Getting Rid of Raccoons

Getting Rid of Raccoons

Raccoons are one of the most easily recognizable pests that homeowners deal with. These common wildlife are known for their distinctive black masks over their eyes and ringed tails. Raccoons have gray and black fur and are about the size of an average housecat or small dog. They have 5 fingers on each hand and are extremely coordinated. They are highly intelligent with excellent memories. Raccoons are found in every state of the US.

Raccoons are scavengers and mostly hunt for food at night. They will eat almost anything. They are also highly adaptable allowing them to live in a wide variety of habitats (urban, suburban, rural, forest, mountain, coastal, and more).

When raccoons nest in or near your house they can cause significant damage to both your property and your health. Their damage isn’t just limited to tipped over trashcans. In their search for a nesting site they will rip off shingles, fascia boards, and even chimney vents. Once inside your home, they can destroy insulation, chew through electrical wires, and contaminate your home with urine and feces. They will dig up your yard in search of grubs and even tear off decking to get under porches and decks.

Signs of raccoons on or near your property include:

  • Tipped over trash cans
  • Damage to gardens or fish ponds
  • Spilled or empty pet food bowls
  • Knocked over bird feeders
  • Disturbed compost piles
  • Tracks or paw prints
  • Calls that sound like an owl whistling at night
  • Droppings (resembling small dog droppings, dark in color with a foul smell and often containing undigested seeds or other food)

Getting rid of raccoons can be difficult. They are crafty and can be difficult to trap. Here are some ways to prevent raccoons from taking over your home or yard.

Eliminate Food Sources

Nearby food sources will attract females to the area to nest and also allow populations to grow rapidly. Eliminating food sources makes your property less attractive to raccoons and other wildlife. Make sure to use heavy trashcans with secure lids. You may consider putting your cans in a rack or tying them to a secure post to prevent tipping. If your lids aren’t secure, use bungee cord or wire to make sure lids are secure. Bring in pet food before nightfall. Try to deter raccoons from bird feeders by using raccoon-proof feeders, hanging from shepherd’s hooks, or bringing them in overnight. Pick up any fallen fruit or nuts from the ground. Consider installing fencing around gardens, ponds, or compost piles. Electric fence is preferable as raccoons can climb over or dig under regular fencing. Don’t intentionally feed raccoons as this will only attract more and increase the population.

Eliminate Nesting Sites

Without a place to nest, raccoons will likely move on to a more hospitable environment. Clean up your yard and keep your grass mowed. Remove wood piles and thin out any overgrown shrubbery. Trim branches away from your roof, providing at least a 5′ gap between the roof and any trees. Get rid of any trellises or arbors that may allow access to your roof.

Eliminate Entry Points

Raccoons like to nest in chimneys so make sure it is sealed when not in use with a chimney cap that is tightly secured. Make sure there are no animals inside your chimney before sealing it off. Inspect the exterior of your home and identify any other possible entry points, as well. Close off spaces under porches, decks, and sheds with wire mesh. Make sure the bottom edge of the wire is buried at least 6 inches deep and extends out at least 12 inches. Make sure to back-cover the wire with soil.

Consider Other Remedies

There are several repellents and products designed to scare raccoons with motion and light. Raccoons are highly intelligent and these products will only be effective until they realize there is no threat. Trapping can also be dangerous for homeowners as these nuisance wildlife carry a wide range of parasites and diseases that can be harmful to both humans and pets. Raccoons will bite or scratch if they feel threatened or if they have their young near them. They are known to carry rabies, roundworm, and canine distemper.

If you have an issue with raccoons or any other wildlife, consider contacting a professional pest control company who specializes in wildlife control and wildlife exclusion. They can identify where raccoons may be feeding or nesting and safely and legally trap and relocate them.


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Sneaky Wildlife: Possums and Raccoons

Sneaky Wildlife: Possums and Raccoons

When you think of pest control the most common critters that come to mind are roaches, rats, bed bugs, mosquitoes, and other traditional pests. Wildlife may not be at the top of your list but these sneaky pests can wreak havoc on your home and your health. Two wildlife pests that often get into your home are possums and raccoons. While they are noticeably different in appearance, these two animals share many similarities. They are both highly adaptable to their surroundings and can be quite creative in seeking out food sources. They are both also known to carry diseases that can be harmful to humans. Do you know how to identify a possum or a raccoon? What can you do to prevent these pests from damaging your home and property?


