How to Get Raccoons off Your Property

Raccoons can be nuisance wildlife that invade attics, damage gardens, and rummage through trash. Getting raccoons off your property for good requires patience and persistence. We will cover effective humane methods to deter raccoons and prevent them from returning.

Why Raccoons Invade Properties

Raccoons are extremely adaptable animals that thrive in urban and suburban areas. They are drawn to homes for several reasons:


Raccoons den in hollow trees, rock crevices, brush piles, and abandoned burrows. As natural habitats diminish, raccoons seek shelter in attics, chimneys, sheds, and garages. Access points include loose soffits, uncapped chimneys, gaps around vents and fans, and openings around loose siding or roof shingles.

Food Sources

Raccoons have omnivorous appetites and will scavenge for anything edible. They raid trash cans, compost bins, gardens, and pet food dishes. Raccoons also forage for fruits, nuts, bird eggs, fish, crayfish, and insects.


Raccoons need a water source to stay hydrated. They are attracted to ponds, birdbaths, pet water bowls, pools, and hot tubs. Raccoons also drink from downspouts and uncapped chimneys during dry seasons.

Problems Caused by Raccoons

If raccoons move in on your property, they can cause considerable damage and be a nuisance:

  • Property Damage: Raccoons may tear off shingles or siding to access entry points. They can damage ductwork, insulation, and electrical wiring by nesting in attics. Raccoons also contaminate attics with feces and urine.
  • Garden Damage: Raccoons devastate gardens by digging up freshly planted areas and eating fruits, vegetables, and flowers. They also knock over containers and caches food in flower beds.
  • Trash Messes: Raccoons scatter trash from overturned bins and leave food scraps and packaging strewn about yards. Their messy scavenging creates an eyesore.
  • Pet Attacks: Raccoons may behave aggressively towards dogs and cats if they feel threatened. Pet food left outdoors also attracts unwanted raccoons.
  • Diseases: Raccoons can transmit rabies, roundworms, leptospirosis, and other infectious diseases to people and pets if there is direct contact with saliva, feces, or urine.

Humane Ways to Deter Raccoons

Use humane deterrents to evict raccoons from your property and discourage them from coming back:

Remove Food Sources

Eliminate anything edible that could attract raccoons:

  • Secure trash in metal bins with tight-fitting lids. Only put bins out the morning of pickup.
  • Pet food should not be left outdoors overnight.
  • Clean up fallen bird seed, fruits, and nuts under feeders daily.
  • Remove vegetables and fruits as they ripen on plants.
  • Install fences around gardens and fish ponds.
  • Clean outdoor grills after each use.
  • Keep compost in closed bins and avoid composting meats.

Eliminate Access Points

Inspect the exterior of your home and outbuildings for potential raccoon entryways. Use the following methods to exclude raccoons:

  • Repair holes, loose siding, gaps around eaves and vents. Seal with caulk or expandable foam.
  • Cap chimneys and install chimney caps or screens.
  • Repair damaged soffits and block access under porches or decks.
  • Trim overhanging tree branches near roofs.

Install Deterrent Devices

Use motion-activated lights, sprinklers, and noisemakers to startle raccoons away:

  • Place bright spotlights triggered by motion sensors near problem areas.
  • Set up motion-activated sprinkler systems along fences, gardens, and roofs.
  • Use ultrasonic, electronic noise or high-pitch frequency devices.
  • String up wind chimes near gardens and entry points. The disturbance will deter raccoons.

Apply Repellents

Repellents create unpleasant scents or sensations to raccoons:

  • Sprinkling blood meal fertilizer around gardens or under decks helps deter raccoons.
  • Spreading granules made with black pepper, garlic, or capsaicin (hot pepper extract) may repel raccoons. Reapply after heavy rains.
  • Soak cotton balls in ammonia and place around gardens or potential den sites. The strong odor drives raccoons away.

