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Getting Raccoons to Leave Neighborhood

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How do I get rid of raccoons? We didn't know it at the time, but a neighbor family was feeding some wild raccoons. All we knew is that we had raccoons that were multiplying and becoming more and more curious and aggressive about their search for food. Before those neighbors fed the raccoons, the raccoons stayed up in the hills away from neighborhoods, but now they scour the neighborhood looking for food, getting into the trash, getting into people's garages, destroying things on people's decks, and so on.

We have trouble with the raccoons coming right into our home using the pet door for our cats and dogs to go in and out of. Yes, we have two cats and three dogs and still have trouble with the raccoons being bold enough to come right into our home. Anyway, I am writing this post for two reasons. The first is to let people know that when they feed raccoons, there often are consequences to pay down the road, and we neighbors are paying the consequences of this one family's decision to feed the cute raccoons (that family no longer feeds them because they, too, no longer feel the raccoons are cute).

The second reason is to ask if anyone has successfully gotten rid of raccoons once they have taken over a neighborhood. We have tried live traps, and the raccoons won't go in them. We have caught many neighborhood cats, though. Any other suggestions?

Tina from Ashland, OR

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Recent Answers

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By Mary C. (Guest Post)09/26/2008

I listen to the gardener on the radio evey Sunday and people phone in because of this problem. He says to use a cup of peanutbutter, a cup of Captain Crunch cereal and 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper. Mix together and put on any kind of plate.

By Jack (Guest Post)09/26/2008

Contacting the State Game Commission may help you. In our state, PA, they will either advise you or actually capture the animals for you. Good luck.

By Shelter Worker (Guest Post)09/25/2008

The problems that occur with wild animals becoming pests for homeowners is in part from people who feed them BUT the BIGGEST reason by far is people building and encroaching on wild habitats.

Everyone wants to live in "the country" and "feel the outdoors" as long as the outdoors NEVER comes near their Rubbermaid home.

You have to make your home less of a feeding ground for wild animals in order to get rid of the problem. You failed in your attempts with humane traps because you continued to provide a sufficiently large and supremely easy food source so the raccoons had NO reason to go for the traps.

You MUST make certain you have absolutely NO animal food or scraps anywhere in your yard. You MUST secure your garbage as if you had bears that would gladly kill you for food scraps in your neighborhood every night. NOTHING can be left out. It must be in secure cans with locking lids. Even better if you can lock the secured cans in an area to which the raccooons do not have access like a secure garage.

Your patio and BBQ MUST be scoured so no scent of food remains. Completely secure all compost which it doesn't seem like you would be using but just for others who might have a similar problem...

It would also be wise to keep your yard completely free of your pet waste on a daily basis. You also must realize that when you let pets "out" and do NOT bother to keep them on your property; YOU are using your neghbor's homes as your pet toilet. Be happy an irate gardener or parent of toddlers with a sand box hasn't put out poison to get rid of the nuisance YOUR pets are causing if they aren't kept off neighbor properties.

Few people who use pet doors are this fastidious about their yards but even undigested foods can attract hungry animals when left about. If you let your pets use other properties as their toilet, be aware they may be leaving their partly digested and attractive waste right next to your property and thus the raccoons will still come to your home...and your neighbors through no fault of your neighbor.

Do not leave any type of pet toys or snacks outside for any length of time. If you "assume" your dog or cat will completely finish the treat when outside; you know what will happen...:)

Secure your pet foods in plastic locking containers and put out your pets food at regularly scheduled times which is better for your pets anyway. Pick up and clean all food bowls thoroughly as soon as your pets are done eating. Even if you encourage your pets to use your neighbor's property to toilet you can still put food out at set meal times and the cats will adjust or they can call you to feed them when they return if the neighbors don't "take care of" the problem your pets are causing them.

You can also replace your pet doors with simple, very effective and MUCH SAFER doors that have magnets or some even have transmitters for the pet collars to only your pet getting close enough to the door will "unlock" or release the door. It's also not too smart to simply have open access into your home no matter how small...burglars will find a way to use it.

You chose to live in a suburban or country type area so you have to deal with the ramifications of that. If wild animals are coming to your home chronically; you have to admit that YOU are a BIG part of the problem and you have to correct what you are doing that is contributing to the neighborhood nuisance.

Wild animals do NOT frequent the homes of people who are meticulously clean, secure their garbage, clean up after their pets and leave no pet food or attractive waste about. There simply is nothing fun or good tasting to wild animals there. They ONLY go after known food sources and YOU are apparently one of the bigger sources in your neighborhood.

I regularly have black and brown bears come through my yard (right over my fences) on their way to some neighbors who refused to do the proper job of securing their garbage until the $300 per incident fines started rolling in.

I have had no problems scaring off the bears and they do not bother my home in any way because I do not provide anything to attract them or entertain them on my property. And yes I have dogs and a cat who is trained much like my dogs and NOT allowed to destroy other people's properties.

As soon as their food source was gone; so were the bears (at least from their routine early am food patrols).

Wild animals WILL NEVER GO AWAY until you remove their food source which apparently is both inside and outside of your home. It seems you feed the raccoons as much if not more than the neighbors you complain about did. Make the changes and stick to them and the raccoons will go away on their own.

I saw something about a rifle or pellet gun. ILLEGAL everywhere!

If you took pot shots at wild animals YOU have been attracting with food; you would be no better than a hunter that sits in a stand above a massive pile of jelly donuts and shoots as hungry animals come to feed. Clean up your home so you stop feeding the wild animals and they will go away on their own.

There is no lazy shortcut to this problem unless you plan to hire a wildlife trapper to catch EVERY raccoon in your neighborhood before they can breed again and hope they release them someplace far, far away which they don't always do because repeat business is lucrative.

YOU have to clean up your act ASAP.

By ChloeA [10]09/25/2008

I've had success baiting the Hav-A-Heart type traps with a can of cat food. You should be aware that if you take a racoon in the trap to some other location and release it, it will die. They can't adapt to a new environment.

It's illegal in my city to trap and move them--they say to call the Humane Society to pick up the trapped animals, but they charge $25 each, which is neither practical nor frugal. The racoons will stop coming around after a year or so if there's no food. Be patient.

By Beverly Ross [2]09/25/2008

Call the Humane Shelter. They know how to go about relocating them. Be careful of them because even though they look cute they can be mean and can carry disease.

By John Williams09/24/2008

The best thing is that the food source has been cut off. Since its a residential area, I don't recomend you use rifle. Something low powered like a BB gun might scury them along but probably wont help that much. If you can get the additional food sources secured they will start to migrate out. You might be able to get "Blood Meal" from a garden supply and sprinkle some in areas that you are seeing them or know they go. It's a tough job to get rid of these guys... I'm pullin' for you.

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