How to Deter Raccoons (Comprehensive Guide)

Raccoons can be a major nuisance, causing damage to property and wreaking havoc in our yards. If you’re tired of dealing with these pesky critters, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we will provide you with effective techniques and natural deterrents to keep raccoons away from your property, ensuring a raccoon-free environment that is safe for you and your family.

how to deter raccoons

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding raccoon behavior is crucial for implementing effective prevention techniques.
  • Removing food sources, such as securing trash cans and storing pet food indoors, can deter raccoons.
  • Sealing entry points and installing fencing can prevent raccoons from accessing your property.
  • Using repellents, scare tactics, and live traps are humane options for deterring raccoons.
  • Maintaining regular preventive measures is essential for long-term raccoon control.

Understanding Raccoon Behavior

Raccoons are fascinating creatures with unique behaviors and habits that contribute to their adaptability and survival in various environments. Understanding raccoon behavior is essential for effectively deterring them from your property and preventing potential damage.

Raccoon Habits:

  • Raccoons are primarily nocturnal animals, which means they are most active during the night. They have excellent night vision and use their keen sense of hearing and smell to locate food sources.
  • These intelligent animals are opportunistic feeders and have a diverse diet that includes fruits, vegetables, insects, small animals, garbage, and even pet food.
  • Raccoons are agile climbers and can easily scale trees, fences, and structures. They have dexterous front paws that enable them to manipulate objects and open containers like trash cans.
  • They are also skilled swimmers and can traverse bodies of water with ease. Water sources near your property may attract raccoons.
  • Raccoons are curious and persistent creatures. Once they find a reliable food source or nesting site, they will continue to return to the area unless deterrent measures are implemented.

Ensuring the Safety of Humans and Raccoons:

It is important to remember that raccoons are wild animals and should not be approached or handled without professional assistance. They may carry diseases and become aggressive when cornered or threatened.

If you suspect a raccoon infestation or need to remove a raccoon from your property, it is recommended to contact a wildlife control agency or professional pest control service that specializes in humane raccoon trapping and removal.

Raccoon Trapping:

In some cases, trapping raccoons may be necessary to address a persistent problem. However, it is crucial to trap raccoons safely and humanely to avoid causing unnecessary harm to these animals. Live cage traps can be used, baited with appropriate food such as marshmallows or cat food, and checked regularly to ensure trapped raccoons are released in suitable habitats away from human dwellings.

Removing Food Sources

Raccoons are attracted to food sources outside your home, such as trash cans, pet food, bird feeders, and compost. Securing your trash cans with tight-fitting lids or using animal-proof trash cans can help prevent raccoons from accessing them. Keeping pet food indoors and cleaning up bird feeders regularly can also deter raccoons from visiting your property.

By eliminating raccoon attractants, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of raccoons becoming a nuisance on your property. Here are some effective methods to remove common food sources:

  • Securing trash cans: Raccoons are notorious for rummaging through garbage in search of food. Use trash cans with tight-fitting lids or consider investing in animal-proof trash cans to prevent raccoons from accessing your waste.
  • Pet food storage: Keep pet food indoors, especially overnight. Leaving pet food outside can attract raccoons and other wildlife to your property.
  • Cleaning up bird feeders: Raccoons are opportunistic feeders and will readily visit bird feeders for easy meals. Clean up any spilled birdseed regularly and consider using raccoon-resistant bird feeders or hanging them in areas that are difficult for raccoons to reach.
  • Compost management: If you have a compost pile, make sure to secure it with a closed bin or cover to prevent raccoons from being attracted to the organic waste.

By implementing these measures, you can reduce the availability of food sources and make your property less appealing to raccoons.

Sealing Entry Points

Raccoons can enter homes through small openings and gaps, such as attics, crawl spaces, chimneys, and other areas. Sealing these entry points is crucial to prevent raccoons from gaining access to your property and causing damage. Here are some effective methods for sealing gaps and openings:

1. Wire Mesh:

Use wire mesh to cover openings, vents, and gaps that raccoons can squeeze through. Secure the mesh tightly to ensure there are no gaps or loose ends. This will prevent raccoons from entering your home while still allowing for proper ventilation.

