How Do You Get Rid of Raccoons? Tips and Tales on Raccoons and Cats

Updated on May 3, 2019

Raccoons Are Smarter Than You Might Think

How smart are raccoons? Extremely smart. Much of my childhood involved a cat-and-mouse-like game between my family and raccoons—they found increasingly clever ways to sneak into our house and steal our cat Pumpkin's food, and we found increasingly drastic ways to stave them off.

Though you might think that humans are savvy enough to have everything under control, raccoons are clever creatures that are surprisingly difficult to thwart. Below I'll share my personal raccoon experiences with you, as well as share some tips on raccoons and how to get rid of them.

How smart are raccoons? Very.  Very, very, very.
How smart are raccoons? Very. Very, very, very. | Source

Learning From Experience

As I mentioned above, I've had enough personal experience with raccoons to know just how difficult it is to get rid of them.

As they might say in some of our local regions, raccoons "are HELLA smart!"

Though I live in a fairly urban area, we've always had raccoons. Typically, they'll slink around and poke around trash cans, but at one point during my childhood, the family of raccoons on my block decided that that wasn't enough. They wanted the good stuff, and the good stuff was inside.

They took to sneaking in through our cat door. We could always tell they had been in our home the morning after a visit (yes, we slept through a lot of these) because they left muddy footprints around the house. That never really got creepy until I woke up one morning to find them around my bed, which is on the second floor on the opposite side of the house. There's no food there, so that had all of us rather perplexed!

Aside from being creepy and watching young children as they slept, what did these clever creatures do once inside our home? They ate, of course!

They started with simple offenses like eating all the food in the cat bowl, but that wasn't quite enough, so eventually, they found where the entire bag of cat food was kept. They took to nomming on that; then they quickly discovered the concept of takeout and began smuggling bags out through the cat door and outside, where they enjoyed their food in the comfort of the lovely raccoon bistro below our back porch.

One night, we encountered two raccoons in the act—a mother outside the cat door, pulling the bag of cat food, and its juvenile kin on the inside, pushing. Aside from being wildly humorous (raccoon thieves! Caught in the act!), this was a rather dangerous situation, as we had a trapped, scared, and potentially dangerous animal in our house.

After this episode, we decided to get a locking cat door that only opened when a magnet affixed to our cat's collar was brought near to it. This door was no match for the raccoons. They quickly learned how to pick the lock with their claws.

After that point, we had to deadbolt and block the door each night. That did the trick, though unfortunately the critters moved on to new homes and did even more damage (more on that below).

How Do You Get Rid of Raccoons?

Personal stories aside, let's move on to the practicalities of getting rid of raccoons. How does one do it?

Well, here are some tips:

  • Keep all food waste locked up once you dispose of it outside of your home.
  • Get a magnet locking cat door: Maybe our family of raccoons was just particularly smart, and also, were they initially deterred by this door, they might not have bothered in the first place)
  • Get motion detectors that set off lights: This is a convenient feature for deterring uninvited humans as well as raccoons—unfortunately, the raccoons will quickly get bolder and stop caring, so this should not be your one and only measure.
  • Generally batten down the hatches: Make sure that your attic and chimney are sell sealed off to prevent raccoons from sneaking in, and check for any other structural weaknesses or holes in your home that might make it possible for raccoons to edge in.

In the comments below, Edweirdo offers some additional tips that I think are definitely worth sharing:

  • Fences make for an excellent deterrent: Raccoons will always find a way to break and enter, but if you block obvious pathways, they might be more likely to go elsewhere
  • Powdered fox urine only goes so far: As I mentioned above, raccoons quickly get used to lights, and Edweirdo agrees, plus adds powdered fox urine to the basket of "raccoon deterrents that only go so far." Looks like raccoons adjust to that stuff too... plus.... how do people collect the stuff? Gosh, it brings up some funny imagery.
  • Keep trash bins in the garage: This is an excellent way to make sure raccoons aren't finding a regular food source on your property—plus reduces the chances of them making a royal mess, too!

LeisureLife also offers this excellent and simple tip:

  • Pour hot sauce all over your garbage: They'll probably not want to come back after that!

