How To Get Rid Of Raccoons 

Raccoons are common in many American neighborhoods, and people all over the United States seem to have mixed feelings about these masked bandits. While it’s true that raccoons are intelligent, curious, and maybe even adorable, they can also be extremely problematic.

Raccoons can cause homeowners thousands of dollars in structural damage. They can wreak havoc on our gardens, have been known to raid chicken coops, empty out backyard fish ponds, tip and rummage through trash cans, and even create dens in our roofs and attics.

Worse, raccoons can carry serious diseases and they bring other pests with them onto your property like fleas and ticks.

So, while it can be fun to catch a glimpse of a cute little raccoon running across the road on your way home from work, it’s not as cute dealing with the aftermath of a raccoon problem on your property.

Do you know how to get rid of raccoons when they become a nuisance? In today’s article, we are going to discuss the best methods of how to get rid of raccoons, go over some products we know to work, and learn how you can prevent raccoons from becoming a problem in the future.

Let’s get started.

How To Get Rid Of Raccoons – Identifying A Raccoon Problem

Pic 1 a racoon eating garbage under a car
Racoons can be problematic and destructive, so it’s important to know the signs. 

Raccoons are common all across North America and can be found in most states. That said, simply seeing a raccoon near or on your property does not necessarily mean you have a raccoon problem. In fact, it’s quite normal to see raccoons out and about late at night when they are most active and especially during spring, summer, and fall.

If you do see a raccoon, it is best to stay away. Most raccoons will go about their business and leave you alone as well. However, some raccoons can cause serious problems and may even be aggressive if provoked.

These creatures are also highly curious and intelligent. They also have wonderful dexterity and expert climbing skills. Unfortunately, this can be a recipe for disaster.

You may have a raccoon problem if you have:

  • Garbage cans that are repeatedly knocked over in the night
  • Trash that has clearly been rummaged through or scattered
  • Tipped or raided bird feeders
  • Looted gardens and damaged plants or crops
  • Structural damage like scratch marks, torn shingles, uncapped chimneys, or dig outs in crawl spaces.
  • Strange noises in your walls, attic, roof, crawlspace, or cellar.
  • Raccoon droppings and raccoon tracks (tracks resemble a child’s handprint)

What Has Attracted A Racoon To Your Property?

Pic 2 racoons eating watermelon
Raccoons are attracted by food and shelter. 

Do you have a raccoon problem? If you do, you may be wondering why raccoons chose your property in the first place. This is an important question to ask yourself, as the answer will help you determine not only how to get rid of raccoons, but how to keep them from coming back again.

Raccoons are opportunistic omnivores and will eat almost anything. This is what makes them so problematic. Their curiosity also leads them to be more brazen than some other pests, meaning they will be less inclined to fear going near homes and campers to raid the garbage for a meal.

For the most part, raccoons prefer wooded areas and thrive where food and vegetation are abundant and available. However, raccoons will venture down into neighborhoods if they feel they can get easier meals and find safer homes there.

Raccoons, being the opportunistic animals they are, are most attracted to food sources like garbage, pet food, bird seed, fish ponds, chicken coops, and the likes. They are also always on the lookout for a safe place to make a den. Attics and crawl spaces make perfect dens for nesting raccoons, who generally begin mating in late winter and have their kits around April and May.

If you leave your garbage out the night before trash day, or if you leave pet food outside for dogs and cats, invite birds to visit with bird feeders, have a vegetable garden, or allow easy access to your home through unsealed spaces or open entry and exit points, you may be exactly the type of property a raccoon is looking for.

How To Get Rid Of Raccoons – Best Treatment Methods

Pic 3 two raccoons in a tree
There are a number of humane ways to get rid of raccoons. 

Wondering how to get rid of raccoons? The three most common methods are listed below.

  • Trapping

Lots of people look into trapping when considering how to get rid of raccoons. However, this is not an ideal method as trapping and relocating raccoons can be dangerous and end up in death for the raccoon you were trying to humanely handle anyway.

That said, sometimes trapping is necessary, especially if you’re dealing with a raccoon family who has decided to make their den in your home. In this case, we highly recommend you contact a professional to help you trap and relocate raccoons so it is done safely for both you and the raccoons in question.