Use Live Traps Humanely

If the above methods fail, trapping and removing raccoons may be necessary:

  • Use a sturdy live trap baited with cat food, sardines or peanut butter. Place traps along fences or potential entryways.
  • Check traps daily and release raccoons safely away within 24 hours. Ensure babies are not orphaned.
  • Relocate raccoons at least 5 miles from your property to prevent them from returning. Contact authorities first to find suitable release sites.
  • Avoid relocating nursing mother raccoons between May-July when dependent babies may be present.
  • Never use lethal traps or attempt to poison raccoons. Only release trapped nuisance wildlife during daylight hours.

Prevent Future Raccoon Invasions

Use long-term exclusion methods and deterrents to avoid repeat raccoon issues:

Install One-Way Doors

One-way exclusion doors allow raccoons to exit but not re-enter:

  • Place one-way doors over entry holes or openings. Secure doors in place with screws.
  • After all raccoons have exited, permanently block access points with hardware cloth or metal flashing.

Remove Potential Dens

Raccoons are less likely to settle on properties without suitable denning spots:

  • Remove dilapidated sheds or porches that provide shelter.
  • Cut away overgrown vegetation near buildings.
  • Install chimney caps and screens to block access.
  • Ensure crawl spaces are properly enclosed and vents are covered in 1/4-inch hardware cloth.

Continue Using Deterrents

Consistent use of repellents and scare devices will discourage lingering raccoons:

  • Use motion-activated lights, sounds, and sprinklers during peak activity times like dusk and dawn.
  • Apply organic repellents around gardens and potential entry points monthly.
    -Promptly clean fallen fruits and debris from yards.
    -Keep lids secured on trash and stop pet food from being accessible.

Watch for New Signs

Check for evidence of raccoons regularly:

  • Inspect soffits, vents, and roofs for new damage. Look for droppings around the foundation.
  • Listen for raccoon noises like scratching and vocalizations coming from within walls or the attic.
  • Note holes in screen doors or torn up turf from raccoons digging for grubs.
  • Look for missing fruits or vegetables from gardens.

Prompt action when raccoons attempt to re-enter will reinforce exclusion efforts and maintain control. Discourage raccoons from lingering by immediately applying scare tactics and eliminating any new food sources. Persistence is key to successfully evicting raccoons long-term.

How to Get Raccoons Out of Attics

Raccoons frequently invade attics for denning and raising young. Getting raccoons permanently out of attics involves:

Inspecting the Attic

Pinpoint how raccoons are getting in before taking exclusion steps:

  • Use a flashlight, mirror, or inspection camera to locate entry holes. Common access points include soffit vents, gable vents, fascia boards, unscreened roof and attic vent openings, openings around chimneys, and gaps under eaves.
  • Note signs of an active raccoon den, like nesting material, feces, tracks, shredded insulation, and urine stains. Listen for raccoon noises.
  • Make sure to identify all possible entryways. Raccoons will use alternative holes if main access points are blocked.

Using One-Way Doors

One-way exclusion doors allow raccoons to leave but not re-enter attics:

  • Secure a one-way door over the main attic access point. Weight down the door so raccoons push it open to exit.
  • After verifying raccoons have left the attic, immediately secure exclusion material over entry holes. Avoid entombing baby raccoons.
  • Appropriate exclusion materials include 1/4-inch galvanized hardware cloth, stainless steel mesh, metal flashing, or wire screen. Seal edges with caulk or expanding foam.

Cleaning Up Attic

Thoroughly cleaning and decontaminating attics removes food sources and disease risks:

  • Remove all raccoon feces, urine, and contaminated insulation using proper protective gear. Double bag and dispose of waste.
  • Use an enzyme-based cleaner and odor neutralizer formulated for raccoon urine. Allow the attic to completely dry out.
  • Make any needed repairs to ductwork, electrical wiring, and roofing damaged by raccoons.
  • Install disinfectant dusts labelled safe for attics. The bacteria treatment prevents parasite reinfestation.

