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How to Get Rid of Raccoons: Effective Methods for Raccoon Removal

by | Dec 1, 2023 | How To

Raccoons can be a nuisance when they invade your property. There are several effective methods for raccoon removal and control. In this guide, we will explore the best techniques to get rid of raccoons and prevent future infestations.

Key Takeaways:

  • Identify signs of raccoon infestations such as overturned trash cans, droppings, and property damage.
  • Consider using humane raccoon removal methods like live traps, one-way doors, and repellents.
  • Professional raccoon removal services may be necessary for severe infestations or if you are uncomfortable handling the removal yourself.
  • Raccoon-proof your property by securing trash cans, eliminating food sources, sealing entry points, and keeping your property well-lit.
  • Take precautions when handling raccoons, as they may carry diseases such as rabies. Contact animal control for aggressive, injured, or sick raccoons.

Identifying Raccoon Infestations: Signs and Damage

Before you can effectively remove raccoons from your property, it is important to identify if you have an infestation. Look for signs such as overturned trash cans, droppings, and damage to your property. Raccoons are known for tearing up gardens and lawns in search of food. Identifying these signs will help you determine the extent of the problem and choose the appropriate removal method.

To help you recognize signs of raccoon infestations, here are some key indicators to look out for:

  • Overturned trash cans: Raccoons are notorious for rummaging through garbage in search of food. If you frequently find your trash cans knocked over or torn apart, it could be a sign of raccoon activity.
  • Droppings: Raccoon droppings are dark in color, cylindrical in shape, and often contain undigested food particles. They are typically found in commonly used areas or near food sources.
  • Property damage: Raccoons have strong and dexterous paws, which they use to pry open doors, tear up insulation, and damage gardens and lawns. Look for signs of chewed wires, torn shingles, or uprooted plants.
  • Noises: Raccoons are nocturnal creatures and may create noise at night as they scurry around your property. Listen for scuffling sounds in your attic, walls, or crawl spaces.

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to take action to remove the raccoons and prevent further damage. The next section will discuss humane raccoon removal methods that you can try on your own or with the help of professionals.

Signs of Raccoon Infestation

Table: Common Signs of Raccoon Infestations

Signs Description
Overturned trash cans Raccoons rummage through garbage in search of food, leaving a mess behind.
Droppings Raccoon droppings are cylindrical in shape, dark in color, and often contain undigested food particles.
Property damage Raccoons can cause damage to doors, insulation, gardens, and lawns with their strong and dexterous paws.
Noises Raccoons may create noise at night as they move around your property, particularly in attics, walls, or crawl spaces.

Humane Raccoon Removal Methods

If you prefer a humane approach to raccoon removal, there are several DIY methods you can try. These methods prioritize the safety and well-being of both you and the raccoons.

1. Live Traps: One method is to use live traps to capture the raccoons. These traps are designed to contain the raccoon without causing harm. Once trapped, you can safely relocate the raccoon to a more suitable habitat away from your property. However, it’s important to check local regulations before using live traps, as some areas have specific rules regarding the relocation of captured wildlife.

humane raccoon removal

2. One-Way Doors: Another humane method is to install one-way doors at the entry points where raccoons are getting into your property. These doors allow the raccoons to exit but prevent them from re-entering. This approach encourages the raccoons to find alternative shelter without causing harm to them.

3. Repellents: You can also use natural repellents to deter raccoons from your property. Ammonia and predator urine are two common options. Raccoons are typically sensitive to strong smells, so placing soaked rags or cotton balls with these scents near their favored areas can discourage them from returning.

Remember, when using DIY raccoon removal methods, it’s essential to handle them with care and follow safety guidelines. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable dealing with raccoons yourself, it’s always wise to consult a professional for assistance.

Professional Raccoon Removal Services

If you’re dealing with a severe raccoon infestation or simply prefer to leave the removal process to the experts, professional raccoon removal services are available to help. These trained professionals have the necessary knowledge and equipment to safely and effectively remove raccoons from your property.

Professional raccoon removal services offer a range of benefits. Firstly, they can accurately assess the extent of the infestation and identify any potential entry points that may need to be sealed to prevent future raccoon invasions. They also have access to specialized traps and techniques that are proven to be effective in capturing raccoons.