Possums are North America’s only marsupial species. They can range from 14″ long to over 3 feet long. Their tails make up 50% of their total body length. They can weight up to 13 lbs. Possums are scavengers and will forage in trashcans and dumpsters for food. They are omnivores but prefer insects and carrion over fruits and nuts. Possums are highly nocturnal and are rarely seen by humans. They prefer to live near water. Possums are found throughout eastern North America. Possums are slow movers but are highly skilled climbers. They can get into attics and under houses, especially in crawlspaces. They will play dead as a defensive tactic.


Raccoons can range from just under 2 feet long to just over 3 feet long. They can weigh up to 23 lbs. They have a distinctive black mask coloring on their faces. Raccoons are scavengers and will often forage in trashcans and dumpsters for food. They are quite dexterous and can use their paws to open doors and lids. They are omnivores but prefer fruits and nuts over meat. They are nocturnal and are rarely seen by humans. If you spot a raccoon during the day be aware – this is often (but not always) a sign of rabies or other abnormal condition in the raccoon. Raccoons are found throughout most of the United States, southern Canada, and northern South America. Raccoons are creatures of habit. Once they discover a food source at your house they will keep coming back over and over. They often access attics and roofs of homes causing significant damage.


  • Seal any garbage cans and compost bins at night.
  • Use locking lids on trashcans if possible or place a weight on top to keep the lids closed.
  • Pick up any fruit or other food items from your yard.
  • Make sure to bring your pet’s food and water bowls indoors at night and empty bird feeders.
  • Keep the outside of your home well lit at night – possums and raccoons are nocturnal and shy away from lights.
  • Examine the outside of your home for possible entry points and seal them off. Make sure to check chimneys, attic vents, and seams along roofs and foundations.
  • Keep your yard clear of debris and keep the grass mowed.
  • Spray a mixture of half ammonia and half water on your trashcans or soak rags in the mixture and scatter them around your property. The smell will repel these pests.
  • Consider enclosing your crawlspace to eliminate their ability to get under your home.
  • If you think you have a wildlife issue, contact a licensed pest control expert who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and treatment plan.
How To Keep The Rodents Out This Winter

How To Keep The Rodents Out This Winter

Rodents are one of the most common pests that come into our homes in the winter. Rodents are in search of 3 things – food, water, and shelter – and they can find all 3 of them in and around our homes. Squirrels, raccoons, rats, and mice are some of the most frequently seen rodents in the colder months. Rodents can cause significant damage to property and can also be a big health risk to humans. Prevention is critical in managing and preventing an infestation of rodents. Check out these tips to keep the rodents out this winter:

  • Put A Lid On Your Trash: If possible, use trashcans made of metal with snug fitting lids. If you must use plastic, make sure there are no holes in it.
  • Put Up Your Pet Food: Store pet food and birdseed in glass or metal containers with tight lids. Make sure to remove them at night and store them away until morning. Make sure to pick up any fallen fruit or nuts off the ground outside your home, as well. Remove standing water from bird feeders.
  • Elevate Your Compost: Raise your compost container at least 1 foot off the ground.
  • Keep Your Garage Clean: Rodents like to eat lawn seed, tulip bulbs, bone meal, and other items frequently used in gardening. Make sure they are stored in glass or metal containers with tight lids. Keep firewood a good distance from the house. Organize and store boxes in the garage off the ground to eliminate nesting places.
  • Clean The Kitchen: Keep food stored in tightly sealed containers. Clean up spilled food and crumbs nightly.
  • Keep Your Home Maintained: Make sure openings around your home are properly sealed. Keep your gutters clear of debris and water. Screen your attic vents. Keep screens on windows and doors in good repair and replace when needed.
  • Call A Pro: If you suspect you have a rodent problem, call a professional pest control company or a professional wildlife removal company who can evaluate your home and provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan.
How Do You Get Rid of a Raccoon?

How Do You Get Rid of a Raccoon?

Most of us have seen a raccoon, whether in person or as a cute, cuddly cartoon character. Unfortunately, these furry animals are not only dangerous to humans, but can cause significant damage and destruction to both your home and your yard. Raccoons are known to carry several bacterial diseases and parasites including rabies, salmonella, and roundworms.

Although raccoons are wild animals, they are becoming more and more common in urban areas as our population grows and their food and shelter sources diminish. They prefer to make their dens in hollowed out trees but these are fewer and far between in urban areas so they are forced to be more creative in their hunt for a home. Raccoons are now more often getting inside OUR homes, especially in the attic in search of shelter and food.

