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How to get rid of raccoons?

The name raccoon might bring a cute looking creature to mind, but a raccoon can be the most destructive of a pest if you don't already know.

December 27, 2021

25 min read time

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Heavy thumping on the ceiling, scratching on the walls, tipped over garbage cans-If you are experiencing any of these signs around your house right now, chances are you have got a raccoon problem, and you need to get rid of them fast.

The name raccoon might bring a cute looking creature to mind, but a raccoon can be the most destructive of a pest if you don’t already know.

These furry critters invade homes, making dens inside the roof or attic, looking for food to eat anywhere they can find it, and because they are opportunistic creatures, they will eat almost anything. In their search for food, they are destructive and will damage virtually any part of your property.

Peradventure you find yourself in this situation, you have only one course of action—Pest Control or raccoon control.

There are several techniques and methods to get rid of raccoons from your property.

This article on how to get rid of raccoons contains everything you need to know to regain control of your home by getting rid of your pest problem.

Dig in!

What are raccoons?

The raccoon, also known as the “bandit masked raccoon” or “ringtail” because of dark marks covering its eyes and its tails in the form of rings, is a small furry animal that inhabits both wild and domestic places. The most common raccoon is the North American raccoon found in northern Canada and the United States.

Raccoons have strong survival instincts, and outside the wild can be found in urban and suburban areas in people’s homes. Their favorite places to hide include attics, sewers, barns, and somewhere close to food sources like trash bags.


Raccoons grow to be about 23 to 27 inches in length and weigh as much as 4 to 23lbs (1.8 to 10.4 kilograms). While raccoons can typically cover up to 18 miles looking for food, they prefer to stay close to their food in urban areas within a mile.


Raccoons are nocturnal animals. They are mostly active at night. The only time their activity levels dip is during winter when they sleep in their dens.


Raccoons have an omnivorous diet, but in fact, they are opportunistic. They eat any food they see, including the pet food or human food they sometimes find inside trash cans. They especially like fruits like watermelon and invertebrates.


The average lifespan of raccoons is between three to five years, although more than half of their population consists of animals under a year old.


Raccoons are known to transmit several diseases to humans, rabies being one of the most prominent. Their bodies may also host fleas, ticks, and lice. Raccoon droppings may also carry parasite worms and viruses such as roundworm eggs. These eggs are light and may easily be inhaled by humans leading to infection.

Leptospirosis found in raccoon urine, tetanus, and salmonella is another disease these rodents can transmit. The fact that they can be dangerous to your health should be enough reason for you to finish this article on how to get rid of raccoons.

If you are not sure you have a raccoon problem, these are some signs to look out for:

-Upended trash cans

-Damaged crops

-Raccoon tracks

– paw prints featuring five long toes and fingers just like human hands.

-Uncapped chimneys

-Pillaged gardens

Now that you know all there is to know about them, especially why you need to get them out of your home, let us talk about the how part.

What scent will keep raccoons away?

Raccoons have very sensitive noses, and strong smells irritate them. Careful and repeated use of these smells may help to deter them from causing havoc to your property.

1 Use Ammonia

Ammonia has a powerful smell just like urine, and raccoons hate it. Just put some ammonia in a small dish and place it near the trash can. You can also dip tennis balls in ammonia and throw them at the rodents’ favorite area.

2 Vinegar

Vinegar is a strong natural repellent. Raccoons dislike the smell of vinegar, and it is a scent that can help you keep them at bay. Pour some vinegar into your garbage bin or on a cloth you place in areas they always show up. You can even fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray it around your yard to deter them from around your house.

3 Use Garlic

Garlic is another good natural repellent you can try because the smell irritates raccoons. Mix some crushed garlic cloves or bulbs with chili powder sprinkle around the garden or attic. The animals run from it immediately they come in contact with it.

4 Onion and Pepper combination

The combination of hot pepper and onion creates a strong repellent you can use to chase that raccoon out. Boil both the pepper and onion in water, and make sure you apply it to the area where you usually find the animal lurking.

