FAQ – Problems with raccoons

Can Native Animal Rescue send someone to remove the raccoon wandering around my yard?

Native Animal Rescue specializes in the rescue and rehabilitation of injured, sick and orphaned wild animals only. We do not rescue healthy animals. A thorough list of solutions is provided below.

Raccoons are living under my house (or in my attic). How can I get them to leave?

Your number one objective is to keep mothers and babies together. If you follow these steps, you should be successful.

During nesting season (springtime and summer) patience is a virtue. It’s best to do nothing and wait until the young are big enough to leave on their own. If the mother is removed from the property, the now orphaned babies will soon begin to starve.

After you’ve determined that all of the raccoons – mother and babies – have moved out, you can prevent the situation from happening again by sealing the opening of the den.

If you need to hasten the process, the best thing to do is to encourage the raccoons to leave by using mild repellants. To make the den inhospitable, we recommend the following combination of repellants done at night when raccoons are most active.

  • Place rags soaked in cider vinegar in an open container and place the container near the opening of the den.
  • Place a drop light or flashlight near the opening of the den.
  • Place a blaring radio tuned to an all-talk station near the den opening; not so loud that it keeps you or your neighbors awake.

The raccoons will usually move out on the first or second night. To find out if the raccoons have left the den, sprinkle flour in front of the opening and look for tracks in the morning. Or stuff wadded up newspaper into the opening of the den. If you newspaper is undisturbed, the raccoons have probably moved out.

How can I protect my garden from raccoons?

  • Plant squash around your beds to deter raccoons; they don’t like walking on the prickly squash vines.
  • Install motion sensor lights around your garden. Raccoons are nocturnal and bright lights often deter them from an area.
  • Grind up garlic, mix it with an equal portion of chili powder, and spread it around the garden, or sprinkle cayenne powder around the garden.
  • Have a dog. Even when dogs are inside during the night, the barking will often deter the raccoons.
  • Install a motion detector sprinkler system that is activated at night.

Raccoons keep getting into the garbage, what should do I do?

If there is no food and shelter to support them, most wild animals will go away and thrive off the natural environment. An abundance of food left out will only attract wild animals.

  • Do not feed raccoons.
  • Eliminate all food sources such as pet foods, birdseed, etc.
  • If your pets must be fed outside, remove all food at night.
  • Use heavy trash containers and fasten the lids securely with bungee cords or rope.
  • Harvest all ripe fruit from trees and shrubs and remove fallen fruit from the ground.
  • Keep pets inside and close off all pet doors so raccoons can’t enter through the door.
  • Keep BBQ grills clean or stored in a secure place.
  • Light the area with motion sensor lights.
  • Wrap metal around trees to prevent raccoons from climbing.
  • Discourage neighbors from leaving pet food dishes out at night or feeding the raccoons.

I found a baby raccoon in my yard, what should I do?

Raccoon babies often appear to be orphaned when in fact they are not. Raccoons are excellent mothers and take good care of their young. A baby raccoon’s best chance of survival is to be raised by its mother.

Many species of mammals including raccoons will leave their babies safely hidden while they are out searching for food. If the baby raccoon is not in imminent danger, it’s best to observe the baby for another 24 hours without disturbing it. Before “rescuing” a baby raccoon from your yard, call Native Animal Rescue for further information.

If you have disturbed a den or frightened an adult raccoon, you may see the adult run away from the den or her baby. DON’T PANIC! There is a very good chance that the mother will return at night and continue to care for her young. Again, if the baby raccoon is not in imminent danger, it’s best to observe the baby for another 24 hours without disturbing it. Before “rescuing” a baby raccoon from your yard, call Native Animal Rescue for further information.

Can I  trap and relocate a raccoon that’s in my yard or under my house/deck/garage?

Many people believe that trapping and relocating wildlife is a humane solution to a problem they are having with a “nuisance animal.” It sounds like a good idea, but the sad truth is that live-trapping and relocation rarely ends well for wildlife, nor is it a permanent solution.

  • It doesn’t solve the problem. As long as the attractant remains (food, shelter or water) other animals will move in. Removing the source of what is attracting an animal to your yard is a far more efficient way to discourage wildlife in your yard.
  • Trapping and relocating wildlife creates orphans. You may be removing a mother animal that has helpless babies relying on her return to the den.
  • A trapped wild animal may injure itself trying to get out of the trap. Teeth, claws and limbs are often broken or injured in an animal’s effort to escape a trap.
  • Animals moved to another location do not know where the food and water sources are which can result in starvation and death.
  • The territorial disputes can result in serious injuries and death when a relocated wild animal is placed in the territory of another.
  • You may inadvertently spread disease by relocating a sick animal to a healthy population.
  • If you remove an animal out of its territory you have opened up a territory for another to move in. The food and nesting habitat once used by the trapped animal are now available to other animals. If trapping and relocating the animals creates too many voids, pregnancy rates and the number of young born per litter will increase in order to fill the voids and take advantage of the available resources. This ultimately results in a population increase.

But, what if…?

If you’ve tried everything you can think of to humanely deal with the animal causing problems on your property, it might be time to call one of the local pest control services that uses humane methods to remove the animals from under, over, inside your home, garage, or deck. The Humane Society provides guidelines for choosing a humane wildlife control company.