When you hire a professional raccoon removal service, you can have peace of mind knowing that the removal process will be carried out with utmost care and consideration for both your property and the raccoons themselves. These experts are trained to handle raccoons humanely and in compliance with local regulations.

Raccoon Extermination

In extreme cases where raccoons pose a threat to human safety or other wildlife, raccoon extermination may be necessary. Professional raccoon removal services can provide this service, ensuring that the raccoons are dispatched in the most humane and ethical manner possible.

It’s important to note that raccoon extermination should only be considered as a last resort when all other removal methods have been exhausted and the raccoons pose a significant risk. Professional exterminators have the expertise and experience to assess the situation and determine if this extreme measure is warranted.

Pros of Professional Raccoon Removal Services Cons of Professional Raccoon Removal Services
– Safe and effective removal of raccoons – Costlier than DIY methods
– Expert assessment of infestation and prevention measures – Reliance on external service
– Compliance with local regulations – May involve trapping and relocating raccoons
– Humane handling of raccoons – Extermination may be necessary in extreme cases

Raccoon-Proofing Your Property

To prevent raccoons from entering and causing infestations on your property, it is important to implement effective raccoon deterrents and take necessary preventative measures. By making your property less attractive to raccoons, you can significantly reduce the risk of future raccoon problems. Here are some tips and strategies to raccoon-proof your property:

  1. Secure your trash cans: Raccoons are notorious for scavenging through trash in search of food. Use trash cans with tight-fitting lids or consider using bungee cords to secure the lids. It is also a good idea to store trash cans in a secure location until garbage pickup day.
  2. Eliminate potential food sources: Remove any outdoor pet food or bird feeders at night to avoid attracting raccoons. Additionally, consider harvesting fruits and vegetables from your garden promptly to prevent them from becoming a food source for raccoons.
  3. Seal entry points: Inspect your property for any potential entry points that raccoons could use to gain access. Seal off holes, cracks, and gaps in your walls, roof, foundation, and windows. Use materials such as steel mesh or caulk to ensure a secure barrier against raccoons.
  4. Keep your property well-lit: Raccoons are nocturnal animals and prefer dark and secluded areas. Install motion-activated lights or keep outdoor lights on during the night to discourage raccoons from approaching your property.

By incorporating these raccoon prevention measures, you can minimize the chances of raccoons invading your property and causing damage. Remember to be consistent with these practices as raccoons are persistent creatures and may return if they find any available food sources or vulnerabilities in your property’s defenses.

Table: Comparison of Raccoon Deterrents

Deterrent Method Effectiveness Cost Pros Cons
Ammonia or predator urine Low to moderate Low – Easy to use
– Relatively inexpensive
– May need frequent reapplication
– Not always effective against determined raccoons
Motion-activated sprinklers Moderate to high Moderate – Startles and scares raccoons away
– Can cover a large area of the property
– Requires access to water source
– May startle other animals or humans
Cayenne pepper or hot sauce Low Low – Easily accessible
– Safe for plants and environment
– Needs frequent reapplication
– May not deter determined raccoons

It is important to note that the effectiveness of raccoon deterrents may vary depending on the specific situation and the behavior of the raccoons in your area. Experimenting with different methods and combining multiple deterrents can improve your chances of success in raccoon prevention.

DIY Raccoon Repellents

If you prefer to take a DIY approach to raccoon prevention, there are various repellents you can try. Some popular homemade options include sprinkling cayenne pepper or ammonia around potential entry points, using motion-activated sprinklers, and playing a radio or loud noises to deter raccoons. However, keep in mind that repellents may not be as effective as other methods and may need to be reapplied regularly.

homemade raccoon repellents

If you’re looking for a natural and cost-effective way to keep raccoons away from your property, consider using some homemade raccoon repellents. These DIY solutions can help deter raccoons and prevent them from causing damage or infesting your property.

“Sprinkling cayenne pepper or ammonia around potential entry points can be an effective way to repel raccoons. They don’t like the smell and will likely avoid areas with these strong odors.”

Another option is to use motion-activated sprinklers. These devices detect movement and emit a burst of water, startling raccoons and deterring them from your property. Additionally, playing a radio or loud noises can create a disturbance that raccoons find unpleasant and may encourage them to seek shelter elsewhere.

