its escape.

Put a long branch in the dumpster. As excellent a climber as it is, if it doesn’t have something that it can grab with its front feet in order to go up, it’s almost impossible for a raccoon to get out of a large dumpster. So, if you want to help a raccoon get out of a dumpster, you can carefully insert a long branch in there. You can then watch from a distance as in a matter of seconds the raccoon will emerge from the pit. You could also use a cardboard or a wooden plank, even a plastic or a metal pole, basically anything the raccoon can grab onto and climb on.

The inserting things in the dumpster tactic is the safest method for homeowners to remove raccoons that are trapped in a dumpster, but again, once the animal is released, it will most likely come back. And even if the coon in question is smart enough to never go into the dumpster again, it will find another feeding station on your property or on your neighbors’ property. Even if only for this reason, I always advise calling a wildlife removal pro to handle the situation.

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