The Rocky Facts About Getting Rid Of Raccoons

If you have holes in your lawn in the morning and plants knocked over, if you hear funny noises at night that sound like a prowler, you may want to know about getting rid of raccoons. When I was upstairs one night, I looked out a small window that opened directly onto the roof -- and there was a raccoon staring right at me.  They are not scared of people -- but they are nothing to be scared of either. Except that they can transmit rabies. They have bushy tails and are about 10-20 pounds.  Although they usually come out at night, one came up to be just outside our sliding glass door in broad daylight and started nibbling on my toe.  That is unusual!

Raccoons are funny and cute, but they terrorize pets, dig up lawns, and ruin gardens.  Another incident in our yard will teach you they don’t just like food and water, they may take personal belongings as trophies!  They will steal your shoes and move your garden tools around the yard.  One morning I woke up and my tennis shoes that I left just outside the door were missing. One had been moved up on the patio and the other was nowhere to be seen.  I looked at the one and it had teeth marks all over it.  My neighbor came by and said, “Have kids been coming in your yard and messing with things? My garden tools and broom have been moved around the yard.”  “No”, I said, and I instantly knew it had to be the raccoons.  I told her about my shoes, and we both had a good laugh.

I did find my other shoe a week later behind a bush - it seemed as if they intentionally hid it, to show their cleverness.  Either that, or the rubber shoe sole was all they could find to eat!

Another way to tell if they’ve been around is they seem to converse with each other in high pitched sounds that resemble a baby crying. Getting rid of raccoons may seem like a big challenge but the things they are after on your property can easily be removed, causing them to seek their sustenance in another yard.

Big attractors are pet food or water dishes, and human garbage. If they’ve been around, the water will be cloudy with dirt. They are attracted to any body of water -- such as ponds, pools and fountains.  These guys eat everything -- insects, small mammals, seeds, berries, other fruits and vegetables. If you have secured the garbage and removed pet food and water and they are still attracted to your pool, pond or other unchangeable water or food sources (i.e. fruit trees or shrubs, your produce patch), the next thing to try is motion sensor lights or sprinklers. 

Other deterrents include cayenne pepper sprinkled in areas they’ve been digging, commercial products applied to plants that cause a bitter taste, and regular ammonia. 

To use ammonia:  You need several small bowl and rags. Put a rag in each bowl and soak with ammonia.  Then add about 1-2 inches of ammonia to the bowl.  Place ammonia bowls in spots frequented by the varmints.   They are repulsed by the smell.   Leave bowls out all night.

If raccoons have gotten into your chimney, attic or basement, you need to provide food that will draw them out and them cover the entrances. Repair any screens or openings under the house or other passage ways. Once drawn out, use the above measures to get them to move on.

There are also electric wire fences to deter them. These can be placed around a pond, or sections of the garden.  With some time and effort, you will find that getting rid of raccoons is doable, and not too expensive.