Raccoons are known for coming out at night in both urban and suburban areas to scavenge for food.
If you’re being terrorized by raccoons in your backyard and are looking for a solution, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I will explore some key information on raccoons, as well as how to get rid of raccoons in your backyard.
What's In This Article
What Are Raccoons?
Raccoons are mammals and are found throughout North America. They are nocturnal, meaning they usually come out at night. They are also very adaptable and can survive in urban areas.
If you’re being terrorized by raccoons in your backyard, don’t despair. There are ways to get rid of raccoons and keep them from returning.
9 Tips To Get Raccoons Out Of Your Property… And Keep Them Away
There are several ways to remove raccoons from your property. The easiest way is to call a professional wildlife removal company. These companies specialize in removing raccoons and other nuisance animals.
However, if you’d rather avoid calling pest control, there are other ways.
1. Remove Tempting Food Sources
Raccoons are one of the most common scavengers in North America, so the main reason that raccoons (and other pests such as skunks) are in your backyard is that they’re searching for scraps of food.
People often underestimate how resourceful these scavengers can be, and this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when leaving food out for a raccoon to swipe.
To discourage them from entering your backyard, it’s highly recommended that you keep the lid of your trash cans firmly shut or store them in a secure garage that raccoons have no way of entering.
You should avoid leaving any sources of food lying around.
This means that you should avoid leaving cat food on the floor of your porch, and bird feeds out in bird feeders.
Alternatively, you can buy a raccoon stopper (here are some good ones) from a variety of online retailers to prevent any raccoons from accessing your bird feeder.
2. Clean Up Your Yard Regularly
Another thing that will deter raccoons from visiting your yard is cleaning up after yourself. If you leave food lying around, then you’ll attract raccoons who will eventually become accustomed to finding food in your yard.
You should clean up all of your pet waste immediately. This includes dog poop, which can attract a variety of vermin.
3. Make Your Home And Backyard Less Accessible
One of the easiest ways to deter raccoons is making sure that their access to your yard is limited.
It’s important to note that if given the opportunity to do so, raccoons can set up nests in places such as your garage, basement, and even your attic if you’re not careful.
As a result, you will need to try your best to ensure that your home and backyard are less accessible for them to run rampant.
This will help you reduce potential nesting areas. After all, if you don’t give them the option, they have no other choice but to look elsewhere to set up camp!
So, how should you reduce the likelihood of a raccoon setting up a nesting site? There are many ways to achieve this.
Namely, you should seal off the access to chimneys, as these are highly popular nesting sites for raccoons. You can do this with a chimney cap that is securely fitted to your chimney to prevent raccoons from gaining access.
In addition to this, you will want to seal off any other potential entry points. This can include spaces such as porches, under backyard decking, as well as tool sheds with metal mesh.
The metal mesh prevents the raccoons from nesting in or under these locations.
While reducing nesting areas can be relatively straightforward, securing your backyard against raccoons entirely can be a challenge as they are expert climbers.
That being said, there are fences that are extra tall and that are built facing outward to make it more challenging for them to access your backyard.
4. Install Motion Detector Lights
Another method that you can try to deter raccoons is to install motion detector lights.
These lights work by detecting movement within the area where they are installed. When they detect movement, they turn on briefly before going off again once the movement stops.
Raccoons are nocturnal animals. Motion detector lights are effective because they work to startle the raccoons when they enter your backyard.
While there is the potential that raccoons might get used to the light, due to the many benefits of security lights, it’s well worth installing them in your backyard to deter intruders anyway.
Check out some motion detector lights here.
5. Install Motion Detector Sprinklers
No one likes suddenly being sprayed with cold water, and raccoons are no exception.
The combination of the water, alongside the noise of motion detector sprinklers, is often enough to scare any raccoons away.
Once they have been hit with water a few times, the idea is that they will begin to associate your garden as a no-go zone!
This is one of the kinds of deterrents that you need in your garden in order to put them off coming back.
However, it is worth noting that this method alone isn’t always guaranteed to fix the situation.
This comes down to the fact that more daring and desperate raccoons eventually get used to the sprinklers and therefore aren’t put off by this method on its own.
You can find a good motion detector sprinkler here.
6. Install Live Cage Traps
Another option that you can try is to install live cage traps in your backyard.
Live cage traps are an excellent way to catch raccoons without having to kill them. They are also very humane, as they only hold the raccoon until they find someone willing to take them into custody.
This means that they don’t suffer at all, and they won’t die either.
This is another good reason why you want to keep your backyard secure, as it is a humane way of preventing these kinds of situations from happening.
That being said, there are downsides to installing live cage traps in your backyard that you should be aware of. Namely, raccoons can be incredibly territorial if they feel threatened.
When trapped, they have the potential to attack people as well as pets upon being released.
As a result, you might find it a safer alternative to rely on a professional to get rid of a raccoon from your home.