2. Silicone Caulk or Expanding Foam:

Seal smaller gaps or cracks with silicone caulk or expanding foam. Apply these materials to areas where raccoons can squeeze in, such as gaps around pipes, utility entrances, and cracks in the walls. Make sure to fill the gaps completely to prevent raccoons from finding their way in.

3. Chimney Cap Installation:

Raccoons often seek shelter in chimneys, making it important to install a chimney cap. A chimney cap acts as a barrier, preventing raccoons from entering and nesting in your chimney. Ensure the cap is securely attached and properly fitted to prevent any gaps or openings.

Common Entry Points Sealing Method
Attics Wire mesh, silicone caulk, or expanding foam
Crawl Spaces Wire mesh, silicone caulk, or expanding foam
Chimneys Chimney cap installation
Utility Entrances Wire mesh, silicone caulk, or expanding foam
Wall Cracks Wire mesh, silicone caulk, or expanding foam

By sealing these entry points, you can effectively prevent raccoons from accessing your home and causing damage. Regularly inspect your property for any gaps or openings, and promptly seal them to maintain a raccoon-free environment.

Fencing as a Barrier to Deter Raccoons

One effective method to deter raccoons from entering your property is by installing a sturdy and secure fence. A well-built fence can act as a physical barrier, preventing raccoons from accessing your yard or home. When designing a raccoon deterrent fence, it is important to consider the materials used and the height of the fence.

Wood or vinyl fences are recommended for raccoon prevention as they are difficult for raccoons to climb. These solid materials provide a more secure barrier compared to chain-link or wire fences, which raccoons can easily scale.

Fencing Material Pros Cons
Wood Durable, provides privacy, difficult to climb Requires regular maintenance, higher cost
Vinyl Low maintenance, long-lasting, difficult to climb Higher initial cost

If you want to make your fence even more effective, you can consider installing an electric fence. Electric fences emit a mild electric shock when touched, deterring raccoons and preventing them from attempting to enter your property. However, it is important to note that electric fences may not be suitable for all homeowners, especially those with children or pets.

When installing a raccoon deterrent fence, ensure that it is at least 4 feet in height, as raccoons are agile climbers. Additionally, bury the bottom of the fence at least 12 inches underground to prevent raccoons from digging their way underneath.

Key Points:

  • Install a sturdy fence made of wood or vinyl to deter raccoons.
  • Avoid chain-link or wire fences as raccoons can easily climb them.
  • Consider an electric fence for added effectiveness, if suitable for your situation.
  • Make sure the fence is at least 4 feet high and bury the bottom portion to prevent digging.

By implementing these fencing measures, you can create a physical barrier that significantly reduces the likelihood of raccoons invading your property. Remember to regularly inspect and maintain the fence to ensure its effectiveness as a deterrent.

Using Repellents and Scare Tactics

If you’ve tried other methods but still have raccoons causing trouble on your property, it may be time to consider using repellents and scare tactics. These techniques can create an unpleasant environment for raccoons and deter them from returning. There are a variety of commercial and DIY raccoon repellents available that utilize scents or tastes that raccoons find unpleasant. These repellents can be applied to specific areas or objects that raccoons frequent, such as trash cans or garden plants.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of repellents may vary depending on the specific brand or formula you choose. Some repellents may work better than others, and it may take some trial and error to find the one that works best for your situation. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and reapply as needed.

In addition to repellents, scare tactics can also help deter raccoons. Motion-activated sprinklers are a popular option as they startle raccoons with sudden bursts of water. This can make raccoons wary of returning to your property and disrupt their regular routines, encouraging them to look for alternative sources of food and shelter. Other scare tactics include using bright lights, loud noises, or even predator decoys to create a threatening environment that raccoons will want to avoid.

Effectiveness of Repellents and Scare Tactics

The effectiveness of repellents and scare tactics in deterring raccoons can vary from case to case. While some homeowners report great success with these methods, others may find that raccoons are less deterred. Factors such as the persistence of raccoons, the availability of alternative food sources, and the layout of your property can all impact the effectiveness of these techniques. It’s important to combine repellents and scare tactics with other preventive measures, such as securing trash cans and sealing entry points, for maximum effectiveness.