5 Use Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is a powerful natural repellent. Boil a cup of cayenne peppers and throw in some habanero chilies. Ensure you have enough water in there. And when you are done, let it cool enough to be placed into a spray bottle. Spray it anywhere raccoons show up, particularly at entryways and trash cans.

6 Use Predator scent

The raccoon, like any other rodent, has natural enemies that terrify it. Some of them include mountain lions and wolves. You can get any of their urine from an animal store and spray it in places that the rodent frequently visits. The natural order will come into play once they sense danger and flee for their lives

7 Sprinkle Epsom salt

Epsom salt is an excellent natural repellent to use to get that raccoon off your property. You can sprinkle it in your yard, garden, and anywhere else the animal shows up. They find the smell very unpleasant and will stay far away from anywhere you sprinkle it.

8 Use Mothballs

Many homeowners already use mothballs to ward off insects and rodents. Raccoons are not immune to it, and they find it extremely unpleasant. Putting some mothballs at entryways used by the rodents will help you repel them and get them out of the house.

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What home remedy will kill raccoons?

Even though by disturbing and infiltrating several homes, including yours, raccoons have earned the household pest tag, they are still classified as wildlife. This means that killing them is illegal in many parts of the country.

1 Hunting

This is a time consuming and sometimes illegal method of killing raccoons, except of course, if you live in the countryside. Raccoons are not ideal targets for hunting because of their small size. Instead, you could put your time and energy to much better use by looking for an effective way to eliminate or control them.

2 Poison

Poison is one of the first things that comes to mind for many people when thinking of getting rid of raccoons.

This method has several drawbacks, though. Apart from being an inhumane way to deal with an animal problem, killing an animal with poison means that you run the risk of it crawling into a corner of the house and dying there.

You will have to live with that odor until you find the dead animal and remove it from the house. Then there is the matter of pets ingesting poison meant for the raccoon. If you have a pet in the place, there are high chances to eat that poison and die.

3 Lethal trap

Using a lethal trap to kill a raccoon is much safer and efficient than using poison. However, this does not make it an ideal method, especially since this type of trap’s proper use requires some level of skill to use.

4 Snap trap

Using a snap trap is a quick and efficient way to get rid of raccoons. The trap is designed to catch them and kill them as soon as the trapping happens. The snapping mechanism is activated immediately after the trap is sprung, and it kills the raccoon.

5 Live trap

The use of a live trap as a trapping method and getting rid of raccoons is quite common.

Trapping a raccoon is an effective way to get rid of it. Once you catch it, you can decide how to kill it if you still want to go down that route.

The trap has to be checked frequently to remove the raccoon as soon as you make a catch. The raccoon can be taken to a vet’s office for a euthanasia-a clean painless death.

6 Ultrasonic Repellent

The Thanos® Motion Activated Ultrasonic Animal Repeller has three independent ‘faces’ that work together in unison.

Each individual face emits ultrasonic repeller waves, flashing LEDs, and an alarm. All three faces working together provide true 360-degree coverage.

It will help to get rid of raccoons effectively, and it’s 100% safe for your family and friends.

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How do you get rid of raccoons?

We are still talking about how to get rid of raccoons. There are several other ways to do this apart from those already listed in this article. The most effective measures are all about making sure the animals don’t get on your property at all.

1 Eliminate food sources

Raccoons have an astonishing ability to sniff out food wherever it is hidden. Any exposed food source such as pet food or food kept in bird feeders is nothing short of you inviting them into your home openly. Therefore, it would help keep these food sources away from your home while removing rodents.

2 Close off access to water

Raccoons need water to survive, so why give it to them? Close off water bodies in the house like your swimming pool or bird feeders. Water bodies not only attract them; they also end up being sites of contamination for diseases these rodents transmit through their feces.

