For several days, you’ve awakened in the morning to find a little mess in your yard. The trash can is tipped over, the bird feeder has been robbed, and you even spot some droppings here and there. The neighbors’ cat? A stray dog? Maybe, if it weren’t for the tiny, human-like footprints scattered all around. Yep, I am afraid you’ve got raccoons having fun on your property during the night. We’re going to discuss how to keep raccoons out of your house.
Once you see signs of raccoons in your yard, you have no time to waste. Some may think that
raccoons are innocuous as long as they stay in the yard and do not enter the house. Some even
feed the raccoons, moved to compassion by their cute and innocent looks and the
entertainment of watching them eat. But that’s a mistake that could in time cause major problems and cost you a lot of money.
The reasons for keeping raccoons out of your house go beyond the annoyance of having your
trash can tipped over or your garden ravaged. At the end of the day, you can live with that if you
are a wildlife lover. But it is a different scenario if the wildlife is a carrier of dangerous diseases
or may cause severe and costly damages to your property. This is the case with raccoons.
To avoid any damage caused by raccoons, you must first of all keep them out of your yard.
Secondly, even if they visit your property, you need to make sure they cannot find a way into
your house at all. Now let’s look at the best strategies for humanely fighting your battle to get
raccoons out of your house.
How To Deter Raccoons From Your Yard
Several things may make your yard an irresistible attraction for raccoons. Some of your daily
habits or the way you take care of your garden can be reasons why the critters visit your
property. So, if you notice signs of raccoon activity in your yard or if you know that they are living in your area, follow these suggestions. Be diligent, and raccoons will never enter your property or, if they do, you will give them good reasons to leave quickly.
We will not mention “do not feed them” in the list. Since you want to keep raccoons out of your
house, it would be like telling you “don’t walk in the rain if you don’t want to get wet.” It should be so obvious that we believe we can skip it and proceed to the following:
Install motion-activated lighting. Raccoons love to operate in the dark; that’s why they get into action at twilight. Some motion-activated floodlights can be good deterrents for raccoons. Keep in mind that a simple porch light is not enough to deliver the expected results. The light must be powerful enough to saturate the area — only then will the raccoon feel disturbed and unconformable and decide to move somewhere else. A motion-activated light will turn on only when the raccoon passes by, so you do not need to worry about increased electric bills.
Secure your trash can. The main reason raccoons venture onto your property is food, and
your house is an excellent source of it. Raccoons are omnivorous, which means they are not
fussy about food. They will eat anything, and your trash can is like an open supermarket to
them. Make sure that your trash can lid can’t be opened by these animals. You can buy a metal trash can with a sealing lid, or you can use a bungee cord to secure the cover of the one you
have. Since raccoons don’t give up easily, always put a heavy weight on top of the lid as
Remove any pet food at night. If raccoons enjoy the leftover food in your trash can, try to
imagine how happy they are when you serve them a nice bowl of pet food. They absolutely love
it, and it’s like an official invitation to a party. If next to the food you even leave a supply of water, well, a raccoon cannot ask for anything better. Keep your pet’s food and water inside at night, and the raccoons’ party is over.
Cover compost piles. The organic waste you throw into your compost pile is another good
source of food for raccoons. Raccoons can smell rotten fruit or food from very far away. Keep your compost piles covered at all times so the raccoons can’t sense the compost or get in to feed themselves.
Put away bird feeders. Speaking of easy food sources, bird feeders are common in many gardens and raccoons love them. Aside from eating the food, raccoons even break the feeders into pieces. To avoid this, keep the area around the bird feeders clean by removing fallen food from the ground, and put the bird feeders inside at night.
Treat for grubs annually. Have you noticed how raccoons sometimes destroy your garden or flowers? They don’t do it for the sake of vandalism. Even if you don’t see them, there are bugs and insects in your garden that raccoons love to eat. A raccoon can hear and smell the grubs in the soil, and that’s why they dig holes or pull back sod. If you annually treat your garden for grubs, you will destroy a source of food for raccoons and make your yard less appealing to them.
Monitor fruit trees and vegetable gardens. As you wait for your fruits and vegetables to grow so you can finally eat them, raccoons may beat you to it and make a banquet of your crop. Raccoons love vegetables, and when fallen fruit and berries start to rot, they become irresistible to the animals. We’re not saying you shouldn’t grow anything on your property — just make sure you pick up any fallen fruit daily and protect your vegetable garden with an adequate fence (as explained below).
Install an electric fence. Fencing is usually the best way to keep raccoons out of your house, but not just any fence will work for the task. Raccoons can dig and sneak in underneath your fence, so it must extend into the ground. And since raccoons are excellent climbers too, the fence also has to be high enough. For these reasons, netting should be installed at least 1 foot below ground and not be less than 36 inches in height. Chicken wire is a good choice since it is soft and makes climbing unsafe for raccoons. Are you concerned about the way your property looks and don’t really want to see chicken wire here and there? That’s why our suggestion is to opt for an electric fence. It is less invasive, and installing a wire 6 inches above the ground is the best deterrent to the animals. To be on the safe side, you may install a second wire a little higher for complete protection. Make sure your fence is armed only at night since raccoons won’t be around before twilight.