Repellent/Scare Tactic Pros Cons
Commercial Repellents Convenient and easy to use May contain chemicals that can be harmful to pets or the environment
DIY Repellents Cost-effective and customizable May require frequent reapplication
Motion-Activated Sprinklers Effective at startling and deterring raccoons May not be suitable for all outdoor areas, may startle other wildlife or pets
Bright Lights/Loud Noises Can create a threatening environment for raccoons May be inconvenient for homeowners, can disturb neighbors

Remember, no single method is guaranteed to work in all situations, so it’s important to be persistent and use a combination of techniques to effectively deter raccoons from your property.

Live Trapping and Relocation

Raccoons can be persistent pests that may require live trapping and relocation to effectively remove them from your property. Live trapping provides a humane solution for dealing with raccoons, allowing you to safely capture them and release them in a more suitable habitat.

Live cage traps are commonly used for raccoon removal. These traps should be strategically placed in areas where raccoons frequent, such as near trash cans or along their travel routes. Baiting the trap with food that raccoons find enticing can increase the chances of successful trapping.

However, it is important to follow local regulations regarding trapping and relocating wildlife. Some jurisdictions may require permits or have specific guidelines in place. It is recommended to contact wildlife control agencies for assistance with live trapping and relocating raccoons. These agencies have the expertise and resources to handle raccoons safely and ensure their successful relocation.

Potential Benefits of Live Trapping and Relocation:

  • Humane approach to raccoon removal
  • Reduces the risk of raccoons causing damage to your property
  • Prevents further raccoon infestations

“Live trapping provides a humane solution for dealing with raccoons, allowing you to safely capture them and release them in a more suitable habitat.”

Pros Cons
Humane approach to raccoon removal Requires knowledge of local regulations and permits
Reduces the risk of raccoons causing damage to your property May not be effective for large raccoon populations
Prevents further raccoon infestations Requires assistance from wildlife control agencies

Live trapping and relocation can be an effective method for removing raccoons from your property while minimizing harm to the animals. It is important to approach live trapping with caution and follow local regulations to ensure a successful and ethical raccoon removal process.

Addressing Raccoon Infestations

Raccoon infestations can be a persistent problem that requires professional pest control intervention. When dealing with a severe raccoon infestation or raccoons in hard-to-reach areas like attics or walls, it is best to seek the expertise of pest control professionals. They have the knowledge, experience, and proper equipment to safely and effectively remove raccoons from your property.

Professional pest control services can assess the extent of the infestation, identify entry points, and develop a customized plan to eradicate the raccoons. They may employ techniques such as live trapping or exclusion methods to safely remove the raccoons from your property. Additionally, pest control professionals can address any damage caused by the infestation and provide recommendations for attic clean-up.

Attic clean-up is crucial after a raccoon infestation to eliminate potential health risks and prevent further pest problems. Raccoons can contaminate attics with their droppings, urine, and parasites. Professional pest control services can thoroughly clean and sanitize the affected areas, ensuring the removal of any hazardous substances and restoring the attic to a safe and habitable condition.

Raccoon Infestation: Professional Pest Control Benefits

  • Expertise in raccoon behavior and removal techniques
  • Safe and humane raccoon removal methods
  • Identification and sealing of entry points
  • Attic clean-up and sanitation services
  • Prevention strategies to avoid future infestations

When faced with a raccoon infestation, it is important to take prompt action to protect your property and ensure the safety of your family. Consulting with professional pest control services can provide the most effective and efficient solution to address the raccoon infestation and prevent any further damage or health risks.

Protecting Gardens and Bird Feeders

Raccoons can be a major nuisance when it comes to gardens and bird feeders. Their foraging habits can lead to destroyed plants and disrupted bird feeding areas. Fortunately, there are effective strategies to raccoon-proof your gardens and deter these pesky creatures from your bird feeders. By implementing the right deterrents and using raccoon-resistant fencing, you can enjoy your outdoor spaces without worrying about raccoon damage.