3 Properly dispose of garbage

The smell and sight of food lying exposed in garbage cans always attract rodents, including raccoons. Try to dispose of your trash as often as possible.

Empty trash bins offer nothing to furry pests, but the smell of food inside the trash bins will surely attract raccoons. So, If you can’t afford to take out the trash bags every day, try to keep at least the bins covered.

4 Seal entry points

Raccoons gain access into your home through gaps, holes, and any small crack anywhere on your property. Sealing off all these entry points is the best way to keep raccoons off your property. Places to check for such cracks or holes include your attic, roof, open vents, and even the chimney. It would be best if you stopped them from getting inside, rather than spending money and energy trying to control or get them out later.

5 Light up the dark corners

Installing lights in the attic and other dark corners in your house will deter raccoons from invading such areas.

They are nocturnal creatures who love the dark, so they make their dens in the attic or the roof. Illuminating those dark places inside the house with a flashlight or a light bulb will make sure the rodents find it hard to stay there.

6 Stop planting their favorite crops

If you notice that rodents in the area visit your home frequently to pillage your garden, then you may have something planted in there that attracts them.

Crops like grapes and watermelon attract raccoons, and if you have such growing around your garden, you will keep inviting more of them. Until you are rid of these pests, you should remove those crops.

7 Grow Cucumbers

The smell of cucumber is one that most rodents hate and run from. As another natural method you can use to get rid of raccoons, planting and growing cucumbers in your yard can keep them out of it.

You may also cut up cucumbers and place them in areas of the house like the attic, roof, and entryways to chase the raccoons away.

8 Get a Dog

Raccoons might be as big as small dogs, but they are undoubtedly scared of big dogs. Keeping a big dog breed in the house can deter the rodents from coming around often. Big dog breeds can chase these invaders from your property and keep it raccoon free.

9 Make a lot of noise

Loud sounds scare raccoons. Playing loud music or turning on a portable radio at night will make them uncomfortable in their dens, and eventually, they will move on to find quieter places to stay.

10 Install sprinklers

Installing a sprinkler system in your garden or yard is a good idea if you want to chase raccoons out of your home. Besides keeping your plants moist, putting on your sprinkler, particularly at night, keeps raccoons away from your property.

11 Use ultrasonic repellents

There are special ultrasonic devices made to act as technological repellents to rodents. They emit a sound that is harmless and inaudible to humans but is extremely displeasing to raccoons.

Motion Activated Animal Repeller

12 Fence the yard

Fencing your yard or garden can help you seal off your garden from a raccoon invasion. The most inexpensive options include the use of wire mesh and wooden fencing.

The problem with these options is that raccoons are quite stubborn and determined. They can either climb or even dig under these fences. The best option is to go for the electric fence, which will keep the rodents far away from your vegetable garden or yard.

13 Call a Professional

Raccoons are notoriously hard to get rid of. We mentioned earlier that raccoons are classified as wildlife. Therefore, you’ll probably require a professional exterminator before you remove them from your property. This applies even when you make use of a trap.

This professional is not only licensed to do this but is well-trained to do so. If you incidentally find yourself losing control of your raccoon problem, the best thing to do is call in a professional to take care of it for you.

Will raccoons leave on their own?

Raccoons are not likely to leave on their own.

They usually live in attics for short periods, especially during breeding. The mothers typically move their babies between den sites while nesting, and she may end up leaving. However, the matured babies often leave such dens eventually.

The problem here is that while they may leave that particular den, they are more likely to move to another den site in the house. Even if they go to other houses in the area, they usually come back when their stay is disrupted.

You have to make sure you get them out so that they don’t come back to your house once you are gone. Your house will become an unsafe site for them to go back to rather than somewhere they can get into at any time.


Raccoons undoubtedly have their place in the wild as part of the ecosystem, but that does not include your home.

How to get rid of raccoons is something nearly every American household must have looked up at least once, and we hope that we were able to do justice to that topic for you. For more information on pest control methods or any information related to pests, check out our other posts.