We’ve all looked at adorable pictures of rascally raccoons getting into funny situations. Who doesn’t laugh at watching them rub snacks in between their paws or getting stuck up a pole while going after birdseed?
The less cute reality is that they’re wild animals and bring with them all the problems associated with wild animals. Unlike possums, raccoons can carry rabies. They can also transmit roundworms and leptospirosis. They can transmit any of these to your pets or injure them in a fight. Even if a raccoon isn’t aggressive, it will defend itself if cornered by a dog. Raccoons are notorious for scattering trash while looking for something edible in your garbage cans. They can even eat through some building materials and get into attics, crawl spaces, and other interior places.
Raccoons can be found in every climate and landscape throughout North America. Even urban residences have to contend with raccoons as a potential nuisance. We can’t fault raccoons for doing what comes naturally to them, and many homeowners don’t wish them harm. They simply don’t want them damaging their homes or harming their pets. If you have problems with raccoons but don’t want to kill them, you can take humane measures to discourage their presence in your yard or remove them completely.
A good first step is to make your yard less inviting to raccoons. Ammonia mimics the smell of urine, which raccoons instinctively avoid. Or make your own raccoon repellent by mixing a gallon of water with a few drops of dish soap and a bottle of hot sauce. Apply it to your trash or any surfaces raccoons choose to gnaw on. Don’t forget to reapply after heavy rain. Though more expensive to set up, motion-activated sprinklers and ultrasounds devices are also effective at chasing off raccoons.
You can also keep raccoons out by blocking their access to your yard. Animal-proof trash cans keep your trash secure and give raccoons less reason to come into your yard in search of food. Tall fences may be an effective barrier as long as there are no trees or bushes to assist their climbing. Electrified fences are costlier but more effective. Be sure to also seal up any breaches in your fences and the exterior of your house to discourage entry.
If you take these measures but still find yourself overwhelmed with raccoons, you should contact a professional pest removal service. Professional removal services have staff trained and licensed in wildlife removal. Many of them specialize in a humane trap and release operations. They will set humane traps at raccoon entry points.
Because raccoons are nocturnal, they’re usually entrapped overnight. The operation may take several days of trap placement and checking, especially if you need to have multiple raccoons removed. The raccoons are then released into the wild at several miles’ distance from your area so they can’t find their way back.
If you’ve tried simpler measures and can’t banish raccoons from your yard, contact a local wildlife removal professional immediately.