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.

RACCOON FACTS

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 salt and pepper gray and black. Adults are about two to three feet in length, and weigh from 12 to 30 pounds. There are occasional large specimens weighing from 36-38 pounds.

Raccoons location their dens in hollow trees, ground burrows, rock crevices and brush patches.

In cities, they live in storm sewers and other subterranean places.

Behavior

Raccoons are nocturnal, although they are sometimes active during the daytime, especially on cloudy days and in the spring. They usually stay in their dens during the winter, but will come out during warm periods.

Raccoons fear nothing and will live close to people. In rural areas, raccoons will stay in barns and other outbuildings.

Raccoons are very good climbers and are often seen high in the branches of a tree on a moonlit night.

Beware of a raccoon's temper. They have a nasty disposition when cornered or caged, so do not provoke them.

SIGNS

Often, the only noticeable sign left by a raccoon is the disturbance they have created. Garbage cans tipped over and garbage strewn about, sweet corn patches stripped of ripe corn, and poultry kills with dead birds partially eaten near the spot, are some common signs left by nuisance raccoons.

Tracks

Raccoon tracks are very distinctive. They resemble the hand and foot prints of humans. Look for tracks in muddy areas or along travel ways the raccoon is using.

Home and Garden Damage

Raccoons often cause problems in residential areas when house chimneys replace the tree cavities they normally live in. This is a problem because the raccoons can get stuck and when a fire is lit, or a furnace is running, carbon monoxide fumes can back up and suffocate the occupants of the building.

In domestic gardens, raccoons damage far more than they eat. They ransack corn stalks, pull back the husks and eat the ears. Raccoons will break holes in watermelons and scoop out the insides.

Harm to Livestock

When raccoons raid poultry pens, they leave telltale signs that identify them as the perpetrator of the damage. Heads of the birds are usually bitten off and left some distance away from the body. Several birds may be injured or killed by raccoons reaching through the cage wires and attempting to pull them back through the mesh. Eggs may be removed completely from the nest or they may be eaten on the spot.

RACCOON TRAPPING TIPS

Set cage traps 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 properly.

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 important. 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 a good visual attractant. A piece of bread with peanut butter and honey also works well as a bait. There are commercial baits available that work well, particularly if used in combination with some other visual type of a bait.

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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