How to Get Rid of Raccoons: Safe, Humane Methods Experts Use, Plus the Smells They Hate (2023)

Raccoon visits are a nocturnal event for many of us, and while they're cute, provided you find them, they can be hell to live with, noisily rummaging through trash cans in search of food, wreaking havoc in the garden and the ruining the lawn. , annoying pets, eating feed you leave to garden birds, running away with pet chickens, and even damaging the fabric of your home.

If these signs aren't enough to indicate an infestation, you can spot their tracks in damp soil or their dark, cylindrical droppings. And you may have been woken up by their nightly noises, which in turn no doubt woke up your dog and maybe the entire neighborhood.

So how do you get rid of raccoons? "There are methods you can use to kill raccoons, but other than when you do itget rid of mice, which can multiply at an alarming rate, we advise a humane approach that amounts more to elimination or deterrence,” he sayshouses and gardensGardens Editor Rachel Crow. "What course of action you take depends on where the raccoons are on your property, the time of year, whether there are mothers and babies, and the strength of the agents you plan to use."

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Below we show you the possibilities, many of which are surprisingly simple.

How to get rid of raccoons in the garden

To be fair to the raccoons, they don't know they're in thereyourbackyard, uproot your precious flowers, encroach on your lawn, run away with your chickens, destroy your birds' feed, turn over your trash and nest under your patio. But as much as we want to embrace the live and let live approach to wildlife, there comes a time when their visits feel like destructive assaults and they need to leave.

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So how do you get rid of raccoons in your yard — or at least discourage them from settling down and using it as a self-serve buffet? Unlike the attemptget rid of squirrels, they are moved more easily. These are the best options:

  • Remove your food sources: This means you'll have to hire a pest controller to rid your lawn of the larvae that live there - if there's less to eat, the raccoons are unlikely to come back; it also means making sure the chicken coop is impenetrable; dog food is brought into the house; Bird seed is hung high up on narrow poles and everything on the floor is cleaned up every night; and garbage cans are sealed and locked. The latter will also helpget rid of mice.
  • Install safety lighting with raccoon detection: These nocturnal animals are startled by sudden bright light.
  • Spread the smells raccoons hateon the ground around the house and in the backyard – more on that below.

How to get rid of raccoons in the attic and on the roof

Get rid of raccoons in the atticit's not as easy as it seems. “The raccoons are in your attic because they found a safe nesting place for them and their babies – same with meSquirrels in the attic. And if you have raccoons in the attic, you'll worry about damage and noise, it's probably a female with babies, and aggressive tactics will leave the babies defenseless," says Rachel Crow. Instead, try the following:

  • Wait for the nesting to complete(Baby raccoons are born between January and June) and take a few weeks to grow. At this point, speak to an experienced pest controller who can safely remove them and humanely relocate them.
  • Prevent them from occurring in the first placeSeal all access points around the roof. Using heavy duty galvanized wire mesh makes it very difficult for them to get in.
  • Make the attic uncomfortable: They love to snuggle up somewhere comfortable, just like us, so don't give them a chance for a bed or food and use some of the home remedies to create unpleasant odors (more on that below) to get rid of them to stop coming in. .

Get rid of raccoons on the roof or in the chimneyIt should help deter them from even climbing the attic, although they are great climbers so you may find this difficult. It is worth the effort, however, as they will damage roofing materials and attempt to nest in air vents and chimneys if they cannot nest in the attic, which is far from desirable and downright dangerous.

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  • Prevent raccoons from returning to your gardenRemoving potential food sources. If they don't have snacks to go back to, they're less likely to seek shelter at home.
  • look at yoursHinterhof Landschaftsbaufor possible routesto the roof. Everything from climbers to trees is an access route. Cut or remove them to make life difficult for an exploring raccoon.
  • Don't be tempted to climb onto the roof– without the proper safety precautions, this is potentially disastrous. Instead, hire a professional company to remove the raccoons for you.
  • Seal the chimney and ventsWire mesh to prevent raccoons from nesting inside.

How to get rid of raccoons under the house or deck

Just like when you experience a raccoon invasion in your attic, chances are the raccoons are under your house or patio there because they are nesting. Many of the dots used to keep them out of your garden and attic. These include:

  • Wait for nesting to endor ask an experienced pest controller to humanely remove and relocate them.
  • Remove your food sourcesaround house and yard, from birdseed to rubbish.
  • Put motion detection lights where they broke in.
  • Sprinkle in smells that raccoons hatearound the basement and deck - more on that below.
  • Access point sealingthroughout the house with heavy-duty galvanized wire mesh.
  • Remove all possible litteroccasions.

How to get rid of raccoons on the walls in the house

Getting rid of raccoons in walls is a lot harder, but it's a must: raccoons are noisy at night and will damage wires and break down insulation to make beds. If they're back on the walls they'll no doubt have babies, but we suspect you'll be less patient and wait for breeding season. The best option is to call a professional pest controller with experience dealing with raccoons. You can safely remove them, leaving you to figure out how they got in and fill in the gaps so they or their raccoon friends can't get in in the future.

What smell keeps raccoons away?

