Raccoons are one of the most cunning animals you’ll likely find in your backyard. These pests are quite smart and have some great athletic skills, making them difficult to keep away. Though they are very determined, there are many ways that you can outsmart raccoons and keep them out of your yard and away from your home.

These nocturnal animals have adapted extremely well to life in the suburbs. They will eat nearly anything, making your home- with its garbage cans, urban gardens and bird feeders- the perfect target. A raccoon infestation is often easy to spot with all the evidence they leave for you, and can actually be quite easy to prevent.

Some signs that a raccoon might be in your yard or garden:

  • You find your garbage bins opened and the trash thrown about
  • There may be holes in your lawn
  • Bird feeders in your yard are empty and/or destroyed
  • Your produce gardens are destroyed
  • You find holes around the base of your shed or deck space

How to prevent raccoons from invading your space

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Keep your trash can secured

There isn’t much that draws in a raccoon more than an aromatic garbage bin. Just placing a lid on top isn’t enough, as raccoons are typically very persistent in their hunt. Place a large rock or cinder block on top to weigh down the lid or seal the lid with bungee cords if you are unable to store your garbage bins inside your garage. Using heavy duty or double bagged garbage bags can also help reduce the aroma.

Scare them

Though there is debate as to whether this is actually effective, installing motion detecting strobe lights or sprinklers can work to deter raccoons. You might also find success with playing a radio or other noise since raccoons often look for a space that is safe and quiet.

Keep your yard clean

Raccoons, as well as many other pests, are constantly on the lookout for places to hide as they explore their surroundings. If your yard is prone to overgrown shrubs and brush or has a shed or deck with space underneath it, raccoons are more likely to get comfortable and stick around. By keeping your yard clean and sealing up any potential entry points to your deck, basement, attic or shed you take away their hiding spaces.

Install a fence

Though raccoons are good climbers, installing a fence around your garden, fish pond or compost pile can help deter them. The best option is an electric fence since raccoons will easily climb or dig under a wooden one. You can set it up on a timer so that it only turns on at night for maximum safety for your family.

Remove their food source

Raccoons are pretty single minded when they are entering your home: they are most likely looking for food. If you remove their food options you are well ahead in the game. Pick up any fallen fruit and nuts, remove ripened vegetables, seal your garbage bin and put away any birdseed or pet food to help prevent them from getting comfortable.

Watch your pets

If your home has any pet entry doors, you’ll want to seal those at night to prevent raccoons from coming in. Removing your pets’ food if they eat outdoors is also an essential step. Protect your pets by ensuring they have received all of their necessary vaccines just in case they have an unfortunate run in with a raccoon, as they can commonly carry rabies and distemper.

Time for professional raccoon removal?

Though preventing a raccoon from getting comfortable in your yard is a fairly easy process, it’s possible that you may reach a point where you need the help of a professional. If you’ve discovered a raccoon seems to have taken up residence under your deck, in your attic or basement or underneath your shed, you’ll want to ensure they haven’t chosen your yard as the perfect place to have babies. If a raccoon has starting creating a den in your yard, prevention measures might take on a different form so calling a professional to help might be the best solution.