Installing Prevention Measures

Take steps to permanently exclude future raccoons:

  • Screen gable vents, eave vents, and roof vents with 1/4-inch hardware cloth or sturdy metal screens.
  • Install electric vent covers over attic fans. The motion-activated cover deters raccoons.
  • Seal any remaining gaps with flashing, lath boards, or caulk. Pay attention to areas around chimneys.
  • Remove overhanging tree branches that could allow roof access.
  • Install chimney caps and vent screens to close additional entry points.

With diligent inspection and proper exclusion, attics can be freed of destructive raccoons and further damage can be avoided. Preventative screening and sealing permanently blocks raccoons from returning.

How to Stop Raccoons from Digging Up Lawns

Raccoons create extensive lawn damage by digging for insect larva. Grubs are a favorite food source that raccoons sniff out and excavate yards searching for. The following methods stop raccoons from uprooting grass to get to grubs:

Apply Grub Control Products

Removing grubs eliminates the food source motivating raccoons to dig:

  • Apply beneficial nematodes between May-July to naturally kill grubs in lawns. The nematodes are safe for people, pets, and plants.
  • Use milky spore powder on lawns to control grubs long-term without chemicals. A single application remains effective for many years.
  • Insecticides containing trichlorfon or carbaryl target and kill grubs if applied early spring and late summer per label directions.

Introduce Predators

Raccoons are less likely to dig in yards patrolled by predator animals:

  • Place plastic owl decoys around the lawn. Move them frequently so raccoons don’t realize they are fake.
  • Install motion-activated sprinklers that simulate predators rushing towards raccoons when triggered.
  • Use an electronic device that emits high-pitched ultrasonic frequencies to frighten raccoons away.
  • Allow pet dogs access to yards to mark territories and deter raccoon activity with their scent.

Use Physical Barriers

Barriers obstruct raccoons from gaining access to dig up lawns:

  • Place large rocks, cinder blocks, or wire fencing over areas raccoons have damaged.
  • Surround gardens and flower beds with a low voltage electric wire fence. The mild shock trains raccoons to avoid.
  • Install heavy duty landscape fabric under rocks or mulch in flower beds to prevent raccoons from rooting in soil.
  • Sprinkle loose thorny branches around the edge of lawns to obstruct digging.

Apply Repellents

Tactile or smell repellents may discourage raccoons from lingering in lawns:

  • Sprinkle blood meal fertilizer or dried blood products along damaged areas. The strong odor and taste repel raccoons.
  • Scatter human hair clippings collected from barbershops or salons around the perimeter of lawns.
  • Place plastic mesh netting just under the grass surface. The texture deters raccoons from digging.
  • Spray repellents made with garlic oil, capsaicin, or citrus oils along fence lines and gardens.

With a combination of grub control, barriers, and deterrents, raccoon burrowing and lawn destruction can be significantly reduced or eliminated. Be vigilant about reapplying treatments as needed to deter persistent raccoons.

How to Keep Raccoons from Eating Fish in Garden Ponds

Raccoons relish fish and will ravage backyard ponds trying to catch them. Protect ornamental fish using these techniques to deter hungry raccoons:

Install Sturdy Fencing

Fencing forms a physical and visual barrier around ponds:

  • Place galvanized steel mesh fencing at least 5 feet high around the pond perimeter. Bury the lower edge 6-12 inches underground to prevent raccoons from digging underneath.
  • Ensure fencing is taut and securely attached to posts to prevent raccoons from pushing through weak areas.
  • Prune back overhanging trees and shrubs to eliminate climbing access over fences. Remove anything raccoons could use as a stepping stone.

Apply Repellents

Repellents make ponds unappealing places for raccoons:

  • Sprinkle blood meal fertilizer around pond edges. Raccoons dislike the strong smell and taste.
  • Arrange thorny pruned rose bush trimmings around the perimeter.
  • Spread coyote or predator urine granules designed to scare away nuisance animals.
  • Place plastic replicas of snakes in vegetation around ponds. The snake shapes startle raccoons away.

