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Harmless Ways to Get Rid of Raccoons
Harmless Ways to Get Rid of Raccoons
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When raccoons decide your home is now their home or diner, they can cause extensive damage, far more than merely knocking over trash cans at night. Females looking to nest will rip up shingles and fascia boards to get inside your attic. Once inside, they tear through insulation. These animals can also make their way inside your chimney, under your deck, or into crawl spaces between walls. What's more, raccoons carry parasites and can be aggressive. Luckily, you have numerous options for ridding yourself of these pests.

01

Identifying raccoons

a pair of raccoons Paul Souders / Getty Images

Identifying raccoons as your culprits can be tricky because they're nocturnal. If you think you have a raccoon problem, you can look for clues to tell how often they visit your home and to figure out if they're causing any damage. Evidence of their feeding includes tipped over trash cans, garden damage, emptied pet food bowls, and disturbed compost piles. You may also see footprints and droppings.

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02

Secure your trash

raccoons eating trash Kevin Schafer / Getty Images

Raccoons are scavengers, and leaving your trash outside at night is an excellent way to attract them. If you must have garbage out, make sure it's in a heavy trash can secured with a lid. You can also tie the garbage can to a pole to keep them from knocking it down.

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03

Put in a fence

a raccoon by a fence Devonyu / Getty Images

Raccoons will rummage through gardens, compost piles, and fish ponds searching for food. Your best bet to keep them away is by installing an electric fence, because they're excellent climbers who have no problem scaling a standard one. Another option is to add a single strand of electrified wire to your existing barriers. If the voltage is low, it will just scare them away, not harm them.

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04

Pet urine

raccoons on the lawn Pierre Longnus / Getty Images

Putting your dog or cat's urine around your yard may sound kind of gross, but it could help ward off raccoons. Because raccoons feel threatened by both dogs and cats, the scent of their urine sends a signal for the scavengers to stay clear. If you prefer, use dog or cat fur instead of urine.

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05

Ammonia

a raccoon in a trap KLH49 / Getty Images

Ammonia gives off a strong odor that raccoons don't like — hence the use of animal urine. Dipping cotton balls in ammonia and placing them around your garbage or in other areas you've seen the creatures can fend them off. Be careful other pets and small kids don't get near the chemical, and make sure the odor doesn't creep into your living area.

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06

DIY repellant

a raccoon eating from a dish Anne Wright Dobbelsteyn / Getty Images

Repellant isn't the best way to get rid of raccoons because they can become accustomed to the smell. However, if you want to try this method, certain DIY repellents work reasonably well. Soaking hot peppers in water makes an excellent repellent because the critters don't like the smell of pepper. Other spices act similarly, including black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon.

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07

Trapping

a raccoon in a garbage can Dahrs / Getty Images

If raccoons keep coming back, or if they nest inside your home, trapping may be necessary. Cage traps work very well when combined with proper prevention methods. Read and follow instructions carefully and try to place the cage in an area you've seen the animals. If you aren't comfortable trapping them yourself, call a pest control company.

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08

Proper sanitation

a raccoon eating garbage Lupico / Getty Images

Raccoons have an excellent sense of smell that can pick up on scents inside and outside your home. Proper sanitation can repel raccoons and keep them from rummaging around your house. Regularly clean all trash containers and the area around them and rake up any fruits or vegetables in the garden.

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09

Call a Professional

a family of raccoons dzphotovideo / Getty Images

Professional pest control companies can remove raccoons that have taken up residence around your home. They can also teach you practical ways to repel them and keep them away once they've gone. A technician may want to visit your home to assess the problem and also help point out any damages.

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10

Leave your lights on

raccoons on the roof temmuzcan / Getty Images

Raccoons prefer the dark and may avoid areas with lights. Adding a motion-activated lamp near your garbage bins or other points of interest can help keep raccoons away. Motion-activated lights will startle the animal, making it run away. These lights won't rack up your electric bill as much as ones that stay on all night.

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