Want to know how to get rid of raccoons? Learn all about raccoons—including the various species of raccoons you may find near your home or business—and your options to relocate and prevent them from returning.

Quick Facts

  • Raccoons are named after their behavior of washing food before eating it if they have access to a water source and for their dexterous hands
  • A group of raccoons is called a nursery
  • They can fall 35 to 40 feet without injury
  • The black coloring around their eyes are thought to help reduce glare and boost night vision
  • Life expectancy in the wild is anywhere from 1-3 years but can live up to 20 years in captivity
  • In the winter, raccoons do not hibernate; instead, they sleep in dens for weeks on end
  • Raccoons have a running speed of up to 15 miles per hour
  • Studies show that raccoons can remember how to solve tasks for up to three years
  • Humans introduced them to other parts of the world such as Germany, Russia, and Japan
  • Raccoons are native to North and South America. In total, there are three main species of raccoons. These animals are known for being clever, nocturnal foragers. They are excellent climbers due to their dexterous front paws and use that to their advantage when searching for food and shelter. Raccoons eat both plants and animals. They live in a wide range of different habitats, from forests and deserts to rainforests, wetlands, and even human environments. Their omnivorous diets often lead them to search for food in areas where humans are present. The main species we will focus on is the northern raccoon. Raccoons are very creative creatures that are good at find food in difficult places but can get into places that they shouldn’t. These sly creatures have been labeled thieves, as they are primarily just scavengers for opportunistic food sources like trash and even fish ponds.

    Northern raccoons are a distinctively marked, stocky animal. They have a prominent black mask over their eyes and a heavily furred, ringed tail. Body fur color is a combination of white, light gray, and black. Adults are about two to three feet in length and weigh from 14-23 pounds. Occasional large specimens weigh anywhere from 36-38 pounds.

    Raccoons tend to make their dens in hollow trees, ground burrows, rock crevices, and brush patches. In cities, they can live in wall voids, storm sewers, and other underground places.

    Find a solution to your Raccon control problem.

    What You Need To Know About The Northern Raccoon

    • What do northern raccoons look like?

      • Mask of black fur around the eyes

      • Grayish-brown fur

      • Alternating light and dark rings on its tail

      • Length ranges from 24-38 inches

      • Long hind legs and shorter front legs

      • Has a dexterous front paw with five fingers

    • What do northern raccoons eat?

      • They are omnivores that eat both plants and animals

      • Fruits, plants, nuts, berries, insects

      • Rodents, frogs, eggs, and crayfish

      • In urban or human settings, they will eat trash and pet food

    • Where do northern raccoons live?

      • They can be found throughout North America

      • Often make dens in hollowed out trees or burrows in the ground

      • In urban settings, will take shelter in abandoned buildings, barns, and other structural openings that offer a warm and dry place to live

    What You Need To Know About Northern Raccoon Infestations

    • What are the signs of a northern raccoon infestation?

      • Look out for footprints (five toes/fingers that are about four inches long)

      • Scratch marks on trees and building entryways

      • Droppings

      • Tipped over garbage cans with trash strewn out

      • Shuffling and scratching noises coming from the roof or inside building walls

      • They are nocturnal and are not very active during the day

    • Why do northern raccoons invade my home or business?

      • There are openings into your building

      • Access to food and water

    • How do I get rid of northern raccoons?

      • First, check local laws on trapping and relocating raccoons

      • Consult a pest professional

      • Use a live trap like the Kage-All® Small Animal Trap to capture and relocate the raccoons

      • Use fruit or marshmallows for bait in the live trap

    Tips To Prevent Northern Raccoon Infestations

      • Cut back tree limbs that are close to the house or structure roofline

      • Put away pet food that is left out in the open

      • Get more secure lids for your trash cans

      • Patch up any holes or opens into your home or building (cap chimneys)

      • Remove dead trees from around your property

      • Remove woodpiles or other piles of junk that could be used as a shelter

    The best method for getting rid of raccoons is live-trapping and relocation. Set cage traps, such as the Kage-All® Small Animal Trap for raccoons along their pathways and near their living areas.

    In situations where raccoons are causing problems with domestic fowls, such as chickens, it is best to locate cage traps directly along the side of the building or pen the raccoon is raiding.

    In barns, conceal cage traps directly among bales and other agricultural stock.

    To capture raccoons living in chimneys, it is best to devise some way of attaching the cage trap to the top of the chimney. Then, go inside and drive the raccoon up and into the trap. If attached to the chimney, make sure the trap is stabilized, level, and secure for the trap to work correctly.

    With the exception of chimney top sets and trail sets, all cage traps must be baited with a good, visible, enticing bait. The odor of the bait is essential. The use of a good prepared bait or lure with a strong, sweet smell is recommended.

    Be sure to anchor all raccoon traps securely.

    Good baits for raccoons are fish, sardines, herring, crayfish, frogs, or something sweet like honey. Some cage trappers have good luck using sweet rolls for bait. Eggs are an excellent visual attractant. A piece of bread with peanut butter and honey also works well as bait. There are commercial baits available that work well, mainly if used in combination with some other visual type of bait.

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