Trash bandits, garbage pandas, little burglars, whatever you call them raccoons mean big trouble for homeowners. While there are lots of different pests who will try and sneak into your house, none are as crafty, persistent or dangerous as the raccoon.
If you've noticed some of these critters sneaking around your property at night, you might already be at risk of them making a home in your attic.
Follow these 7 steps to recognize how raccoons invade your property and learn to keep them out!
1. Check your home for holes
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Raccoons like to rip open a hole that already exists in your roof or basement, rather than starting one. Make sure your home is secure, then check back every few weeks if you've been noticing raccoons in your neighborhood.
2. Look for warning signs
Scratch marks on your property, raccoon tracks and a messy garden are all sure signs that raccoons are casing your home. You might even hear them trying to claw their way inside at night. Ignore raccoons and their scent will tell other raccoons your home is a nice place to look for food, so don't encourage them!
3. Block their entrances
Sadly, fences won't do much good because raccoons are strong climbers and diggers. If you're desperate, you could spring for an electrified fence or wire. In most serious cases, adding a screen to your windows and trimming the trees around your home should be enough. Make sure there's a 5-foot gap between the branches and the house.
4. Don't try and wrangle a raccoon yourself
Along with a nasty cut or bite, there are so many ways to hurt yourself while chasing a raccoon through the smallest parts of your house. Plus, raccoons and the mess they leave are full of diseases. Call an expert if one of these animals gets inside your home. Even if they're on your property, a pest control expert can trap them and relocate them permanently.
Click to the next page to learn which repellents will keep raccoons away from you!
5. Don't leave out any food
Along with locking up your trash cans (see tip #6 for more ideas on that) it's important to clean up food sources around your home that we often forget about. The problem is that raccoons love every kind of food. If they can't dig up worms or roots they'll eat fruit (even crabapples), fish from your backyard pond, or your compost heap. They've even been known to dig through the gutters and shingles of your roof for moss and other gross snacks.
6. Lock your trash can up
There's no shortage of locks, heavy covers or "hacks" involving cinder blocks, but most experts agree that the simplest measures work best. Keep your trash cans inside the garage as long as possible, then hook the lid on with a bungee cord.
7. Don't bother with repellents
You might have heard that hair, mothballs or perfume will keep raccoons away, but this mostly isn't true. If a raccoon is inside your home they're a female hoping to have babies, so a nasty smell won't drive them out. You can try Raccoon Eviction Spray, which is made from male raccoon urine, but calling a trapper is your best bet.
If you're not worried about bothering your neighbors, you can drive away raccoons by leaving your TV or radio on with the volume turned up. Motion-sensing floodlights will also do the trick.
Share this list so everyone can keep their home safe!