Protecting Gardens

One of the best ways to protect your garden from raccoons is by installing raccoon-resistant fencing. This type of fencing is typically made from sturdy materials such as metal or wood and is designed to be tall enough to deter raccoons from climbing over. The fencing should be buried at least 12 inches below the ground to prevent raccoons from digging underneath. Additionally, you can add an electric wire at the top of the fence to further discourage raccoons from attempting to climb over.

Another effective method to protect gardens is by using motion-activated sprinklers. These sprinklers detect movement and spray a burst of water, scaring away raccoons and other animals. Place the sprinklers strategically around your garden to provide comprehensive coverage. This method is not only effective but also safe for the environment and non-harmful to raccoons.

Deterring Raccoons from Bird Feeders

Raccoons are notorious for raiding bird feeders, but there are deterrents you can use to keep them at bay. One option is to hang baffles near your bird feeders. Baffles are cone-shaped devices that prevent raccoons from climbing up the pole or tree where the bird feeder is hung. They create a barrier that raccoons cannot pass, protecting the bird feeders from being accessed.

Another effective deterrent for raccoons is using thin poles to hang bird feeders. Raccoons find it challenging to climb thin poles, making it difficult for them to reach the bird feeders. By using poles with a diameter of less than 2 inches, you can effectively deter raccoons and keep your bird feeders safe.

Remember, it’s important to regularly monitor and maintain your gardens and bird feeders to ensure the effectiveness of these deterrents. Check for any signs of raccoon activity and make necessary adjustments to your protective measures. With these strategies in place, you can enjoy the beauty of your gardens and the presence of birds without the interference of raccoons.

Raccoons in Specific Areas

Raccoons can seek shelter in various areas of your property, such as attics, decks, and chimneys. It’s important to address these specific areas to prevent raccoon entry and avoid potential damage. Here are some strategies for dealing with raccoons in these specific areas:

Raccoons in Attics

Raccoons in attics can cause extensive damage and create a nuisance. To prevent raccoons from entering your attic:

  • Seal any openings or gaps in the roof or attic with wire mesh or similar materials.
  • Trim tree branches that provide access to the attic.
  • Remove any food sources or potential attractants from the attic.
  • Consider using devices like ultrasonic deterrents or bright lights to discourage raccoons from entering.

Raccoons Under Decks

Raccoons may find the space under your deck an attractive nesting area. To deter raccoons from this area:

  • Install a sturdy barrier, such as hardware cloth, around the bottom of the deck to prevent raccoon entry.
  • Regularly inspect and seal any openings or gaps that raccoons may use to access the area.
  • Remove any potential food sources or garbage near the deck.
  • Consider using motion-activated sprinklers or ultrasonic devices to discourage raccoons from nesting under the deck.

Raccoons in Chimneys

Raccoons may find chimneys an attractive nesting spot due to their dark and sheltered nature. To keep raccoons out of your chimney:

  • Install a chimney cap or spark arrestor to prevent raccoon entry while still allowing for proper ventilation.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain the chimney structure to ensure there are no openings or gaps for raccoons to access.
  • Consider using chimney caps with mesh screens to prevent raccoons from entering.
  • If you suspect raccoons are already nesting in the chimney, seek professional assistance in safely removing them.
Common Areas Raccoons Seek Shelter Preventive Measures
Attics Seal openings with wire mesh, trim tree branches, remove food sources, use deterrent devices.
Under Decks Install barriers, seal gaps, remove food sources, use deterrent devices.
Chimneys Install chimney caps or spark arrestors, inspect and maintain chimney structure, use caps with mesh screens, seek professional assistance if necessary.

The Importance of Regular Maintenance

Maintaining a clean and well-maintained yard is crucial in preventing raccoon infestations and protecting your property. By implementing regular maintenance practices and following simple preventive strategies, you can significantly reduce the risk of raccoons taking up residence on your premises.

Create a Property Maintenance Schedule

  • Regularly inspect your property for any potential entry points where raccoons can gain access, such as gaps in fences, holes in walls, or uncapped chimneys.
  • Trim trees and vegetation, ensuring that branches are at least 10 feet away from any structures to prevent raccoons from using them as a bridge to your home.
  • Secure trash cans with tight-fitting lids and place them in a locked shed or garage until the morning of trash collection day.
  • Keep your yard clean and free of debris, as raccoons are attracted to potential food sources like fallen fruits or unsecured compost piles.