Like other pests that visit your home and garden, raccoons have an extremely sensitive sense of smell. That's often why they're primarily attracted to your home: because they can sniff out trash, pet food, and maggots. However, this incredible sense of smell can also be used against them with obstacles that we don't find offensive, but really are. Below we have listed the smells that raccoons hate and that you can use to drive them out of your home and yard:

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  • garlic: Mash it, squeeze it, or buy garlic oil and sprinkle it around your home and garden. Or place your mix in a bowl next to the entry points you worked on previously to prevent them from re-entering.
  • Chili: Think what that doesyourNose; this is an irritating spice for raccoons, they hate the smell.
  • peppermint: Sure, you can plant these in your garden and at doorways to your home to deter them, but a bowl of essential oil gives off a strong enough scent to keep them away.
  • know about Epsom: Again, raccoons hate this, so place it where they usually roam around the yard and house.
  • Onion: The smell of fresh onions is enough to make our eyes water, so imagine raccoons hating it.
  • Vinegar: Just like other pests, raccoons hate the smell of vinegar, so this is another home remedy you can use to repel them.

Note that these deterrents will discourage raccoons, but they must be used in conjunction with some of the other methods of getting rid of raccoons, including professional pest control.

What is a home remedy to get rid of raccoons?

There are a number of smells that raccoons hate that can be used to deter them. These include raw garlic, onions, and chili peppers. Mix them up in a bowl and place them around your house to stop them. Note, however, that the best methods of getting rid of them require more thorough approaches, including barricading entry points, using bright motion detectors at night, and professional removal.

Does vinegar keep raccoons away?

Vinegar will prevent raccoons from repeatedly returning to your home and yard as they hate the smell. As if using peppermint oil to deter them, you can soak several cloths in vinegar and place them in key hotspots around your home and yard to keep them at bay until the smell goes away.

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What is a home remedy to get rid of raccoons? ›

Garlic acts as an effective raccoon repellent home remedy. Crush garlic and chili powder together and spread it around the boundaries of your attic. You may even sprinkle it around the garden randomly near the crops. They will get irritated by the smell of garlic and leave your garden.

What do raccoons absolutely hate? ›

Spices like cinnamon, black pepper or cayenne pepper bother a raccoon's sense of smell, forcing it to relocate to a more livable area. By mixing cayenne pepper and onion in boiling water, you can create a natural raccoon repellant. You can add hot sauce to the mixture, as well.

What are raccoons biggest fear? ›

Predator Sounds: Playing recordings of the nemesis of raccoons such as coyotes, wolves, and dogs will scare them away. Change the animal sounds and speaker locations frequently to outsmart the raccoons.

What food is poisonous to raccoons? ›

Chocolate, onions, raisins and macadamia nuts are toxic to raccoons. Garlic and bread aren't toxic, but they can upset a raccoon's digestion. Coffee, cocoa and candies can cause health problems in raccoons.

Is there a spray to get rid of raccoons? ›

Exterminator's Choice - Raccoon Defense Spray - 32 OZ - Natural, Non-Toxic Raccoon Repellent - Quick and Easy Pest Control - Safe Around Kids and Pets.

Do ultrasonic raccoon repellents work? ›

While some ultrasonic repellents may have a minor short-term impact on some pests, the research is nearly universal: Ultrasonic pest repellers are not an effective option for preventing or eradicating pests.

What attracts raccoons to your property? ›

Main Attraction: Your kitchen waste can includes lots of items that are appealing to raccoons, especially meat and fish scraps. Once raccoons find sources of high-value foods like these, they will make regular visits and be extremely persistent in getting to it.

Does Irish Spring soap keep racoons away? ›

Raccoons use their superb sense of smell to forage for food, and some scents are really effective at keeping them away. The ingredients in Irish Spring soap are generally effective in keeping raccoons and other small mammals out of your yard.

What does vinegar do to raccoons? ›

Raccoons hate the smell of apple cider vinegar (and so do some humans!). Soak a cloth in apple cider vinegar and place it in an aerated container near the den. The smell will deter them!

How does Epsom salt get rid of raccoons? ›

Continuing in the vein of undesirable scents, Epsom salt is another ingredient that keeps raccoons away. For the most effective protection, sprinkle Epsom salt both inside and surrounding your vegetable garden. Racoons will generally keep a safe distance from that smell, avoiding your garden and coops.

What is the biggest threat to raccoons? ›

Predators. Hawks, owls and humans are major predators. Snakes may eat young raccoons. A raccoon will stay in its den during the day to avoid being preyed upon, and can be aggressive toward potential predators.

What do raccoons hate to walk on? ›

Raccoons have sensitive feet. Because of this, they stay clear of walking on prickly plants. They will certainly avoid squashes like pumpkin. They will also avoid oriental poppies, cucumbers, “Kentucky Wonder” pole beans, and globe thistle.

What noises are raccoons scared of? ›

Here are some noises that have been known to scare raccoons, as well as the benefits and downsides of using them.
  • Pots and Pans. ...
  • Shouting. ...
  • Radio. ...
  • Wind Chimes. ...
  • Motion Activated Noise Systems.
Nov 6, 2022

What animal is a racoon afraid of? ›

The Natural Predators Of Raccoons

Because raccoons are fairly large animals themselves, their predators will usually be quite large also, with animals such as coyotes and bobcats often seeing a raccoon as prey.