While these homemade raccoon repellents can be helpful, it’s important to note that their effectiveness may vary. Raccoons are intelligent and adaptable creatures, so they may become accustomed to certain deterrents over time. Regularly reapplying the repellents and combining them with other prevention methods can increase their effectiveness.

Table: Comparison of Homemade Raccoon Repellents

Repellent Effectiveness Ease of Use Cost
Sprinkling cayenne pepper or ammonia Moderate Easy Low
Motion-activated sprinklers High Moderate Moderate
Playing a radio or loud noises Low Easy Low

As shown in the table above, sprinkling cayenne pepper or ammonia is a low-cost and easy-to-use option, although its effectiveness may be moderate. Motion-activated sprinklers offer high effectiveness but come at a moderate cost and require some setup. Playing a radio or loud noises is a low-effort method but may have limited effectiveness.

Remember, using homemade raccoon repellents alone may not provide complete protection against raccoon infestations. It’s crucial to combine these methods with other preventive measures, such as securing garbage cans, eliminating food sources, and sealing potential entry points to ensure the best possible results.

Safe Handling of Raccoons

When it comes to dealing with raccoons, safety should always be your top priority. These animals can carry diseases such as rabies, making it crucial to handle them with caution. Here are some guidelines to follow for the safe handling of raccoons:

Wear Protective Gear

Before attempting to handle a raccoon, make sure you are wearing appropriate protective gear. This includes gloves, long-sleeved clothing, and closed-toe shoes. The gloves should be thick enough to prevent bites or scratches.

Avoid Direct Contact

It’s important to avoid direct contact with raccoons whenever possible. They may appear cute and harmless, but they can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous. Keep a safe distance and use tools like nets or catch poles to handle raccoons from a distance if necessary.

Release with Caution

If you have successfully trapped a raccoon and need to release it, do so with caution. Make sure you are releasing it far away from your property and any potential food sources. Open the trap slowly and keep your distance to avoid any sudden movements or aggressive behavior from the raccoon.

Consult Professionals

If you are unsure about how to safely handle a raccoon or if you encounter a raccoon that seems sick or injured, it is best to consult professionals or your local animal control agency for assistance. They have the expertise and experience to handle raccoons safely and effectively.

safe handling of raccoons

When to Call Animal Control

If you find yourself dealing with a raccoon situation that seems beyond your control or poses a potential danger, it’s time to call in the professionals. Animal control services are equipped with the knowledge and resources to handle raccoon removal safely and effectively. Here are a few scenarios in which contacting animal control is recommended:

  1. If a raccoon appears aggressive or exhibits unusual behavior, it is best to let professionals handle the situation. Aggressive raccoons can pose a threat to your safety and the safety of others.
  2. Injured raccoons should always be reported to animal control. Attempting to handle or treat an injured raccoon yourself can be dangerous and may lead to further harm to the animal.
  3. If you suspect a raccoon is sick or carries a disease, it is important to contact animal control. Raccoons can carry diseases such as rabies, which can be transmitted to humans and pets. Animal control will have the expertise to assess the situation and take appropriate action.
  4. If you are unsure of how to safely handle or release a trapped raccoon, animal control can provide guidance and assistance. They will ensure that the raccoon is released in a safe and appropriate location.

Remember, when it comes to raccoon removal, your safety and the well-being of the animal should always be the top priority. Calling animal control in these situations will help to ensure that both you and the raccoon are protected.

Legal Considerations for Raccoon Removal

When dealing with raccoon removal, it is important to understand and comply with the legal considerations in your area. Different regions have specific regulations regarding the trapping, relocation, or extermination of wildlife, including raccoons. Violating these laws can result in fines or legal consequences, so it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the rules before taking any action.

One common legal requirement is obtaining the necessary permits or licenses for raccoon removal. In some areas, you may need to be a licensed wildlife control operator or hire one to handle the removal process. Additionally, there may be restrictions on the use and placement of traps, as well as regulations on the release of captured raccoons. Always check with local authorities or wildlife agencies to ensure compliance with these regulations.

Another legal consideration is the humane treatment of raccoons during removal. Many regions have laws that prohibit the use of inhumane methods such as poison or drowning. Instead, they promote the use of humane traps and relocation methods. If you choose to handle raccoon removal yourself, make sure to follow ethical guidelines and ensure the safety and well-being of the animals.