7. Install Barriers Around Your Vegetable Gardens
Raccoons are known as scavengers because they scavenge for food, and this means that it’s not just your trash and leftovers that are at risk of being ravaged.
If you are growing fresh vegetables in your backyard, you best believe that they’re at risk too!
Barriers around vegetable gardens are a great way to prevent raccoons from getting access to your crops.
These barriers are usually made out of wire or mesh, but they can vary depending on what kind of barrier you choose.
The most important thing to remember here is that you shouldn’t use barbed wire or other sharp materials. Instead, make sure that you use something soft and non-toxic so that you don’t harm the raccoons while trying to protect your vegetable patch.
Check out these garden barriers for your yard here.
8. Maintain Your Barbecue Area
Throughout the summer season, there’s nothing better than hosting a barbecue with friends. However, leftovers can attract scavengers like raccoons, and make the perfect midnight feast for these bandits.
As a result, it’s essential that you make sure to clean your barbecue and the area around it right after you’ve finished eating.
While it can be tempting to leave spilled sauces, and stains all over your barbecue grill, this is not recommended.
Not only will this make the cleanup process much harder for you in the long run, but you will also unintentionally attract raccoons and other wildlife to your backyard!
9. Secure The Backyard Compost Heap
Composting is a wonderful place to put your leftover fruit and veggies, and many people tend to chuck a whole lot of fresh produce on there.
However, if you don’t secure your compost, this can become a feeding ground for more than one pest. Rats, critters, and even raccoons can ransack your compost if you don’t have an appropriate bin that is sealed.
The more you add to it, the more you’ll attract them to return to your backyard every single time.
Bearing this in mind, you should never opt for an open compost heap. Instead, you will want to make sure that you invest in a compost bin that comes with a secure lid.
This way, you can remove and replace the lid whenever you decide to add something to the heap!
In doing so, common pests, including raccoons, will have fewer reasons to return to your backyard in search of food.
Here’s the type of compost bins that will work for you.
What Attracts Raccoons To Your Backyard?
As I’ve already mentioned, the main thing that attracts raccoons to your backyard is the search for food!
If you give them half a reason to return, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will! This means leaving any type of food scraps outside, or even having accessible bird feeders in your garden can encourage these common pests.
To prevent raccoons from returning to your backyard, then, you will need to make sure that you eliminate their access to food!
Don’t make it easy for them to feast, as this is the worst thing that you can do to encourage them to return.
Is It Essential To Get Rid Of Raccoons?
There’s no getting away from the fact that raccoons are scavengers and pests. So, while they might not bother you in the beginning, they could well do in the future if you don’t deal with them now!
This is particularly true of raccoons that set up nests in and around your home.
While they’re not necessarily out to destroy your lovely home, do you really want these animals causing havoc inside your chimney or under your shed?
Breeding and causing mess? Feeding off any scraps that you leave out?
The answers to these questions are likely no. Therefore, it is best to deal with your raccoon problem as soon as you discover that there is one.
In addition to this, raccoons can also act aggressively when they feel threatened by pets and people. As a result, you will want to ensure that you get rid of them to prevent an accident from occurring.
Preventative measures are also key to take. If you know there’s a significant space that your raccoon could get into, set up a nest, and breed inside of, your best bet is to remove the opportunity before they take advantage of it.
Will Raccoons Leave On Their Own?
If you give these unwanted and uninvited pests the chance, they will hang around and continue eating the scraps that you leave around indefinitely.
Generally speaking, raccoons will not leave on their own unless you give them a reason to do so. For instance, if you remove their food source, then they are likely to go somewhere else for food.
If they keep coming back to find nothing, then they will need to look elsewhere in order to survive. However, this still requires action on your part.
It is your responsibility to take the necessary precautions to deter raccoons from your home and backyard.
If after everything you’ve tried they keep returning, it is at this point that I recommend you contact professionals to help you with the pest problem.
These seasoned professionals will be able to deal with the problem, and will also have advice on how to prevent raccoons from coming back once they’ve gotten rid of them.
If you’d rather contact a professional in the first instance rather than try to deal with the problem on your own, then this is also something that you can do depending on your budget.
As a homeowner, it is important that you deal with the raccoons to prevent any damage from occurring in and around your home.
Is There A Way Of Repelling Raccoons With Scent?
No, unfortunately, there is no specific scent that repels a raccoon.
While you might read advice online that recommends using a variety of different essential oils, raccoons are persistent and intelligent.
Many people suggest the use of mothballs to repel raccoons as an alternative. However, mothballs are toxic to wildlife and you won’t want to use them knowing that wildlife that comes into your garden could be harmed or even killed in the process.
There are a variety of ways to keep raccoons out of your backyard.
I hope this article has given you a better understanding of how to get rid of a raccoon problem in your backyard.
Good luck getting rid of the raccoons in your backyard!