What happens if you pepper spray a raccoon? ›

Tear gas and other gas types (like pepper spray) affect animals in very similar ways to humans, only more severely. The same symptoms you see in humans, can be seen in animals, such as excessive tearing, sneezing, and irritation to the respiratory tract, as well as pain in the eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs

What is a raccoons favorite thing to eat? ›

The preferred raccoon diet contains food found in or near water, such as crayfish, frogs, fish, snails and clams. They also enjoy insects, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts and even dead animals. Raccoons are not experts at hunting prey, but they do manage to occasionally catch a young mouse, rat or squirrel.

Can humans get sick from raccoons? ›

Raccoons in the United States are known to carry infectious diseases that can be transmitted to humans and animals that have contact with raccoons or their waste. Both young and mature raccoons can shed viruses, bacteria and parasites that when exposed to humans and animals can result in infections and disease.

Is peanut butter okay for raccoons? ›

Yes. Raccoons enjoy a mix of nuts, fruit, peanut butter, fish, turkey and chicken. Raccoons love dog and cat food, too.

Do mothballs get rid of raccoons? ›

Mothballs get rid of all kinds of critters

Raccoons dislike the strong smell of mothballs. Buy a box and scatter them around your property to prevent raccoons from taking up residence.

How does Terminix get rid of raccoons? ›

At Terminix we have a multi-tiered approach: Locate raccoon entry and exit points, and place traps in a manner where the raccoon will be caught without causing more damage to your home. After the removal of a raccoon, permanently seal off all entry points to prevent against future re-entry.

Does antifreeze get rid of raccoons? ›

Anti freeze sometimes kills raccoons, skunks, squirrels and other animals.

Does aluminum foil scare raccoons? ›

From string, or a clothing line strung across a fence, hang balloons, strips of cloth or aluminum foil. These will frighten the animals and encourage them to leave the area. Remove or cover all possible food sources. Seal food in tightly closed containers of glass or metal.

Does Pine Sol repel raccoons? ›

Homemade Raccoon Repellents that can be used

Ammonia - It can be applied or soaked onto pieces of cloth or even kept in small opened bottles. The soaked pieces of cloth can be placed around the house, such as near food sources or around garbage cans and bins. Pine Sol can also be used in place of ammonia.

Will a porch light keep raccoons away? ›

Although a porch light is helpful, it will not keep every raccoon away because the light source is too high. Motion-activated floodlights are lower and will only activate after a raccoon triggers the sensors. If you place the lights in key locations around your property, they will scare the raccoons away.

What can you spray to get rid of raccoons? ›

One homemade “taste” raccoon repellent recipe uses 1 bottle hot pepper sauce or 1 bottle cayenne pepper powder and mixes it with a gallon of water and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. The soap helps the liquid to adhere to what you're spraying, and should be sprayed on the entire area that you would like to protect.

Do mothballs hate raccoons? ›

“Raccoons will just kick the mothballs to the side,” he said. And if too much of some those homemade remedies are used — like the ammonia or mothballs — they can become toxic.

Does Windex keep raccoons away? ›

Before you toss the garbage bag into the garbage, spray it with Windex, or ammonia. It deters the little guys big time.

What dont raccoons like to walk on? ›

Raccoons have sensitive feet. Because of this, they stay clear of walking on prickly plants. They will certainly avoid squashes like pumpkin. They will also avoid oriental poppies, cucumbers, “Kentucky Wonder” pole beans, and globe thistle.

What do raccoons not like to walk on? ›

Plants That are Prickly

Raccoons have very sensitive feet. Because of this, they avoid walking on prickly plants. They will avoid squashes like pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima, U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 9).

What time of night do raccoons usually come out? ›

Raccoons are nocturnal creatures. They usually sleep during daylight, and spend their nights foraging for food. Most often, raccoons leave their dens soon after sunset. They head straight for the nearest food source.

Does anything scare raccoons away? ›

If raccoons are raiding your garden, try scaring them off with motion-detecting sprinklers or strobe lights. Radios and other noise-makers can also deter raccoons. Switch up your scare strategies to keep raccoons from becoming accustomed to one method.

Will a flashlight scare a raccoon? ›

As nocturnal animals, most raccoons prefer to stay out of the spotlight. Bright lights that resemble daylight can scare raccoons away. The Urban Wildlife Rescue Organization also suggests using a hot sauce repellent.

What noise scares raccoons away? ›

Motion Activated Noise Systems. Much like motion activated sprinklers or lights help to keep raccoons away, activated noise systems startle raccoons from the property. Since raccoons feel safe in predictable environments, this tactic may help deter them from returning in the future.

Does Irish Spring keep raccoons away? ›

Soap the yard

Raccoons use their superb sense of smell to forage for food, and some scents are really effective at keeping them away. The ingredients in Irish Spring soap are generally effective in keeping raccoons and other small mammals out of your yard.


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