  • Scare Tactics

Scare tactics tend to work well at first when dealing with how to get rid of raccoons who have invaded your property. In fact, many people find that using predator decoys, scarecrows, noise repellents, and even water sprays do a great job of keeping racoons at bay initially.

However, raccoons are intelligent and learn quickly. If you have something they want bad enough, like an especially good smelling garbage can or lots of tasty veggies growing in your garden, they will try repeatedly to problem solve and find their way past whatever scare tactic you have set up.

Eventually, once a raccoon learns that no real harm will come to him from the decoy, scarecrow, water, or noise machine, he will ignore it and continue to go for his goal. For this reason, we recommend using scare tactics along with raccoon repellents when looking at how to get rid of raccoons effectively.

  • Repellents 

Want to know how to get rid of raccoons most effectively? Most experts agree that using repellents and scare tactics together works best. Repellents like cayenne pepper spray, ammonia, and store bought products like Critter Ridder work well to help deter raccoons by making your property less attractive to them when it comes to scent.

Other repellent methods may include using fencing products to help protect gardens and chicken coups.

Of course, the right method for how to get rid of raccoons for you will depend on your situation and the severity of your raccoon problem. If you must take the route of trapping and have decided to go about it yourself, we have a few tips below.

How To Get Rid Of Raccoons Using Traps

Pic 4 a raccoon in a trap
Live traps may be needed if you have a family of raccoons nesting on your property.

Keep in mind that it may be illegal in your region to trap and relocate raccoons. Make sure you do plenty of research before attempting to do so and call a professional if necessary. Raccoons can be dangerous and carry a number of diseases, so trapping should only be used as a last resort and should be done with extreme caution.

We should also note that relocating raccoons can often lead to their death anyway, as they are being relocated to other raccoon territory, which can lead to starvation or fights.

The best way to go about trapping a raccoon when looking at how to get rid of raccoons using traps is to do so under the guidance of a professional who can tell you where to best relocate the problematic raccoons safely.

Now, let’s take a look at how to get rid of raccoons using some of the most popular racoon traps.

Most Popular Raccoon Traps

Pic 5 a close up of a raccoon in a cage
Raccoon traps are easy and effective to use when needed.

As we mentioned briefly above, raccoons carry a number of diseases and can be dangerous, especially when frightened and trapped. If you are working on how to get rid of raccoons using a trap, do so with caution.

Make sure you wear protective gear and use a trap that is specifically designed to trap raccoons. And of course, never attempt to touch or pet a wild raccoon.

OxGord Live Animal Trap

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One of the most popular live traps for those looking at how to get rid of raccoons with the catch and release method is this live animal trap by OxGord. It is specifically designed for animals like raccoons and uses strong, rust-resistant wire to help keep the raccoon from escaping.

There is also a handle on top with a protective metal covering so you can safely and easily pick up the trap and relocate it. The trap comes pre assembled so you simply just bait and set it.

HomGarden Live Animal Trap

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Another popular catch and release trap for how to get rid of raccoons is made by HomGarden. The trap is similar to most of the traps experts recommend, using high-quality wire mesh to keep raccoons inside safely.

Like the other trap on this list, there is a handle at the top with a protective metal lining to help you safely relocate the cage. The trap is spring loaded and is specifically designed for larger animals like raccoons, weasels, groundhogs, and possums.

How To Get Rid Of Raccoons Using Home Remedies

Pic 6 cayenne peppers
Raccoons are naturally deterred by cayenne peppers. 

Now, we know that in some states it is illegal to trap and relocate raccoons without a professional’s help. Luckily, there are plenty of home remedies you can use to help deter raccoons from causing you grief.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular home remedies for how to get rid of raccoons.

  • Cayenne Pepper Spray 
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 bottle of hot sauce

Directions: Mix cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and water in a spray bottle and spray the mixture around your garden, garbage cans, fruit trees, etc. Repeat when necessary and after rain or snow.

  • Mothballs

Directions: You can purchase mothballs at most home improvement stores. Mothballs deter raccoons from entering attic spaces, cellars, wall gaps, crawl spaces, and basements. However, mothballs are a chemical deterrent that can be dangerous to people and pets and should be used with caution.

  • Ammonia 

Directions: You can use ammonia to deter and remove raccoons by pouring one cup into trash cans on trash night, spraying it around dens on your property, or leaving ammonia-soaked rags near areas you have noticed raccoon activity.