When It Is Time for More Drastic Measures

Raccoons in the Attic

After going for our home, our raccoons decided to take on the neighbor's house. They ended up building a weekend chalet in what would be her attic, but it was more like a crawlspace between her ceiling and roof.

You do not want to know the kind of disgusting mess this produced. All you need to know is that the resulting mess was gross, very expensive, and a general nightmare. This kind of situation should be avoided if at all possible and dealt with as quickly as possible.

If you find raccoons trying to nest in your attic, you need to call pest control. They will handle anyone still in your attic, and may also set traps in your yard. It's not going to be a fun experience—the calls from a trapped raccoon are devastating and rather freaky. I know this from experience. But I suppose it's what you've got to do.

When picking a pest control service, though, try to go with a humane one; one that relocates raccoons to the wild instead of just killing them outright. THEY didn't choose for human civilization to move into their habitats, right? Or at least, they don't deserve to die just because they're clever.

In the comments below, s.carver shares that there are plenty of catch-and-release programs out there and that the ones she has encountered in her experiences even baited traps with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Now that's reasonable.

Rabid Raccoons

One of the scariest stories I've ever heard is the real account of a woman who had been attacked by one when walking to her home on a snowy day. This story was told in one part of a This American Life episode titled "And the Call Was Coming from the Basement," which first ran on October 27th, 2006. It is an excellent episode, and I've linked to it to the right. I highly recommend listening to it!


If you EVER encounter a rabid raccoon, GET AWAY and make sure that it is shot and killed immediately. If you have been bitten or scratched at ALL by the raccoon, be sure to get treated straight away.

Make sure your cats always have an option to get AWAY from raccoons
Make sure your cats always have an option to get AWAY from raccoons | Source

Raccoons and Cats

If you have a pet cat, you might be particularly interested in knowing how much of a risk raccoons pose to your feline friend. Raccoons and cats often become associated for the simple reason that they both like food and water and are somewhat similar in size, so if you're catering to one with special, convenient food bowls and doors, the other might want in on all the fun.

How do cats react to raccoons?

When raccoons were in my home and backyard my cat was nowhere to be seen. She had the good reason to keep away from the family of raccoons on the block because not only were they bigger and fiercer, but they also rolled in packs, like big, sort-of-cute, furry gangs.

Hopefully, most cats have similar reactions to raccoons—they do the Aikido thing and "get off the line" and out of harm's way.

What can I do to protect my cat from raccoons?

If you have raccoons in your area, make sure that, if allowed to go outside, your cat is never kept in a cage or other enclosure that might trap it and prevent it from getting away (raccoons might come into said enclosure to eat its food, and the cat would have nowhere to hide).

Also be sure to get a locking cat door, and to make sure that your cat is inside each night before locking it.

If your cat ever gets in a fight with raccoons, you might consider making the cat an indoor cat—at least until the raccoon issue is handled.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Have you ever dealt with raccoons? Have you survived a rabid raccoon attack? Have any tips? Share your comments here!

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    • profile image


      6 months ago

      Will antifreeze kill them or just make them sick for a while??

    • profile image


      9 months ago

      I have three stray cats me t

      mother and baby and ever night they are outside in the back easting and the raccoon and her her two baby's come and I am afraid they will hurt the baby cats what can I do

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      I'm bottle feeding them..they r the cutest thing...I will release them in my property when the time comes that they need to find mates...I would do it again in a heart beat

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      18 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Yes, racoons are really smart. We have them visit our bird feeders every night. They even go to the door and glare at us when the feeders are already in by the time they come.

    • profile image 

      23 months ago


    • profile image

      Janice Alexander 

      23 months ago

      I have Trapped the mother raccoon but there are babies still under my bathtub. How do I get rid of them?