Regular maintenance not only helps deter raccoons, but it also promotes a clean and safe environment for you and your family.

“A well-maintained property is an effective raccoon deterrent.”

Seek Professional Help

If you are unsure about how to address raccoon prevention or suspect a raccoon infestation, it is best to seek the assistance of professional pest control services or wildlife control agencies. These experts have the knowledge and experience to effectively remove raccoons and provide guidance on preventing future infestations.

Remember, property maintenance is an ongoing responsibility that requires diligence and consistency. By adopting a proactive approach and implementing regular maintenance practices, you can safeguard your property from raccoons and promote a clean and inviting outdoor space.


In conclusion, there are various raccoon control methods available that can help you effectively prevent raccoon infestations and maintain a raccoon-free environment. By implementing humane raccoon deterrents and following effective raccoon prevention strategies, you can keep these pests away from your property.

Understanding raccoon behavior is key to implementing successful deterrent strategies. By removing food sources and securing trash cans, pet food, and bird feeders, you can significantly reduce raccoon attraction to your property.

Sealing entry points and installing fencing as a barrier can further discourage raccoons from entering your premises. Additionally, using repellents and scare tactics can create an unpleasant environment for raccoons, making them less likely to return.

Remember, regular maintenance is essential for long-term raccoon prevention. By consistently implementing preventive measures, such as property upkeep and keeping a clean yard, you can effectively deter raccoons and maintain a raccoon-free environment for the long term.


Are raccoons dangerous?

While raccoons can be destructive and carry diseases, they generally avoid confrontations with humans. However, it is important to take precautions to prevent raccoon infestations and keep them away from your property.

How can I prevent raccoons from rummaging through my trash cans?

Securing your trash cans with tight-fitting lids or using animal-proof trash cans can help deter raccoons from accessing them. Additionally, keeping your trash cans clean and odor-free can make them less attractive to raccoons.

How can I keep raccoons out of my attic?

Sealing any gaps or openings in your attic with wire mesh, silicone caulk, or expanding foam can prevent raccoons from entering. It is also important to install a chimney cap to keep raccoons out of your chimney.

What kind of fencing is effective for keeping raccoons out?

Solid materials like wood or vinyl are recommended for fencing, as raccoons can easily climb chain-link or wire fences. Electric fences are the most effective option, but they may not be suitable for every homeowner.

Are there any natural repellents or scare tactics that can deter raccoons?

There are various commercial and DIY raccoon repellents available that utilize scents or tastes that raccoons find unpleasant. Scare tactics like motion-activated sprinklers or loud noises can also startle raccoons and make them wary of returning to your property.

What should I do if I find a raccoon on my property?

Live trapping is a humane option for removing raccoons, but it is important to follow local regulations and contact wildlife control agencies for assistance with relocating trapped raccoons. They have the expertise and resources for proper handling.

When should I seek professional pest control for raccoon infestations?

If you are dealing with a severe raccoon infestation or have raccoons in difficult-to-reach areas like attics or walls, it may be necessary to seek professional pest control services. They have the knowledge and equipment to safely and effectively remove raccoons and address any damage they may have caused.

How can I protect my gardens and bird feeders from raccoons?

Protecting gardens with raccoon-proof fencing or barriers can prevent raccoons from accessing plants and crops. Bird feeders can be made raccoon-resistant by using baffles or hanging them from thin poles that are difficult for raccoons to climb.

What should I do if I have raccoons in my attic or under my deck?

Special attention should be given to sealing gaps and installing wire mesh barriers to keep raccoons out of attics and under decks. Chimneys should be secured with caps or spark arrestors to prevent raccoon nesting.

How often should I maintain preventive measures to keep raccoons away?

Regular maintenance is key to preventing raccoon infestations and keeping them away from your property. This includes securing trash cans, trimming trees and vegetation, repairing any damage to fences or structures, and keeping a clean yard free of debris and potential food sources.

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