Use Deterrent Devices

Devices that produce lights, sounds or movement frighten raccoons:

  • Install motion-activated sprinkler systems. The sudden spray when activated scares off raccoons.
  • Place battery-operated alarms that emit high-pitched sounds triggered by motion sensors.
  • Position flashing lights on pond edges that turn on when raccoons are detected at night.

Remove Access to Nearby Food Sources

Prevent raccoons from lingering near ponds by taking away food sources:

  • Secure garbage cans and eliminate exposed pet food or bird seed that could draw in raccoons.
  • Install electric fences around vegetable gardens and chicken coops raccoons may target.
  • Pick up any fallen fruits from trees and keep compost enclosed.
  • Clean outdoor grills after each use.

With secure fencing and consistent deterrents, raccoons can be effectively dissuaded from ravaging backyard ponds and decimating fish populations. Be diligent about maintaining fences, removing food sources, and reapplying repellents as needed.

How to Keep Raccoons Out of the Garden

Raccoons view gardens as an irresistible buffet. They devour ripening fruits and vegetables and disturb plants with their rooting. Stop raccoons from feasting in gardens using these tactics:

Use Fencing

Fencing forms a protective barrier preventing access:

  • Install galvanized steel mesh fencing at least 5-6 feet tall around garden perimeters. Use mesh size of 1/2-inch or less. Bury lower edges 6-12 inches underground.
  • Ensure fencing is taut with no gaps where raccoons could squeeze through.
  • Use electric fencing designed for deterring small animals. The mild shock teaches raccoons to avoid gardens.

Remove Branches and Debris

Eliminate any debris raccoons could use as climbing aids:

  • Trim back tree branches and shrubs that overhang fences.
  • Keep the area around gardens clear of lumber,equipment, and other climbable objects.
  • Pick up fallen fruits daily so raccoons aren’t drawn into the space.

Apply Tactile Repellents

Unpleasant textures may deter raccoons from entering gardens:

  • Lay chicken wire, plastic netting, or prickly pruned branches around the base of fences.
  • Spread sharp gravel, large rocks, or oyster shells along the perimeter.
  • Arrange pine cones, holly trimmings, or rose bush clippings along the garden edge.

Use Smell and Taste Repellents

Raccoons dislike strong scents and flavors:

  • Sprinkle blood meal fertilizer or dried blood products around the perimeter. Reapply after heavy rains.
  • Spray repellents made with hot pepper wax, garlic oil, or rotten eggs weekly.
  • Soak cloth rags in ammonia and place along fence lines. Re-wet every few days.

Scare with Deterrents

Devices that produce lights, sounds or movement frighten raccoons away:

  • Install motion-activated sprinkler systems along fences that turn on when raccoons are detected.
  • Place battery-powered alarms that emit high-pitched sounds when triggered near garden access points.
  • Position flashing lights or glow-in-the-dark ping pong balls in trees.

A combination of fencing, repellents, and deterrents will convince mischievous raccoons to avoid pillaging from well-protected gardens. Be diligent about maintaining fences, applying repellents, and using scare devices to ensure garden vegetables and fruits don’t become an all-you-can-eat buffet.

How to Stop Raccoons from Eating Cat and Dog Food

Raccoons love easy access to pet food left outdoors. Use these techniques to stop raccoons from consuming cat and dog food:

Feed Pets Indoors

Bringing pet food inside removes an enticing food source for raccoons:

  • Feed cats and dogs measured portions inside the house. After 30 minutes, discard any uneaten food so it’s not accessible.
  • Store dry pet food securely indoors in metal containers with tight lids. Never leave pet food bags outside.
  • Pick up water bowls after pets finish drinking. Only refill bowls with fresh water as needed.

Store Pet Food Securely