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      i have two trees in my backyard & the raccoon climbs up the tree my gardener is going to cut down the branches from one tree & take out the other tree i myself have tried using the radio too it helps some

      what but not much anyhow my brother will then put on the tree some sort of foil that the raccoon won't be able to climb up on the roof ever again

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Do not look at these pest as cute disney creatures. They are fine in the woods. Dangerous in your home. Forget relocation or any plans on being humane. Clemson uninversity grad student trapped and collared 10 from coast. Transported all the way to mountains. Within months, all were back at coast except 2. And they were dead road kill headed to coast. If you can use radio to move them back to woods, great. If simply moving to your neighbor, please be humane to fellow humans and put them down. And the sooner you attack the problem the less numbers you will have to exterminate. For future, find where entry was and build deterrent.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Last night, one hungry mother (and/or offspring) shimmied down a tree in our other-wise protected outdoor guinea pig habitat and made off and up the tree with one of my females (Bear). There is nothing as heart-wrenching as the alarm vocalization of a pet guinea pig when there's little you can do to save them. After shaking the tree and threatening the 'coon amidst Bear's frantic cries, I heard a loud thump, and suddenly she lay dead on the pavement next to me. Believe me, I'll be practicing the deterrents (along with better screening) that I've read about here. Otherwise, I'll be up for a second night doing guard duty for the remaining five piggies. Has anyone had success with fake owls working to deter?

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 

      6 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Back to report GREAT news! The raccoons are gone. We set up a radio tuned to an AM talk radio station and turned it up really loud. We bought four containers of tennis balls (so 12 balls) and poured the containers full of ammonia and let the balls soak in it for a few minutes. We set small glass containers all around the attic, full of ammonia with wicks torn from old tee shirt rags. We threw the tennis balls all around the attic into spaces that we couldn't reach otherwise. We left the attic light on and the attic stairs down. We left the garage door cracked open. We waited 24 hours, then climbed back up in the attic and spread a thin layer of flour all over the floor with a sifter. We waited another 2 days and then went up there today to check the flour on the floor. No prints of any kind. Yay! We will monitor closely and throw more ammonia-soaked tennis balls around about once a month. Thank you, BAMASCARELLA and SIMONE!

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 

      6 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      I left something out of my comment -- we are starting out with loud talk radio, ammonia containers with wicks, AND tennis balls soaked in ammonia. My husband is at Target right this minute buying tennis balls. When he gets back, it's ON!

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 

      6 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      The problem with raccoons is that although they look cute, they carry dangerous diseases, not only rabies, but these disgusting roundworms, plus fleas, and their poop is horrible and everywhere. In addition, they are terribly destructive, ripping out insulation and wiring and so forth. We are in the process right this moment of trying to rid our attic of raccoons, and we are starting with loud talk radio and ammonia containers with wicks. Hopefully we can get them to move out before they have babies! They got in about three weeks ago when we had new hot water heaters installed and we only discovered it yesterday. We set a Havahart trap last night but no results. Positive thoughts, please!

    • profile image

      Zaina Hussein 

      6 years ago

      i think we have (or had one) in our attic. luckily, we are leasing with the option to buy, and we have 6 more months on our lease. the landlord had a pest/wildlife removal service came out, he insists we may have a few rats, but only limited to the attic, finding their way thru the garage accidently being left open somewhere along the line. well, i am pretty sure he is wrong. pro or not, a rat doesn't sound like a jumping 3 yr old (and i know what they sound like, i used to live in an apartment building underneath a brat who stayed up until 4am.). anyway, he came out, set a few traps. we have no food sources except the indoor cat dish and water bowl. i don't keep ANY food in our cupboards. i refrigerate cereal and have a metal breadbox. also, there is no garbage can in our house. at all. except a bathroom waste basket in our bathroom for kleenex and such. so anyway, this guy came out, basically told me i heard a rat (the rat musta weighed 25 lbs when he was jumping around above my daughter's bedroom that night. we put a radio in the garage. haven't heard anything since. but we have music on. will have fiancé switch it to talk radio. our house is concrete/stucco and pretty solid. The thing that bugs me sooo much, is, ok, i get there are animal lovers, and i like animals too, but, here is why i am not caring much about the whole *humane* thing regarding raccoons. they can be dangerous. they are known for having rabies and they will not back off a human. they are GOING out of their ways to get into an unnatural dwelling. yet, we arent allowed to kill them or even relocate them. it feels more like a money-making scam than anything else, having to call wildlife removal sources. i don't feel bad if the babies die because she leaves them behind. im more concerned about my daughter and my fiancé and myself not getting rabies. these raccoons don't care about me, and the feeling is mutual.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I rent the second and third floor of an older home. I do believe the third floor where my daughters room is,was an attic at one time! We have lived in this home now for 3-4 years now. With-in the 2nd year we had a squirl problem...landlord took care of it. Then a couple months later we heard sounds of an animal running from one end of the home...n then crawling through the walls down. We thought it was jus squirls...until I seen a huge raccoon starring at me as I was walking up the stairs on my way home! I was so frightened I unlocked the door and ran into the house screaming!! I finish work at 12midnight and reach home around 12:45am...after reading all these stories, I've come to realize the past few weeks this raccoon is becoming more known. I've now seen it almost everyday when I get home at the top of the metal staircase in which is right by my daughters windows! It normally waits for me to go inside then it makes it's way to the huge garden full of produce...then leaves some half eaten on the stairs for me to clean!My daughter has told me she can feel the raccoon underneath her feet while sitting. This raccoon is very big,not sure if its having babies soon or jus being a pig! I'm going to inform my landlord of ur site...and take care of it,as I'm scared I may frighten it,coming home from work...and who knows what may occur!!!