  • Epsom Salt

Directions: The scent of Epsom Salt deters raccoons, and is a safe method to use around your property and even in your garden. Sprinkle Epsom Salt in your garbage cans, around your vegetable garden, around your fish ponds, and other places you have noticed raccoon activity.

  • Fencing, Pad Locks, And Other Security Measures

Directions: Raccoons are curious, smart, and strong. They can open chicken coops, scoop your fish right out of your backyard pond, pry trash can lids off, and more. Sometimes, working on how to get rid of raccoons is a process and you must also work on how to keep them from getting into things in the first place.

Along with the above raccoon deterrents, you should also take preventative measures like securing chicken coops with padlocks, protecting your gardens and ponds using raccoon-proof fencing, and securing your trash can lids with raccoon-proof locks.

  • Scarecrows And Sound Deterrents

Directions: Scarecrows and scare tactics like sounds and alarms work for a while, but raccoons are very intelligent and will eventually learn that there is no real threat to the alarms or scarecrow. Once they figure it out, they’ll be back.

That said, this works initially and can be a good way to get rid of raccoons while you try and find a better, more permanent solution.

This video discusses some other easy ways you can deter raccoons using home remedies. 

How To Get Rid Of Racoons Using Repellents

Pic 7 two raccoons in a tree
Raccoons are sensitive to certain smells and sounds and tend to stay away from strong odors like predator urine, garlic, and castor oil. 

Looking for how to get rid of raccoons using repellents? Many repellents work well to help repel raccoons and keep them from becoming too interested in your home, garden, and yard.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular raccoon repellents and other products you can use to safely get rid of raccoons.

Predator Pee Wolf Urine

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It may sound gross, but you can effectively deter racoons from causing damage to your property using predator urine. When looking at how to get rid of raccoons safely and naturally, this is perhaps one of the easiest methods.

This product offers you 100% wolf urine and leads raccoons to believe that a predator is nearby, therefore deterring them. Simply spray or soak any area you have noticed raccoon activity and repeat and reapply as necessary.

Flambeau Predator Coyote Decoy

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Another popular method some people like to use when looking at how to get rid of raccoons are decoys. Coyote decoys work well, especially if you move them around your yard or use them along with a predator urine repellent.

This decoy repellent is pretty effective as it includes a scent pad to help frighten raccoons from far away. It’s ears are poseable and it’s tail even moves in the wind.

Bonide Animal Repellent

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One of the biggest problems you may face when working on how to get rid of raccoons is finding a product that is both people and pet safe. That’s why we like Bonide Animal Repellent Granules.

The granules are not only people and pet safe but they are also biodegradable. Simply sprinkle this repellent around your property line, around garbage cans, and throughout your garden to help repel raccoons and other pesky animals like skunks, mice, rats, and more.

Natural Armor Animal Repellent Spray

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Wondering how to get rid of raccoons using a natural repellent? We like this all natural raccoon deterrent spray because it uses safe and natural ingredients like peppermint to help repel and deter pests like raccoons.

Best of all, it’s safe to use around children and pets and it’s even safe for the environment. You can use this spray both indoors and out, which means you can spray it around your crawlspace, in your basement, chimney, attic, and cellar as well as throughout your garden, around your garbage cans on trash night, and even in pool houses, sheds and barns.

Critter Ridder Animal Repellent

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Another animal repellent we found when looking up how to get rid of raccoons is a product called Critter Ridder.

This spray uses oil of black pepper to help repel raccoons and other pests like skunks and squirrels from causing destruction on your property. However, while this spray is effective, it can also irritate dogs and cats.

We do not recommend this product for those with pets in the home.

Motion Activated Water Blaster Animal Repellent

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If you want to get really gadgety when looking into how to get rid of raccoons, you can try the motion activated water blaster by Hoont Cobra. This is a solar powered raccoon detection system that uses motion sensors to shoot water at predators, thus scaring them off. It’s a good raccoon repellent to use around gardens, near trash bins, or near chicken coops or fish ponds.

However, it will blast you too if you get in its way. Luckily, it’s completely safe for both people and pets as it uses only water and no poisons or chemical repellents.

Rodent Sheriff Pest Control

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When working on how to get rid of raccoons, one of the best methods is using a spray that uses peppermint.

