How to Evict Raccoons Safely and Humanely
Trouble with Raccoons
Have you ever had to evict them, and how did you.
Raccoon, racoon or 'coons
Whether you refer to them as raccoons, racoons, or 'coons, these wild animals usually live in the woods, away from people. They are also considered nocturnal creatures that rummage for food; garbage cans being their favorite source of meals. These guys may look cute with their black bandit mask and bushy tail, but they are vicious when cornered so do not try to pick them up. Due to expanding human encroachment, the wildlife habitats are now sharing the same space. It's an amicable existence until the wildlife desire our dwellings as well.
My experience with raccoons
Recently I entered my garage to get some tools for my garden. There were soft noises up in the garage loft, so I climbed the ladder to investigate.
The rustling sounds stopped each time I peered into the darkness. The loft is a floor in an open space without walls using a makeshift ladder that we used it for storage of leftover wood panels, vinyl siding, and bags of shipping Styrofoam peanuts.
Earlier in the year, I had intended to throw all those bags of peanuts out but my mother insisted she needed them. The fact is, she hadn't used them in years, so she is considered a pack-rat of sorts.
A few days later, I entered the garage and definitely heard some low squeaking sounds. “Oh no, that sounds like baby animals.” I thought. Slowly climbing the steps to the loft, the squeaking stopped. Then I waited and began to hear some movement and the beady little eyes appeared in the dark shadows of the corner. It's raccoons! And there's the big mama staring straight at me! Quickly I descended, grabbed the iron rake and started yelling and hitting the bottom of the loft floor.
“Get out!” shouting loudly. “Get out of my garage!” I wondered if any neighbors heard me yelling to no one in sight. I continued to make loud noises and acted wildly to chase them out.
Our garage is from the 1940s era with heavy wooden doors that open out. The structure is very sturdy with wooden plank siding, a wooden double-hung window, and an attached shed with a door and window. The weight of the double garage doors has created a slight sagging and a small opening is apparent on the top of one of them.
After checking for other openings, I noticed the back window of the attached shed was broken which looked large enough for a raccoon to enter. In early spring, it's common for wildlife to look for locations to give birth in a dark, dry location. The upper loft has bags of soft Styrofoam peanuts so the mama raccoon picked her location well.
Raccoons carry diseases and rabies is the most recognizable.
If you see one during the daylight hours, and its looks drunk,call animal control immediately!
Realizing that I could not physically pick them up and carry them out of the loft, a plan of action was initiated. No one should approach a mature raccoon, especially with newborn babies. Several calls to a few government departments looking for someone to come out and remove them proved fruitless. Thinking animal control would be the right place to start, I soon found that this only applies to domestic cats and dogs in my town.
The next step was to look for private companies and individuals to get them out. The “experts” claimed it would take two weeks waiting for the critters to climb into a cage after the bait. After that time period, the price would increase. Their prices were ridiculously high with quotes of $600.00 to $800.00, which was way beyond my budget.
Since I couldn't I afford to pay someone to remove them, I started to think about doing the job myself. Not wanting to kill them or cause any more stress, I located some cages and planned to capture them myself. How hard could it be to do this job? The heavily wooded local park was a short drive, so I thought they would be happier if they were located in a more natural environment. The following two nights were filled with bad dreams about how this mission could go wrong, so I abandoned the idea and researched how others have removed raccoons.
My research found proven ways to drive away racoons:
play loud music (heavy metal)
leave the lights on
spray an awful animal repellent found at a home goods store
bang on the floors and walls
I employed these steps for 4 days. Then my brother came by and banged on the floor so hard that a few babies fell out. Momma quickly retrieved them so we retreated and waited again.
The results of our constant noise making, leaving the bright lights on, yelling and shouting, banging the floorboards and that awful animal repellent spray, did drive the raccoons away one night. I discovered that they had vacated the premises a few days later when I ventured into the garage and listened. I heard nothing at all and slowly climbed the ladder to the loft, ever so careful to not be ambushed by big momma. I peaked over the floor ascending the top step and still heard nothing. Gathering my courage and stepped lightly and slowly to the end of the loft, I let out a gleeful shout; “they're gone, the raccoons are gone!” I laughed and jumped around like a silly school girl. “We did it; we drove them out by making their lives miserable.”
No harm to wildlife
I want to emphasize that no animal was harmed in this episode as we tried to persuade them to go. We waited for the babies to be mobile first and for warmer weather.
My approach to successfully drive raccoons may or may not work for raccoons in an attic, crawlspace or other small enclosed space. I know that making them as uncomfortable as possible, was crucial to convincing them to find another home. Raccoons and other small wildlife will take advantage of any opening to your warm home for the winter.
Homeowners must be diligent to locate and repair any potential entry points. The attic vents must be closed, the basement or crawlspace vents and windows should be shuttered, and chimney tops capped off. We made the mistake of not repairing a broken window pane in the shed and the animals broke it open to gain access. I hope you have success with your future dealings with unwanted wildlife.
© 2016 Stacie L