If you notice a raccoon in your backyard, you’re probably wondering what you should do next! After all, the last thing you need is a raccoon infestation. Fortunately, in this article, not only will you find out exactly what to do, but you’ll also learn what might have attracted them and how to prevent them from coming back in the future!
So keep reading to find out everything you want to know!
What Should You Do If You See A Raccoon In Your Yard?
Initially, the best thing you can do if you see a raccoon in your backyard is to simply leave them alone. Raccoons are wild animals, so the last thing you want to do is approach them as they may be aggressive.
If you want to try and get rid of them as quickly as possible, then try making loud noises or flashing lights at them. (However, lights may be a lot less effective during the day.)
Remember, raccoons are one of the species of animals in the United States that are considered a primary carrier of rabies, so not approaching them is the best choice for your own safety.
And if you notice raccoons coming back repeatedly, you should call in a professional!
Other Ways You Can Tell Raccoons Have Been In Your Yard
Sometimes, you may only see raccoons once, but that doesn’t mean that they haven’t kept coming back! Here are some other tell-tale signs that raccoons have been skulking around your yard and property.
Droppings And Tracks
First of all, you should look for droppings and tracks, not just in your yard but around your home as well. Raccoons aren’t very discreet, so if you notice that there are droppings and paw prints around your property, then that’s the first sign that there are raccoons.
They’ve Been Looking For Food
You should also look for evidence that they’ve been looking for food as well. Trash cans that have had the lids removed, garbage strewn everywhere, pet food that has been broken into, and vegetable patches and fruit that have been half-eaten are all signs of raccoons as well.
You Can Hear Them
And lastly, you may be able to hear them in your home as well. One of the most common places raccoons love to hide is in your attic. Not only is it a lot less busy, but it’s also well insulated, so they’ll stay warm.
So if you hear scurrying around (especially at night), then there’s another clear sign that you’re dealing with raccoons or another pest.
What Attracts Raccoons To Your Property?
There are three reasons that raccoons could be attracted to your property.
- There’s an abundance of food.
- They’re safe from predators.
- There’s plenty of shelter for them.
Places like an unused shed, any tree hollows, your attic or garage, and even wood piles are going to provide everything a raccoon needs to survive! So one of the best ways to prevent raccoons from staying on your property is by removing the reasons that they’re coming.
How To Prevent Raccoons From Returning To Your Yard
If you’ve noticed raccoons in your yard, then you should call a professional to remove them. However, if the right steps aren’t being taken to prevent their return, it will only be a matter of time before they come back!
So here are all the things you can do to prevent raccoons from returning in the future.
Secure Your Trash
The first thing you’re going to need to do is to make sure you’re securing your trash. Raccoons are particularly dextrous, so ensuring that they’re definitely not going to be able to get into your garbage can is one of the best ways to prevent them from getting to your food.
Remove Other Food Sources
Bird feeders, pet food bowls, compost piles, fruit trees, and vegetable gardens are all sources of food for a raccoon, so you need to make sure that you can prevent raccoons from getting to them as well!
Fortunately, in most cases, the solutions are simple.
- If you have a bird feeder, try using PVC pipe or other materials that raccoons find hard to climb.
- Don’t leave pet food out longer than it needs to be out.
- Make sure that your compost pile has been secured with a lid and keep it inside where possible.
- When fruits and vegetables have dropped from the trees or are ready to be harvested, make sure you pick them up. Otherwise, the raccoons will.
- And lastly, you can also consider installing electric fences and motion-activated deterrents around your property as well.
Remove Hiding Places
If possible, you should also try removing any hiding places that raccoons could make their home. Dark enclosed spaces are the most common culprit of this. And when you can’t remove these places, you should make sure that they’re inaccessible to raccoons instead.
Wire mesh and sheet metal are two great materials to use.
Try Motion Activated Light/Sprinklers
We’ve touched briefly on motion-activated deterrents, but they can be an effective way to startle raccoons and scare them from your property. Make sure you’re placing them in strategic locations near where raccoons are going to frequent. That way, every time they get close, they’ll be scared.
Try Smells That Raccoons Hate
You can also try to add smells raccoons hate to your garden as well. While this is only a temporary solution, it can often be enough to get rid of them initially until you find more permanent solutions.
Some smells raccoons absolutely hate include:
- Onion & Pepper – Raccoons hate the mixture that is made when you mix onion and pepper with some water! They will stay away from the places where it has been sprayed because the smell from this combination will temporarily disorient all of their nasal receptors.
- Garlic – Garlic may not be your favorite odor, but raccoons are going to detest it even more! Use garlic juice for the greatest outcomes because the fragrance from the juice is even stronger.
- Irish Spring Soap – Found in most stores, Irish spring soap is another smell that raccoons absolutely detest! So try grating it and sprinkling it around the areas of your home you want to repel raccoons from!
- Vinegar – Vinegar is another great choice for repelling raccoons; just make sure to favor apple cider vinegar over white vinegar as the smell is much more powerful!
- Peppermint Essential Oil – There is some good news when it comes to scents that will deter raccoons. You can also use peppermint essential oil to deter raccoons if you don’t want your house to smell bad because while it will make your house smell great, raccoons are going to absolutely hate it!
- Hot Pepper -Last but not least, hot pepper is one of the stronger aromas that raccoons abhor the most, so it’s worthwhile to try this too. Hot pepper will directly damage a raccoon’s nasal receptors, causing disorientation and making it challenging for them to find the meal they genuinely desire!
- Ammonia – Ammonia is another chemical that raccoons dislike. One of the main reasons that ammonia is so good is because it smells like urine, which can make raccoons feel like there’s a predator nearby.
- Predator Urine – You can also skip the middle man altogether and purchase predator urine and sprinkle that around your garden as well. If raccoons think they’re in a predator’s territory, then they’ll be much less likely to want to go there.
- Epsom Salt – And lastly, you can also try Epsom salt. The best part about Epsom salt is that it’s also a great fertilizer, so it’s particularly good for sprinkling in your plants or vegetable patches.
Treat Your Lawn For Grubs
If there are grubs in your soil, then raccoons could also be hunting these as well. You’ll know that raccoons are hunting for grubs if they’re constantly digging in the soil. If you suspect grubs, you’ll also notice that the grass is yellowing or turning brown, the grass gets pulled up effortlessly, and it can feel a lot spongier when you walk on it.
Eliminate Any Water Sources
It’s also a good idea to remove any water sources from your garden as well. In times when you can remove the water source, you should make sure that they’re inaccessible to raccoons. For example, place a swimming pool cover over your pool when possible. If you have water features, also cover them up at night.
Be Careful With Fish Ponds
If you have a fish pond in your yard, you should also make sure that you keep the fish off the menu. Raccoons love koi and goldfish, and if you haven’t put hiding places in the pond, then it’s going to be a buffet for raccoons.
As you can see, if you do notice a raccoon in your backyard, then the best thing to do is leave it and call a professional if they keep coming back.
Fortunately, though, there are also lots of things you can do to prevent raccoons from returning again in the future!
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