Raccoons might seem like cute and cuddly little critters, but their tendency for mischief is well known. This trait is well-suited to the characteristic black, robber-like, mask on their faces. Whether they are raiding your garbage cans, invading your attic, or making a mess of your garden, raccoons can be a real headache.
As far as animals go, raccoons are crafty little buggers. Their resourcefulness is at its height when it comes to finding food and shelter. Raccoons can also harass outdoor pets, going as far as stealing food right out of your dog’s dish.
We know dealing with raccoons can be frustrating, so we’ve compiled this list to help make the process a little easier.
1. Use a Gun.
If you live in rural area, or somewhere where you can legally fire a gun, then you can use one to deal with your raccoon problem. Use a high-power pellet gun or a low-caliber rifle, like a .22, to deal with any troublesome raccoons.
2. Use a Lethal Trap.
Alternatively, if you aren’t able to shoot these uninvited guests, you can get rider of them a few other ways. Consider purchasing a body-gripping trap or other trap used to kill small mammals quickly and humanely.
While leg-gripping traps and the like are effective at killing small mammals, they can take some time in the process and might put the animal through more pain than you’d like (this can even be illegal in some places).
If you decide to use a lethal trap to deal with your raccoons, carefully follow the directions listed. If you’ve never set a trap before, ask the shop-owner or a local trapper for advice. Making a mistake when setting one of these traps can cause you to break an arm or lose some fingers, so take caution.
3. Raccoon Removal.
If you don’t want to kill any of the invading raccoons, then the only other surefire way to get rid of them is by physical removal. You can purchase non-lethal raccoon traps from many gardening or hardware superstores.
These traps are designed to catch live raccoons which can then be removed from your property. Keep in mind that raccoons will often find their way back to your home, especially if they have a nest or any food lying around. Take care to release any captured raccoons as far away as possible and a in a place where they can set up a new home.
Don’t try to handle any trapped or cornered raccoons – they are wild animals and WILL bite and claw you. To make matters worse, raccoons can carry rabies. If this is the case, a bite or scratch is all that’s needed to become infected with this potentially life-threatening disease.
If you don’t want to trap the raccoon yourself, call a local animal control center or someone who deals with wildlife removal. For a fee, they will come to your house, trap the animals, and remove them from your property.
4. Raccoon Repellants.
If a raccoon keeps getting into your trash or garden but really isn’t bothering you too much, then more drastic solutions may not be necessary. If this is the case, you can try keeping the raccoon away by using a repellant. These repellants come in a number of forms and range in their overall effectiveness. You might need to try a few to find one that works for your situation.
Several over-the-counter products containing fox or coyote urine are also available to scare away raccoons. These products are said to frighten raccoons using the scent of their common predators. Of course, these products wash away in the rain and decrease in effectiveness pretty quickly, so you may need to reapply them quite frequently.
You can also try spraying a diluted solution of ammonia to discourage raccoons. Mothballs, and radio transmitters which emit high frequency noises, are also commonly suggested solutions to raccoon problems, but their effectiveness is fairly limited.
To keep them out of your trash cans, buy a locking lid and use a bungee cord to help secure the top. You can also place a heavy object on the lid like a cinder block to prevent raccoons from getting in. Some people swear by baby powder on the lid, claiming that raccoons don’t like getting it on their hands. Double bagging your trash can also be effective as it helps mask any odors which attract raccoons in the first place.
Raccoons are crafty, and are good at breaking through any defenses you set up. You might have to try a few of these tips before you can get raccoons to stay away for good. The important thing is to keep at it until they go away.
How they mess with you.
The biggest problems from raccoons usually come from when they find their way into your home. In these cases, they usually break-in through the attic or chimney, but have also been known to use dog doors. Once inside your home, raccoons can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage by pulling out insulation, tearing holes in walls or screens, and damaging air ducts.
However, the concerns with raccoon invaders goes beyond property damage. They can also be a serious health concern. When raccoons are living in your attic they have to do their business somewhere. As the urine and feces builds up, it will affect indoor air quality. Even worse, though, raccoon feces can contain some particularly nasty parasites like Baylisascaris. This roundworm can infect people and their pets and can be very serious if the infection spreads to the eyes, organs, or brain.
Know the Law.
According to the law, wild animals (endangered species excepted) that are damaging your property can be legally put-down. Of course, before resorting to this method you should first try to get rid of the raccoons using more peaceful means. However, if you’re at wits-end and are out of ideas, then this can be an effective solution to your problem.
Call your local wildlife authority or do some research before taking this step to ensure that you’re in the right. The last thing you want to do is add a monetary fine or criminal charge to this already difficult experience.
You’ve already taken a big step in researching possible solutions, now it’s time to put some of these in practice and see where they lead. Good luck.