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      I hope those raccoons aren't giving you any trouble, stars439! Take care!

    • stars439 profile image


      6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Very interesting hub. We have a few raccoons coming to visit. God Bless You.

    • profile image

      N C 

      7 years ago

      I have been fighting raccoons the past year who took over an old house; the amount of feces was incredible. They had started their invasion while the house was occupied, terrifying the residents by boldly walking the halls at night, stealing food, leaving a mess. We've cut down all the trees surrounding the house, bought mint trash bags. They hate eucalyptus and spearmint - they actually closed an air vent from within a wall where I burned eucalyptus oil to chase them away.

      Initially tried the Hav-a-Harts but the critters just stole the bait and broke their way out plus here it's illegal to trap them without a license. Companies I'd called quoted $1,000+ a week with no guarantees. I tried posion which worked very well; only problem was half of them crawled into the walls and died.

      I lucked out and met some guys who had just started their own trapping service with amazing rates. They used both non-lethal and lethal methods. The critters just bypassed the non-lethal traps, even though they were baited with marshmallows and sardines. It walked around the trap - both sides, obviously pondering how to get in without walking through the open door. Same night though it got caught in the lethal trap which is instant death.

      To date, all methods, as far as I know, my count is about 15 down; hopefully, we're done. Now that spring is here we can start closing all possible access.

    • pestcontrolproduc profile image


      7 years ago

      This is really a terrific article, Simone. Just one word from my personal experience. It's usually legal to trap a raccoon but there are some cities where it's not legal to release the raccoon (and I'm pretty sure this applies to most of Canada). You could trap a raccoon on your city property and release it on your country property, but you couldn't (legally, anyway) trap a raccoon on your property and release it in a park. Kind of makes us all depend on exclusion and killing, doesn't it? It would be awful to have a raccoon tear up your attic, it fights you from the Hav-a-Hart cage, and then you get a ticket from a patrol officer when you release it in the park.

    • profile image

      Murray David 

      7 years ago

      Our raccoons are back in the attic and I think they are having babies. That is it. We are calling in pest control. Last batch we trapped and transported a couple of miles from home .. well.. they were home before we were that night.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      There's that, Mike. There's certainly that.

    • furniturez profile image


      7 years ago from Washington

      Racoons are little vultures! They certainly have the weight advantage over any cat, good ideas about keeping them away!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Interesting and funny! I'm working on a possum problem. Possums like cat food, too. :-) Enjoyed reading this hub.

    • bamuscarella profile image


      7 years ago from Buffalo, NY

      Nice hub. While it might seem like a good idea to call a pest control service or your local animal shelter, the reality is that many services will either kill the animal or relocate it and thus separate it from its clan. Animal shelters usually can't do too much about a raccoon either: since raccoons are Rabies Vector Species, you have to have a special license to handle them, and some shelters don't have that license. Even the shelter where I work, which has a wildlife rehab department, doesn't have the appropriate license, and we usually have to defer to the (very few) local wildlife rehabbers in our area licensed to care for RVS animals.

