The Masked Bandit
The raccoon is an intelligent and dexterous animal that can prove to be a nuisance to many homes all over the world (They even can walk and traverse in unimaginable places such as a suspending wire - video below). Many people compare them to cockroaches as they are equally difficult to get rid of once there is a raccoon infestation in their homes.
Raccoons are real persistent and scare tactics usually do not work on them; they simply return the next available moment. To worsen the scenario, they are nocturnal creatures that perform their banditry activity of stealing food only at night. They can even carry deadly diseases such as the Rabies and Leptospirosis virus, which make them even more dangerous to humans (and even pets). Thus it is important to get rid of these pests before they get out of control.
Like the old saying goes, prevention is always better than cure and the best way to get rid of raccoons is to stop them from even coming in the first place. In fact, the only way to permanently get rid of raccoons is to restrict their access to food and water in your home.
Garbage Bins - It is important to use a garbage bin with a metal lid which can be shut tight due to the heavier weight. Before going to bed every night, take out the trash and shut the bin lid tight. A raccoon can easily bypass a lid that is made of a lighter material such as plastic. If necessary, you can even use a thin rope to seal it tight.
Trash Removal - As mentioned, it is important to clear and remove the trash from the house (and out of the garden). Raccoons need to drink water to survive, so it is a must to remove any form of drinkable liquid as well. Remember to remove trash from your pet's living area as well!
Restrict Entry Points - By sealing and covering entry points, it can serve as a deterrence to these pesky creatures. Stuff small holes with newspapers and consider investing in electric fences if the going gets tough. Raccoons are excellent climbers, so make sure you take every part of your home into consideration.
Homemade Raccoon Repellents
There are many homemade raccoon repellent ideas on the Internet that have been quite useful. A very common DIY product is to boil a mixture of peppers (e.g. jalapeño), onions and other vegetables together. It can then be used as a spray around the house, around the garbage bins and possible points of entry.
Ammonia - They can be applied or soaked onto pieces of cloth, rags or even kept in small bottles (opened of course). They are then placed around the house, such as near food sources or around the bins. You can use liquid cleaners such as Pine Sol as a replacement
Vinegar - A commonly suggested vinegar is the cider vinegar. This are used similarly to ammonia and also used on food 'traps'. Raccoons will be turned off by the taste of vinegar and may never make a return trip ever again.
Moth Balls or Crystals - Moth balls are highly toxic to small mammals and raccoons hate their smell with a passion, so make use of them as they can be purchased easily. If you have babies or small children, moth balls can be dangerous objects and you may consider using moth crystals instead.
Epsom Salts - Epsom salts not only serve as an excellent deterrence, they also make excellent fertilizers for your plants and garden. Scatter them around your bins and in your garden. If you have leftovers, you can even use them as an effective cleaning tool (such as floor tiles).
Commercial Raccoon Deterrents
There are many commercial (expensive) raccoon deterrents on the market. A common recommendation is the deployment of electric fencing (think Jurassic Park). Though it has some risks, especially if you have young children or small pets, it is an excellent deterrent tool against raccoons and other pests (not dinosaurs of course).
Another fancy gadget is an ultrasonic sound generator that produces noise to drive raccoons away as they are wary of them. These products usually emit low frequency harmless sound waves and vibrations which are highly irritating to pests. A makeshift replacement for the ultrasonic sound generator could be your old radio - you could not only drive these pests away but catch some interesting news as the same time!
Motion detecting light can be installed in the garden or areas where raccoons are likely to be found. Raccoons are nocturnal creatures that dislike light and will turn tail at the sight of light, especially sudden bright light caused by the motion detectors. Check your neighborhood hardware or security store for more information.
Pets as a Deterrence
Some homeowners suggest or even consider using pets as a deterrence and scare off raccoons. However, raccoons are seldom intimidated (long-term) by other animals and will most likely return. Some raccoons can even stand their ground against other animals especially if cornered. As mentioned, raccoons can carry diseases which can be extremely dangerous to your pets. In Richmond, it was reported that a group of vicious raccoons actually snatched house cats, leaving the owners clueless. It is likely a bunch of them can even seriously injure bigger dog breeds.
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.
© 2013 Geronimo Colt
Geri on June 22, 2020:
I have these darn things under my new deck - what the heck do I do ??
The Examiner-1 on November 21, 2013:
I do not use bug killers inside the house.
Thank you for your suggestion, I do try to find natural deterrents but I do not think that would like to use borax on my stove and counter tops and then place food on them.
At the moment I am using 'lemon & pepper spice' and keeping my thermostat below 68 degrees to keep them at a minimum. When I do see one, I spray their underside with 'lemon juice & dish soap'. Then I scoop them with a paper towel, crush them and throw them away.
sallieannluvslife from Eastern Shore on November 21, 2013:
The Examiner-1 - FYI - My Nana swore that sprinkling 20 Mule Team Borax around the areas in your home that have cockroaches would get rid of them as the roaches walk through the borax, it gets stuck to their legs and they carry it back to the nest and the borax will kill all those in the nest, as well...and if you have animals, borax is a natural product and is not supposed to have any effect on them, as other bug sprays and such would.
The Examiner-1 on November 20, 2013:
At the moment my home - luckily rented - is infested inside with cockroaches, and practically every other insect. I have not seen any raccoons here or anyplace else I have lived.
P.S. - It is only a few but I would re-read the Hub carefully for errors. Otherwise I voted this up, useful and interesting.
sallieannluvslife from Eastern Shore on November 20, 2013:
We had a raccoon climb up onto our hen house and chew through the screen of the window. Luckily we have noisy ducks that notified us before he could kill any of our chickens.