Stop the problem before it starts
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Looking for snacks
Raccoons are intelligent and good with their hands, and can easily open a loosely closed garbage can.
Raccoons will eat almost anything
and are always on the lookout
for a good nesting site, so
our houses, with all their nooks
and crannies and overflowing
garbage cans and backyard vegetable
gardens, are very appealing.
Light, water, noise and
chemical repellents may work in
the short term, but raccoons
eventually learn to ignore them.
The best way to discourage
these pests is to make your
house and garden inaccessible.
- Cut back overhanging tree
branches and brush so raccoons
can't get onto the roof.
- Add chimney caps, or replace
them if they're damaged. Fireplace
chimneys make great dens for pregnant raccoons. If you
hear raccoons in the firebox in the spring or summer, you may
need to wait until the fall for the raccoons to leave before capping
the chimney, or else call an animal control specialist.
- Block crawl spaces and other possible entry spots with securely
nailed 1/4-in.-mesh hardware cloth. Wait until the fall after the
babies are out but before hibernation, or until you're sure the raccoons
- Raccoons eat garbage, pet food, fruits and vegetables, and fish
from garden ponds. Make trash cans inaccessible. Cover fish
ponds with netting. Don't leave pet food outside.
- Protect vegetable gardens, especially if you're planting sweet
corn, with wire electric fencing (consult the manufacturer's
instructions for spacing and wiring instructions). Fencing is available
from farm supply stores and Internet suppliers.
- If raccoons have already made a den in your attic or crawl space,
put a radio, flashing lights, ammonia, mothballs or commercially
available repellents in it, then give them a few nights to leave. To
make sure they're gone, stuff the entry with newspapers. If the
paper is still in place after a few days, the raccoons have left.