      Radios work really well to deter raccoons from nesting on your property and in your home. Turn a talk show up to a volume you can tolerate for 48–72 hours, and then raccoons will relocate themselves. You need to give them 72 hours, though, because (especially if it's a family) the mother will build a new nest elsewhere before moving her kits. You can also soak rags in ammonia, place the rags in tin cans, and set the cans in areas where you don't want raccoons to nest.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Could I have akirchner come over and do that jiggling thing for my raccoons. I do have a camera.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      You'll want to contact animal control or your local animal shelter, kimbklyn.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      what do I do with a raccoon I trapped last night? hes so scared and so adorable, I am fully aware of the mess they make, but I don't want him to die over just trying to survive?!

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Daaaaaang Wesman Todd Shaw! I had NOT heard about that! Hahaa, my gosh! And if I were a raccoon, I'd stay away! Clearly you're a force to be reckoned with.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      8 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      It's always fun to read about ....virtually anything you are writing about, Ma'am.

      I doubt you heard about it - but in Dallas not too long ago there was a major snafu where ....someone in an official capacity had trapped some raccoons, and left them in some cages sitting somewhere the open.

      Well, I've no idea if these animals had been left that way for long, or not - but they were left that way, and nobody was around, and so someone let them out - but was caught in the act, or something - and it was a big fat huge toodle doo in the city, as the ..."criminal offender" was someone with some money, and a whole lot to say about it.

      I think it all ended well for the "criminal" - but not after some courtroom nastiness, and such.

      As for my personal raccoon stories - wow unto you, you critters that break into the Shaw farm chicken pens, eating the head off of chickens - wow unto you indeed.

      (the Shaw Pater Familiaris tends to shoot them)

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh my gosh, that's awful, Carrie! That's what we did after a while too, and though our cat's paw never got cut, she really HATED that door!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I got one of those locking cat doors and it was a disaster. Not only did the raccoon still come into the house but my poor cat got his paw caught in the door and couldn't get it out. Luckily I was home and heard him scream and was able to free him. His paw was sore for while but he was fine except he's very afraid of the cat door now even though I no longer lock it. I finally ended up just shutting the door to the room where the cat door is located at night and keeping the cat inside.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Whoah, that sounds like an epic move, Anthea Carson! Can't wait to read the Hub!

    • Anthea Carson profile image

      Anthea Carson 

      8 years ago from Colorado Springs

      You have inspired me to write a hub about a very dangerous chess opening called the Raccoon. It's based on the raccoons sneaky behavior.

    • DDS profile image

      David Sproull 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      You can talk to raccoons. The one's in the city have a decent grasp of what you're saying. The buggers are smart as hell!

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh. My. GOD. That is SO going in the Hub!!!

    • LeisureLife profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      A simple yet effective solution to the raccoon problem is to pour some hot sauce all over the garbage. They won't come back.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Hey, anything can be cute (or delicious) until it starts ruining your roofing (or getting rabies and attacking you)!

    • rainmist profile image


      9 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thank you for your tips !

      Everything will be disasters when there is too much .

      I have ever think these smart raccoons are so lovely ,but i don't think so now ,they make me almost crazy !

    • Ren Chin profile image

      Ren Chin 

      9 years ago


    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh, interesting! I wonder how effective radios might be O_O

      My only concern with those is that they'd wake up sleeping people, too! Hahaa.

    • whitton profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice article. There are a variety of motion-activated devices available you can use including flood lights, radios (set them on talk radio, as raccoons avoid human voices), sprinklers, and utlrasonic noisemakers.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Hahaaa!!!! THAT IS THE BEST RACCOON-DETERRENT METHOD I HAVE EVER HEARD OF!!!!! And hey, if it works... it works, right? Heheheeee!! Love it!!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Great information, Simone - I got rid of one by accident here in Central Oregon years ago on vacation!

      I had just come in from the hot tub with the rest of the family and was standing at my computer trying to explain something to my daughter and her friend when I heard something right outside the door. It sounded like he was playing the garbage cans!

      Without a thought, I quick zipped up the blind and there stood this raccoon looking at me through the French door. I almost had a heart attack. I dropped my towel and started screaming and jumping up and down. I was trying desperately to ignore the laughter that had erupted beside me as my daughter and her friend watched my jiggling jugs! Good lord!