Legal Considerations for Raccoon Removal:
Understand local regulations and laws regarding raccoon removal
Obtain necessary permits or licenses for raccoon removal
Comply with restrictions on trapping methods and release of captured raccoons
Use humane removal methods that align with local laws
Avoid inhumane methods such as poison or drowning

“It is crucial to handle raccoon removal in a legal and humane manner to protect both the welfare of the animals and yourself. By understanding and complying with local regulations, you can ensure a safe and ethical approach to raccoon removal.” – Wildlife Control Expert

Remember, legal considerations are critical when removing raccoons from your property. Familiarize yourself with the regulations in your area, obtain necessary permits, and use humane methods to ensure a responsible and lawful approach to raccoon removal.

Additional Tips for Effective Raccoon Removal

If you’re dealing with a raccoon problem on your property, here are some additional tips to help you effectively remove them and prevent future infestations:

  • Keep your property clean and eliminate potential food sources that may attract raccoons. Secure your outdoor trash cans with tight-fitting lids and consider using garbage bins with secure locking mechanisms.
  • Secure outdoor pet food and bird feeders to avoid attracting raccoons. If possible, bring pet food indoors overnight and use bird feeders with raccoon-proof baffles or elevated platforms.
  • Trim tree branches that provide access to your property. Raccoons are skilled climbers, so cutting back overhanging branches can help prevent them from gaining entry to your home or other structures.
  • Regularly inspect your property for potential entry points. Raccoons can squeeze through small openings, so make sure to seal any gaps or cracks in your foundation, walls, roof, or vents. Use sturdy materials such as steel mesh or hardware cloth for effective barriers.

Implementing these tips can significantly reduce the risk of raccoon infestations and help protect your property. However, if you’re dealing with a persistent or severe raccoon problem, it’s always advisable to seek professional assistance to ensure safe and effective removal.

Remember, raccoons can carry diseases and may become aggressive when cornered or threatened. Prioritize your safety and the well-being of the raccoons by following humane removal methods and local regulations.

Table: Common Raccoon Prevention Techniques

Technique Description
Securing Trash Cans Use tight-fitting lids or raccoon-proof containers to prevent raccoons from accessing your garbage.
Eliminating Food Sources Remove potential food sources such as pet food, fallen fruits, and bird feeders.
Sealing Entry Points Inspect your property for openings and seal them with steel mesh or hardware cloth.
Trimming Tree Branches Cut back overhanging branches to prevent raccoons from accessing your property from trees.
Using Deterrents Consider using motion-activated sprinklers, bright lights, or ultrasonic devices to deter raccoons.

Implementing these raccoon prevention techniques can help create an inhospitable environment for raccoons, reducing the likelihood of infestations and property damage.


Removing raccoons from your property requires a combination of preventative measures, humane removal methods, and sometimes professional assistance. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you can effectively get rid of raccoons and prevent future infestations. Remember to prioritize safety and follow any applicable local laws and regulations.


How do I know if I have a raccoon infestation?

Look for signs such as overturned trash cans, droppings, and property damage, such as torn up gardens or lawns.

What are some DIY raccoon removal methods?

You can try using live traps, installing one-way doors, or using repellents like ammonia or predator urine.

Should I hire a professional for raccoon removal?

If your raccoon problem is severe or you are uncomfortable handling the removal yourself, contacting a professional is recommended.

How can I prevent raccoons from entering my property?

Secure trash cans, eliminate food sources, seal entry points, and keep your property well-lit.

What are some homemade raccoon repellents?

You can try sprinkling cayenne pepper or ammonia around potential entry points, using motion-activated sprinklers, or playing loud noises.

How do I handle raccoons safely?

Wear protective clothing and gloves, avoid direct contact, and consult professionals or animal control agencies if in doubt.

When should I call animal control for raccoon removal?

It is recommended to contact animal control if dealing with aggressive, injured, or sick raccoons.

What legal considerations should I be aware of for raccoon removal?

Check local laws and regulations regarding trapping and relocating wildlife before attempting any raccoon removal methods.

What are some additional tips for raccoon removal?

Keep your property clean, secure pet food and bird feeders, trim tree branches, and regularly inspect for entry points.