Raccoons are very dexterous animals and can use their hands to open doors, jars, bottles, and latches. They are also excellent climbers. These skills allow them to access our attics much more easily than other animals. But how do you know if you have a raccoon in or around your home? You can look for any of these signs:

  • Sounds of movement in the attic like scurrying, chewing, crying, or growling, especially at night
  • Tipped over trashcans
  • Emptied or damaged bird feeders
  • Damage to gardens
  • Uncapped chimneys
  • Torn shingles
  • Urine or feces, especially in the attic
  • Tracks which have 5 long toes and fingers, much like human prints

Once you have determined there is a raccoon in your attic, how do you get rid of it? While many people prefer to remove raccoons themselves, it’s not recommended. A wildlife removal company can not only safely remove the raccoons, but also clean up any contamination and offer exclusion methods to prevent them from returning. One thing to consider is that there is often a nest of babies along with the adult raccoon. Baby raccoons must be removed by hand. Wearing thick leather gloves, babies can be picked up by hand and carried out in a pillowcase. They can then be used to trap the adult raccoon or safely relocated. You can also trap the adult by scaring it into a pre-set trap or by catching it with a snare pole and putting it in a cage. Once the raccoons have been caught and removed, inspect your home to find entry points and then seal all areas to prevent raccoons and other pests from getting back into your home.

Most of us would prefer to avoid the process of removing raccoons (or having them removed) from our homes. So what can you do to prevent them from coming into your attic in the first place? Here are 5 tips for keeping raccoons out of your home:

  1. Hide your trash. Store trashcans and recycling bins indoors or in sealed areas such as locked sheds (raccoons can open unlocked doors even if they are closed). If you must keep your trashcans outdoors, use animal proof lids on them.
  2. Hide their food. Remove sources of food and shelter from your property. Cut down old trees that may be hollow. Remove bird feeders at night and be sure to clean underneath them. Don’t leave pet food and water containers out overnight. Keep pet food sealed and preferably inside.
  3. Eliminate their entry points. Inspect the outside of your home for possible access points and repair them. Look for holes in your roof or siding, loose siding and shingles, and holes in your porches or skirting. Cover chimneys with a wire mesh cover or cap. Cover any other exposed openings with wire mesh, as well. Install mesh beneath porches and decks and around your gardens. Consider crawlspace enclosure.
  4. Don’t forget your pets. Lock your pet doors at night. If your pets need access to outside overnight, consider investing in a pet door that operates by a remote sensor in your pet’s collar so that it stays locked until your pet activates the door.
  5. Light up the night. Raccoons are nocturnal animals and prefer the cover of darkness when they roam. Because most raccoons are used to humans, your regular porch light is often not enough to scare them off. Install motion-sensor floodlights in several areas around your home.
5 Ways to Get Rid of Raccoons

5 Ways to Get Rid of Raccoons

Raccoons, a common animal nuisance throughout the U.S., are nocturnal therefore rarely seen during the day. At night, they’ll leave their dens (often your chimney or attic), in search of food and water. Because they’re omnivorous and will eat mostly anything – other animals, fruit, plants, nuts, fish, insects, mice, etc. – there’s likely a food source in or around your home. So what’s the risk? Raccoons are known to carry rabies,  cause significant structural damage to homes, destroy gardens, and leave behind a messy trail of trash after raiding garbage cans left outside.

Prevent disease and destruction by following the 5 tips below.

1. Store Garbage Cans Inside

If left outdoors around your home, trash cans will surely attract raccoons looking for food. Instead, keep garbage stored in your garage, basement, or storage building and take out regularly. If you don’t have storage space indoors, use garbage bins with animal-proof lids.

2. Seal Raccoon Entry Points

Inspect your home regularly for access points – holes, gaps, broken vents, loose siding, broken shingles, etc. – and seal or repair these to prevent raccoons from getting inside.

3. Cover Chimney Openings

Chimneys are common entry points into your home for raccoons. Install a mesh cover or cap over chimney openings to keep them out, or call a wildlife control company to do this for you. They will also inspect your home for other issues and provide you with raccoon exclusion solutions to prevent an invasion.

4. Remove Bird Feeders and Pet Food

Having bird feeders and pet food containers around your home will likely attract raccoons as it provides them with a steady food source. Consider removing bird feeders and only leave pet food out when your pets are eating.

5. Lock Pet Doors at Night

Have a doggie door? This is an obvious and easy opening for raccoons to get in. Once your pet is indoors for the night, lock the pet door. You could also consider installing a door that only opens for your pet via an electronic signal, usually in the form of a collar your pet can wear.

These methods are great for raccoon prevention. If you think you have raccoons living in your attic, chimney, or crawl space, you don’t want to block them inside. Call a professional wildlife trapper that can safely remove the raccoons, clean up contamination, and offer exclusion methods that will keep them from coming back.

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