      But the raccoon reared up on his hind legs and I swear I heard HIM or HER scream and took off.....we never saw the blasted thing again!

      However, I do not recommend this method unless someone has a video camera and can post it up on youtube and make some money...or America's Funniest Videos. It was totally mortifying and I STILL have to put up with my 30 year old daughter doing this imitation of me for all to enjoy.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Hahaa, while I look back and find it kind of creepy, I wasn't too bothered by it at the time (though my parents certainly were). I had a pretty active imagination, even as a tween, so I figured that little creatures and other things were ALWAYS sneaking around my room as I slept. That these particular ones left footprints was only a bit messy, really XD

    • ezhang profile image

      Edward Zhang 

      9 years ago from Bay Area, CA

      How did you feel, waking up to find raccoons in your room?? How did you react? I'm curious!

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      They sure do! And they're loping around during the day, too!

    • Peter Allison profile image

      Peter Allison 

      9 years ago from Alameda, CA

      Great advice - your story about the raccoons in your house, and worse, in your bedroom is CRAZY! I've seen a few this year already. They seem to get bigger every year!

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Yeah, they can be pretty cute! I think their wittiness makes them even cuter, but the cute factor goes way down when they do damage to homes, hahaa.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      9 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Bishop is full of these creatures! I've always been amazed at their dexterous little hands-I actually kinda like the creatures, but then, I am a sucker for every animal on the planet.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks Edweirdo! I've added Shake Away to the Hub in an Amazon Capsule XD

      And gosh, cjv123! That must have been a tough experience. I'm glad your Yorkshire Terrier is safe, though, and I hope the raccoons never come back!

    • cjv123 profile image


      9 years ago from Michigan

      We had a raccoon infestation in our fenced back yard. I called a wildlife exterminator but he wasn't humane. At the time, I had to be unemotional because we have a tiny elderly Yorkshire Terrier. It was them or our pet. They were going to lose. He only caught one - and he told me he takes them and shoots them. After he trapped the one and took it away, the rest haven't returned. Next time - I will try to find a more humane expert.

      Thank you for these tips. You have a well laid out, and well written Hub. Good job! This was very useful!

    • Edweirdo profile image


      9 years ago from United States

      Thanks Simone! And FYI, the powdered fox urine is called "Shake Away", and it seems to work at least for a little while :)

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Wow, Edweirdo! These are the best tips! I'm definitely going to add your note about fences, lights trash cans, and powdered fox urine to the Hub. Gosh... I didn't even know people used that!

      AND YEAH!!! THAT EPISODE!!! Boy, it really gets ones hair to stand on end. And it brings up some excellent points - I hadn't realized that rabid raccoons were an actual "thing" until I heard that show. O___O

    • Edweirdo profile image


      9 years ago from United States

      Raccoons freak me out! I'm a night owl and a smoker, so I spend lots of time outside at night in my suburban neighborhood. There's a wooded ravine behind the house, and the raccoons (and skunks) use it as a "highway" to travel through town. Since my yard doesn't have a back fence, when they come up from the ravine they travel along my driveway to get to the rest of the neighborhood!

      Imagine standing on the porch in the dark and looking down to see a raccoon looking back at you (or worse, a skunk!)

      I found that a fence is the best deterrent - I put one up next to the driveway, so now the critters still use my yard to invade the neighborhood, but they come and go on the other side of the house - where I don't see them!

      I found that lights are useless - these critters get brazen after a short while - and powdered fox urine (available at Amazon!) seemed to work for a while until they got used to it.

      I've resorted to keeping the trash cans in the garage now, so there is less incentive for them to visit (except on pickup night).

      My family long made fun of my wariness about raccoons - until I shared that same "This American Life" episode with them! Raccoons are the number-one carrier of rabies in the U.S., so they are no joke. Unfortunately they are really, really cute, so it's hard to hate them!

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank so much!! You make a great point about the catch-and-release services. I'm going to add that to this Hub!

    • s.carver profile image


      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Great hub, Simone! Lots of useful information. I think there also are animal removal services you can call to trap an unwelcome raccoon and release it somewhere less populated. I remember my parents called in one of these catch-and-release services on a number of occasions, and baited the traps with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!


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