Protect stacks of firewood. Another objective for a raccoon visiting your property is to look for a den. A pile of wood can make a perfect shelter for a raccoon’s family. A stack of wood could even be used as a latrine, and this is not a good thing due to the dangers associated with raccoon droppings. Make sure your pile of firewood is properly protected and not accessible by raccoons.
Beware of low areas in your yard. Low areas in your yard or garden collect and retain water, which makes raccoons downright euphoric. If you see stagnant water in your yard, fill up the area with dirt or make sure the water can drain away quickly. Check your downspouts to see if they work properly and are not collecting water, especially against the walls of your house.
Secure fish ponds. Why would a raccoon be interested into your fish pond? Obviously the pond is a good source of water, but that’s not all. If you have fish in the pond, the raccoon may feed on them. Ponds are also very useful for washing food. Yes, raccoons love to wash their food before eating it and your pond is perfect for the job. The best way to protect your pond is to set a fence around it as explained above.
Swimming pools. You’re not the only one who loves your swimming pool. Raccoons also love to swim, take a bath and, unfortunately, sometimes poop in your pool. Not a good scenario, right? If at all possible, keep your pool covered at night or install a fence all the way around it. In any case, if you find raccoon droppings around or in the pool or if you’ve found a dead raccoon in the water, close the pool to swimmers and call a wildlife specialist. The chlorine in the water won’t kill roundworm eggs, the most dangerous disease carried by raccoons. The water could be contaminated, posing a threat to you and your family. A wildlife specialist like Get Raccoons Out will help you to decontaminate the area and make your swimming pool safe again.
How To Repel Raccoons From Your House
Having raccoons around your yard is annoying and destructive. But it is nothing compared to what raccoons can do if they enter your house and make a den out of your attic, chimney or walls. The damage caused by raccoons can be severe and extremely costly to fix — not to mention the dangers posed to your health, with children being the most easily exposed.
Raccoons are ingenious and destructive and they can quickly find a way into your house. Never underestimate their ability to find an opportunity to make your house their new den. You should regularly inspect your house, look for potential weak points and promptly fix them.
These are the most important things to pay attention to:
Vents and fan openings. These are an all-time raccoon favorite. Nothing is more comfortable and easy for getting inside your house than a poorly protected hole in your wall. Standard screens generally are not good protection since raccoons can easily tear them apart. We suggest you to secure your vents and fan openings with heavy-duty steel screens that are strong enough to resist any raccoon’s attempt to break in.
Chimney. As in the case of vents and fan openings, your chimney is a beautiful invitation to the neighborhood raccoon to make a new den. In this case, it is enough to install a steel chimney cap to prevent the problem. Before installation, however, check ventilation regulations in your area so as not to hinder your chimney’s efficiency.
Tree branches adjacent your house. Since raccoons are good climbers, tree branches that extend over your house make the perfect entryway into your home. Once the raccoon is on your roof, nothing is easier than to inspect every corner until he finds a way in. Trim back tree
branches regularly to keep them far enough away from your house.
Roof. The roof should regularly be inspected. Raccoons are stronger than many people think. Sometimes they can rip apart shingles and wooden roofing. A small gap around the eaves or where the wall meets the roof is enough for a raccoon’s dexterous fingers to tear off siding or wood planks. If you find any of these weak points, fix them using heavy-duty siding, solid wood and several screws to secure them firmly.
Deck. When a raccoon is looking for a new den, the area under your deck is a convenient place to find a quiet, dark and dry shelter. As you can imagine, you need to block any access to this area. The easiest solution is to protect the entrance with wire mesh that must be buried at least one foot below ground as explained in the fencing section above.
Cat or dog door. This may sound obvious but it’s often overlooked by many. Just as your pets can comfortably enter and exit your house through these little doors, so can a raccoon — and he doesn’t even need to look for a hole or climb onto your roof to do it! Always lock your cat or dog door during the night.
Do You Need A Wildlife Specialist To Get Raccoons Out Of Your House?
Following the above suggestions is usually enough to get raccoons out of your house. There are other techniques that people use, like repellents or noises, but since their effectiveness is not as clear as that of the methods we indicated, we decided not to include them in the list. And we won’t mention those methods that are not at all humane (and are often against the law).
It’s up to you now to determine the degree of your problem. If you’re dealing with just one raccoon, the above methods can easily be the solution to your issues. If the infestation is of a more serious nature, do not waste too much time before calling a wildlife specialist like Get Raccoons Out. A specialist will put a definitive end to your problem and will save you a lot of
money in terms of removal and repair if a raccoon successfully makes it into your house.