One of the most popular raccoon repellent sprays we like is Rodent Sheriff Pest Control spray. It uses all natural peppermint oil and is safe to use with children and pets. It also helps to repel rodents like mice and rats. This product even helps deter roaches!

You can use it in your garage, attic, basement, kitchen, trash cans, gardens, and more.

Pure Coyote Urine

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Last on our list of best repellents for how to get rid of raccoons is pure coyote urine. It is a safe and effective way to deter raccoons, chipmunks, rabbits, deer, and squirrels, and it also attracts coyotes, further keeping smaller pests away.

That said, because this product does attract coyotes to your property, this may not be the best racoon repellent method to use for those with fish ponds, chicken coops, or outside pets.

Understanding Raccoons – Fast Facts You Should Know

Pic 8 a closeup of a racoon
Raccoons are generally nocturnal and mostly come out at night.. 

Understanding raccoons may help you on your mission to try and find out how to get rid of raccoons. Let’s take a look at some fast facts about these curious little creatures.

  • Raccoons use over 200 different sounds to communicate with one another and have up to 15 different calls to alert other raccoons to certain situations.
  • Raccoons have human-like paws that provide them with the dexterity to open doors, bottes, jars, locks, and latches. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to have a padlock on that chicken coop!
  • Raccoons are territorial, but they do live in little communities known as nurseries. These nurseries consist of around four to five raccoons at a time.
  • Once they find a safe den, raccoons tend to stay put and take long snoozes during the winter. In fact, raccoons can sleep for up to a month!
  • A female raccoon (also known as a sow) can have up to six kits (baby raccoons) in one litter.
  • Raccoons only live for about three years in the wild, but they can live as long as 20 years in captivity.

Are Raccoons Dangerous To People And Pets?

Pic 9 a raccoon in garbage
For the most part, raccoons keep to themselves, but they can be a danger to humans and pets if provoked.

Yes, raccoons may be cute and it’s fun learning about how smart and clever they are. However, we shouldn’t let that distract us from the real dangers they can pose to people and pets.

Unfortunately, raccoons have been known to carry very serious and even deadly diseases, and they can be quite aggressive if provoked.

The most common diseases raccoons carry include:

  • Rabies
  • Salmonella
  • Leptospirosis
  • Roundworm

Raccoons can also carry parasites like fleas and ticks in their fur, which can in turn infest your yard, garden, and pets if they are unprotected. Both fleas and ticks can also be vectors of disease, so it’s important to keep this in mind when working on how to get rid of raccoons.

When Should I Call A Professional?

Pic 10 a raccon den under a house
Raccoons can make their dens anywhere, even in your home. 

As we mentioned above, it may be illegal in some states or regions to trap and relocate raccoons. It can also be dangerous, especially considering the number of serious diseases raccoons are known to carry.

If you have a raccoon problem inside of your home, or have a family of raccoons who have decided to make a den in or around your property, you may be in a position where trapping and relocating raccoons is necessary.

When looking at how to get rid of raccoons using traps, we do recommend you first look into using a professional. Doing so may help you not only get rid of the raccoons safely, but effectively.

In general, raccoon removal by professionals can cost around $200 to $400. Once the raccoons are removed, we suggest following the below steps to prevent any raccoon problems in the future.

Expert Tips On Keeping Racoons Away For Good

Pic 11 three raccoons on a ridge
You can help keep raccoons at bay by ensuring your garbage cans are locked and using methods and home remedies to deter them. 

Once you have figured out how to get rid of raccoons, you’ll want to make sure they don’t come back.

Along with using repellents and decoys to help keep raccoons away from your property, you should also follow the below steps to ensure raccoons won’t be attracted to your home.

  • Bring Pet Food Inside
  • Secure Trash Can Lids
  • Purchase Raccoon-Proof Bird Feeders
  • Clean Up Fallen Fruits From Fruit Trees
  • Fence in Gardens and Fish Ponds
  • Seal Off Your Chimney And Other Entryways To Your Home
  • Keep Your Yard Clean And Tidy
  • Never Feed Raccoons

We hope you have a better idea of how to get rid of raccoons safely and effectively. Have you had a raccoon problem in the past? Leave us your thoughts about raccoons in the comment section below.

How to get rid of raccoons