Want to Know How to Keep Raccoons Away? We’ll Show You!
Trash Panda. Rubbish Burglar. Treasure Cat. Or even, That Mean Animal That Keeps Digging Through My Trash.
Whatever you want to call them, raccoons are a menace. Although they can be cute, they sure aren’t good house guests.
These little critters can cause major damage to your home. They’re known to rip apart air ducts, chew on wires, destroy pipes, and so much more. On top of this, they also pose serious health risks to humans and pets. Along with foxes, skunks, and bats, they’re classified as a rabies vector species, meaning they’re transmitters of the disease. Roundworm, Leptospirosis, and Distemper are some of the other diseases raccoons can easily spread to us and our pets.
To keep raccoons away from you, your pets, and your property, read our tips to keep everyone protected from these pesky invaders!
Signs You Have Raccoons
If you want to keep raccoons away from your property, there are some things you need to know first, starting with the signs a raccoon is also calling your home, home.
Raccoons are extremely vocal. They can grunt, scream, hiss, purr, and bark when they’re feeding or feel threatened. Young raccoons will make a unique chirping noise, similar to a bird. In general, shuffling noises coming from somewhere other than the livable spaces of your home — like your attic — can also be a sign that a raccoon (or some other type of animal) is living in your home.
The physical evidence of raccoons may be as simple as spotting a perfectly placed paw print or going outside to realize your trash can has been tipped over with its contents strewn about. Other physical signs of raccoons include small holes in your lawn from digging for bugs, or damage to the fruits and vegetables in your garden. Either way, these little clues are signs raccoons are living somewhere nearby. And if they’re nearby, take caution. It may not be too long before they sneak their way into your home!
Related: 6 Home Entry Points For Pests
How to Keep Raccoons Away
1. Don’t feed them
Ever heard the saying “never feed a stray cat”? The same can be said for raccoons. Viral videos make it look fun, but feeding raccoons will only attract more. Unfortunately, they will keep coming back since they've been rewarded with food in the past. If you happen to see a malnourished or injured raccoon, don’t encourage them to stay by feeding them. Instead, call a wildlife removal expert to safely relocate the wild animal and get it the help it needs.
2. Trim tree branches
Tree branches close to your roof are essentially a bridge to your home, inviting these critters to come in. It’s recommended to cut any overhanging branches or remove any other nearby structures that raccoons can climb on to get access to your home. Additionally, if you have nut or fruit trees, don’t let them ripen and fall to the ground. Keep the area food-free by routinely picking up fallen fruit and nuts so they’re not seen as a regular food source.
3. Close off all entry points
This may take some work and planning on your part, but make sure every possible entry point is sealed. Do a full interior and exterior survey of your home to check for any possible openings. Worn roof shingles and exterior holes should be repaired as soon as possible. Even consider closing chimney openings with a cap to prevent raccoons from nesting inside. Don’t forget to keep windows and dog doors locked too, especially at night when raccoons are most active! This also goes for outdoor structures like sheds, garages, and dog houses.
4. Secure trash and pet food
It’s no secret that raccoons love to get into your trash. To avoid problems, be sure to fasten the lid securely on the bin and store outdoor trash cans as far away from your home as possible. Raccoons also love eating animal foods like dog kibble and birdseed, so make sure to keep those containers closed and properly stored as well.
5. Remove bird feeders
Not only do you need to properly store birdseed, but also be mindful of the actual bird feeders. Raccoons are known for destroying bird feeders while trying to get to the food inside, so you may need to purchase a special bird feeder to keep raccoons away. You can also use a steel baffle to prevent them from climbing up the feeder’s stand. Or, the simplest solution of all, bring your bird feeder inside each night so it doesn’t get ruined!
6. Guard your garden
Don’t let raccoons use your garden as their personal buffet. Allowing them to eat away at your plants will only encourage them to come back and look for more. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep raccoons away from your garden that won’t cause them any harm. Because they’re very sensitive to smell, you can use a mixture of freshly ground garlic and cayenne pepper to deter them! Simply put the paste on your plants and around the garden’s border.
7. Scare them off
Don’t feel bad about having to scare raccoons off your property. In the long run, you’re doing them a favor by keeping these wild animals fearful of urban areas. Try using scare tactics like automatic lights or motion detector sprinklers to catch them off guard when they come onto your property. You can also loudly play talk radio or keep the TV on when you’re not home since they tend to be afraid of human voices.
What Not To Do When Getting Rid of Raccoons
1. Don’t remove them without professional help
If you can’t easily scare them off, or there are babies involved, hire a professional to help. A wildlife specialist can come to your home to remove wildlife, like raccoons, for you. These experts are trained in how to safely remove raccoons and know the animal’s hiding place and their behavior when they feel threatened.
Related: DIY Home Wildlife Removal: Dead or Alive
2. Don’t let your pets chase them
While it’s tempting to just let the dogs chase the raccoons, this is dangerous for both your pet and the pest! If the raccoon decides to fight back, you’re exposing your pet to a fairly high chance of contracting rabies or some other type of disease. Unfortunately, rabies is not curable in dogs. By law, pets with rabies are required to be put down, so it’s not worth risking your pet’s life just to keep raccoons away from your home.
3. Don’t smoke them out of the chimney
The bad news is, having raccoons in your chimney makes it very difficult to get rid of them. If they’re unwilling to climb out of the chimney because they’re injured or don’t want to leave behind their young, don’t opt for smoking them out. You may accidentally kill any raccoons that aren’t mature or healthy enough to escape, leaving you with an even bigger problem on your hands. Instead, call a professional to assess the situation and let them figure out the best way to handle the situation.
The Killingsworth Way of Dealing With Raccoons
At the end of the day, raccoons, just like all other wildlife, are searching for shelter and food. Since our homes commonly offer both, it’s not a surprise that wildlife try to make their way inside! By removing sources of food, securing your trash, and eliminating points of entry, you can safeguard your home against raccoon invaders.
However, DIY wildlife prevention isn’t always a solution. In the event you come across a stubborn raccoon in your crawl space, bats in the chimney, or squirrels in the attic, give your friends at Killingsworth a call! Here at Killingsworth, we practice a unique approach to pest and wildlife control that not only ensures the safety of you and your home but also the wildlife that may have made your home theirs, too.
Don't wait! Schedule a wildlife control service with us today.