If you live in a area where they abound, you probably know how difficult it can be to keep a raccoon away. One of the big problems is that they are pretty intelligent. The other problem is that we humans are often not quite as smart as we think and give them easy access to all kinds of delicious treats. Even planting a vegetable garden is in a way creating a perfect scenario for unwelcome visits.
But should we not be able to enjoy our home and property without interference? Sure, but to do that we need to take precautionary steps to protect it. Not just for the sake of our gardens but also because of health risks.
Repeated exposure to a raccoon is also a threat to your pets.. and indirectly to humans. They carry and can transmit, rabies, ticks and intestinal parasites such as roundworm.
Rabbid raccoons are more common than any other animal with rabies in US.
Here are three ways you can keep raccoons away from your garden, and your home. Each can be applied by itself but if you have had enough of the little rascals you may stop them for good by combining all three.
3 best ways to get rid of raccoons
The complete recipe against the bandits
I go into some detail on this page about several effective ways to get rid of raccoons. But if you have no time to read, shown here are the 3 components you need to establish the perfect animal pest protection. The trick is to combine raccoon repellents and deterrents.
There are only two reasons why a raccoon will try to make your house and garden its own: food and lodging.
On a scale of 1-10, food is a 10 and these critters will go to great lengths to get it. These are very smart animals and they will topple your normal garbage can (or simply raise the lid) and have a feast..
So, the second ingredient into the perfect raccoon protection is: secure your garbage in a container with a locking lid such as the one from United Solutions seen here. If they can’t get food easily and quickly, you vastly increase your chances that the raccoons will learn to sidestep your property.
1. Stop serving up dinner for the raccoons
The source of your raccoon problem may be that you are tempting them to come for dinner.
Keep your pet food safe. Make a routine of feeding your cat or dog at certain times. When they are finished, fetch and wash the bowls. Don’t feed your pets outside.
Keep trash away from raccoons.This one is a biggie. Raccoons are smart animals and seem to like a challenge. If they can’t get the lid off they will do everything they can to turn the bin over and spill the contents. You want to have an animal secure trash bin with locking lid that keeps the trash inside even when tipped over.
Do not throw edibles in your compost. Even if you only have a garden compost without anything other than twigs and leaves, use one with a locked lid.
Do NOT feed the birds. Even if they can’t reach the bird feeder, they will scout for seeds that have fallen to ground. So will rats. Bird-feeding is not a good idea.
No party leftovers. Don’t leave any munchy bits on the grill after your BBQ.
Avoid keeping a pond. A raccoon will walk over fire for fish and water-zone live food. If you must have one, have a look at keeping raccoons away from ponds.
Most homes offer up a banquet of delicious treats for raccoons. Pet food is a big problem. Most pet owners will leave the can and dog food bowls on the floor and allow their pets to feed whenever they like. This means that you have delicious treats lying around in the open which sends wafts of enticing odor farther than you may imagine. Easy access to garbage is another reason why they keep coming around.
Start by locking down your trash.
Lockable outdoor garbage storage shed
2. A scarecrow sprinkler is a good coon repellent
One of the best tools to stop raccoons from coming around is a scarecrow sprinkler. The upside is that it also works on neighbor pets, wild hogs, deer, and birds! This raccoon repellent has many upsides: it is cheap, very simple to use, safe for animals and humans, and it is supremely eco-friendly since it only uses water to do its work.
How can water stop raccoons? A motion detector triggers a sudden burst of strong water spray… that’s it! It may sound too simple to be effective but the randomness never fails to surprise, specially on deer and birds. Raccoons are fast learners though so you will need to simply move the sprinklers around now and then for best effect. You should also have more than one to cover all angles and make it harder for them to learn where the units are placed.
A scarecrow sprinkler is an effective animal repellent and it will scare them but it won’t stop animals from entering your premises. If you only have occasional visits, this is all you need to keep your vegetable garden safe.
3. Secure your perimeter against invasion
This is the paw of an expert digger.
Take a look at those nails. Raccoons are very capable diggers and will easily dig a path under most cheap fences. If you decide to put up a wall against them it needs to be high and smooth and have a serious foundation at least 2 feet deep.
Walls like that will put a dent in your home improvement budget, but if you have been thinking about fencing your home for other security reasons – go all the way and make it a effective animal stopper too.
Only a perfect wall will stop a raccoon
If you build a wall you MUST make sure that there are no trees or building parts with overhang. Raccoons are really good climbers and will go out on overhanging limbs and even take a quite a fall if it is worth it. If a wall is your only defense, it needs to enclose the whole property of course.
A traditional fence of any sort is quite frankly useless against a raccoon gang that is set on getting in somehow, unless you have the final ingredient..
What is the perfect raccoon barrier? Electric wire.
You use a similar type of electric barrier as that which keeps livestock and zoo animals corralled all over the world, except that the one you should buy has a low-intensity zap and is mainly designed to keep pets inside the garden. They work just as well to keep raccoon, groundhog, deer, and the neighbor’s pet away from your property!
Make sure the equipment you buy is low imp so you don’t end up with a bunch of dead raccoons, the objective is to just zap them enough to make them change their minds.
While a smooth wall, even plank is a good start a chain-link fence will also do the job if you take steps to reinforce it. Just like a wall, you need to make sure it has a really good foundation, and you need to mount a couple of electric wires around it. (You can’t electrify the whole fence because it would require too much energy, and because it probably isn’t legal).
What you do is buy electric wire extended mounts and run the wire through those. If you have permanent feed put them high up so kids won’t get to them.
Examples of electric wire installations on fence
An electric fence consist of 3 things: wire, wire holders and a charger unit that powers up the wire. You can install the electric fence any way you want. Having it on top of a wall or fence and angled outwards with multiple wires is one of the most effective ways to mount it.
Electric fence gear you will need: A charger/energizer, wire or wire threaded line, wire holders, something to attach holders to, can be large poles, wooden fence or if around pond etc dedicated angled plastic rods sold by fence manufacturers.
TIP: regardless of how good your fence turns out to be raccoons are very smart critters, so make sure you don’t have any overhang from which they can lean, jump or simply fall down into your protected area.
3 pieces of gear to stop raccoons for good
If you have a big problem with these rascals you may need to go all the way with the triple whammy setup: food containment, scare tactics and perimeter control. But all of these are effective methods that can be used by themselves for keeping raccoons out. Just experiment until you find a solution that works for you.
To recap here are the three most effective ways to stop raccoons from harassing you:
1) Do not let them get easy servings (keep a tidy garden, no pet food, enclose garbage)
2) Use scarecrow sprinklers to scare them off (several for best effect, move them around for best effect)
3) Mount an effective electric barrier (works as a property enclosure or localized, such as just around a pond)
As you may have noticed we do not advocate shooting or even trapping raccoons. All it does is open the territory for new animals. It’s much better to address the problem rather than push it under the rug for a while. if you shoot or trap a raccoon but have edibles they like, it’s kin will be doing housecalls before you know it.