Raccoons are a prime example of a woodland creature that has impressively learned how to survive in urban and suburban environments. Known for their “bandit-like” markings, the animal has become a pest in many cities as they search for food in populated areas. Since the critter will eat nearly anything that is chewable and can be swallowed, home remedies for raccoons can protect your garbage cans from becoming their next target.
Table of Contents
- What are Raccoons?
- The Dangers of Raccoons
- Raccoon Home Remedies
What are Raccoons?
With masked faces and ringed tails, raccoons look cute and cuddly, but can quickly become a nuisance when they tip over trashcans and invade gardens. The animal is equipped with five toes on both the front and hind feet. They have long, dexterous fingers that allow them to open latches, untie knots, turn doorknobs, and open jars . Raccoons are nocturnal, intelligent, adaptable creatures. They live in the wilderness, but also in cities. For example, the densest population of raccoons in the state of New York is in New York City.
The Dangers of Raccoons
Besides coming in contact with a sick, injured, or rabid raccoon, they also leave behind feces that may contain the eggs of raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis), which is fatal to humans. If you have come across raccoon droppings (called scat) and attempt to clean it up on your own, make sure to protect yourself to avoid exposing yourself to the disease.
Raccoon Home Remedies
As omnivores, raccoons are on the hunt for a variety of foods, including frogs, fish, amphibians, shellfish, insects, berries, nuts, corn, vegetation, birds, eggs, mice, roadkill, cat food, and of course – human garbage. Typical homes for a raccoon include hollow trees, hollow logs, rock crevices, and ground burrows. To make sure these highly dexterous creatures aren’t a repeat visitor to your yard, consider the following home remedies for raccoons:
Raccoons are clean animals and do not make it a habit to use the bathroom in their dens. If you have stumbled upon a raccoon den, consider tossing a towel soaked in ammonia into their home or the entrance of their den. Ammonia is naturally found in urine and the smell can make a raccoon think that their den is soiled – prompting them to look for a new home.
b) Dog Urine:
Raccoons will think twice before entering a yard that has the scent of dog urine.
c) Protect Your Trash:
Take back your yard from raccoons by keeping them out of your garbage cans. One approach is to use solid metal trashcans, which are harder to open. You can also use bungee cords to keep lids intact.
d) Cinder Blocks:
To keep raccoons out of your garbage cans, place cinder blocks on the lids every night.
e) Hot Peppers:
The sense of smell and taste of a raccoon is quite sensitive, which is why hot peppers are effective in repelling the creature from your yard. Mix powdered or ground pepper, such as cayenne and jalapeno, inside a spray bottle with water. Shake up the ingredients and spray close to garbage cans and around gardens.
f) Pepper and Onion Deterrent:
Create a raccoon repellent spray for your garden by combining one tablespoon each of cayenne pepper and jalapeno pepper with one chopped yellow onion. Boil the ingredients in a pot of water. Strain the contents and use as a spray to protect your garden from raccoons. It is suggested to repeat the home remedy once every after 4 to 5 days.
The smell of cucumbers is not pleasant to a raccoon’s nose. Therefore, planting cucumbers close to fencing and gardens is a good way to repel the critter. Raccoons also do not like maneuvering the prickly vines of the plants.
h) Fruit Tree Clean Up:
If you have fruit trees in your yard, it is a good idea to exercise aggressive clean-up habits. Raccoons will visit yards to snag fallen fruit. To make matters worse, rotting fruit on the ground acts like a beacon for raccoons.
i) Bird Feeders:
Since bird feeders contain appetizing snacks for raccoons, you may want to bring your feeders in every night if you’ve spotted the creature in your yard. Once they realize the food source is no longer available, the raccoon should seek a meal elsewhere.
Raccoons typically steer clear of areas where they hear human voices. A radio set to a talk station can help deter raccoons from a yard.
k) Raccoon Bait:
If you are looking for effective bait for a raccoon trap, use canned cat food (or tuna fish) and most fruits.
If you know the time of night that raccoons sneak into your yard, consider scaring them off with sprinklers set on timers or sensor-operated sprinklers. The flash of water is an unpleasant experience for most raccoons. The sound will also give a raccoon a scare.
m) Flood Lights:
Some raccoons ignore the presence of light as they rummage through a garbage can. However, others are skittish of motion-activated devices, such as flood lights.
n) Do Not Feed the Beasts:
It seems like a no-brainer, but the slightest gesture of food can become your worst nightmare. Resist the temptation to feed a raccoon – no matter how cute and cuddly it may seem.