If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve got an unwanted raccoon visitor causing trouble on your property. Raccoons may look cute and cuddly, but these masked mammals can be highly destructive pests when they take up residence in your attic, chimney, or other areas of your home or outbuildings. From tearing up insulation and ductwork to leaving behind a terrible mess of droppings and parasites, raccoons are not guests you want sticking around.

The good news is, there are safe, humane, and effective ways to get rid of raccoons and prevent them from returning. As a wildlife control professional, I’ve successfully resolved hundreds of raccoon infestations over the years. Here are my top tips for how to get rid of raccoons humanely and keep them away for good.

Identify Signs of a Raccoon Infestation

Raccoon dog

The first step is to confirm you actually have a raccoon problem. Raccoons are distinctive looking animals with a mask-like black fur around their eyes and a striped tail. Signs of their presence include:

  • Loud noises in the attic/walls at night (their peak activity time)
  • Raccoon droppings around your property
  • Damaged/torn insulation, ductwork, vents, etc.
  • Raccoon tracks or paw prints
  • Sightings of the animals themselves

Seal Entry Points

Raccoon dog

Once you’ve confirmed a raccoon invasion, you’ll want to act quickly to seal off any potential entry points into your home before attempting removal. Raccoons only need an opening of about 4 inches to squeeze through. Carefully inspect your roof, eaves, vents, chimneys, and any other potential access points and seal them up. This will prevent more raccoons from getting inside while you work on removing any current inhabitants.

Encourage the Raccoons to Leave

Raccoon dog

With their way back inside now blocked off, you’ll want to gently harass and discourage the raccoons that are trapped inside so they’ll want to leave on their own accord. This involves a variety of simple hazing techniques:

  • Bright lights and loud radios left on in the inhabited area
  • Ammonia-soaked rags placed around entry/exit points
  • Hard pans/pots banged together to create unpleasant noises
  • Human hair or protective animal scents spread around

The goal is to make their current den site as unpleasant and uninhabitable as possible so they’ll seek shelter elsewhere. Monitor their exit point at night and be ready to seal it once they’ve vacated.

Set Humane Traps

Raccoon dog

If the raccoons refuse to leave on their own, the next step is setting one-way or cage traps to capture and remove them. These are large traps baited with attractive foods like marshmallows or cat food. Traps should be checked daily and any captured raccoons safely relocated at least 10 miles away per local regulations.

You’ll want to ensure all raccoons are removed before securing potential den sites. Leaving babies inside is inhumane and will trigger the mother to tear her way back in.

Decontaminate and Repair the Den Site

With the raccoons finally gone, you’ll need to thoroughly decontaminate any areas where they were living to remove droppings, urine, food debris, and eliminate potential parasites like roundworm. This involves disinfecting with enzyme cleaners and possibly replacing insulation and other damaged materials per a professional’s assessment.

Exclude and Reinforce Entry Points

Raccoon dog

The final critical step is to use professional-grade exclusion materials to permanently seal off all potential entry points into your home to ensure raccoons can’t move back in. Repair any damage they’ve caused and reinforce weak areas.

This may include:

  • Heavy gauge steel mesh over vents and openings
  • Galvanized steel reinforcements in the attic
  • Chimney caps
  • Sealing off entry routes with concrete
  • Trimming tree branches away from the roof

It’s critical these repairs are done properly by a professional wildlife control expert for maximum security.

Preventative Maintenance

Raccoon dog

Raccoons are ingenious and persistent, which means you’ll need to keep up preventative maintenance around your property:

  • Keep trash can lids secured
  • Don’t leave pet food outdoors
  • Use ammonia-soaked rugs around vulnerable areas
  • Install motion sensor lights and sprinklers as deterrents
  • Maintain a buffer zone of 6-8 ft between trees/shrubs and your home

With some patience and preventative measures, you can successfully get rid of raccoons and keep them away from your home for good. If you continue having persistent issues, don’t hesitate to contact a professional wildlife control company for safe, effective, and permanent raccoon removal.

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