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How To Repel Raccoons?



So you think you might have a problem with raccoons. Well get a ticket and stand in line because you are not alone. You have joined the ranks of hundreds of people who have this similar problem, but don’t despair, there are solutions to your problem and we will discuss several of them here. One thing to remember is that raccoons are not afraid of man, dogs or cats. They are pretty smart critters and are intelligent enough to escape or avoid various trapping devices. They are however afraid of some snakes, alligators and some say sweaty humans with shotguns.

There are several different areas of your home where you may encounter raccoons, lets begin with the attic. If you see a raccoon come out of your chimney the first thing you want to do is install a chimney cap. This will prevent any more raccoons from entering, next we deal with the ones that are taking residence in your attic or chimney. For the chimney place a bowl of ammonia directly below the chimney so that the fumes from the ammonia will rise up into the chimney, this alone will cause the raccoons to relocate.

If the raccoons are in your attic or crawl space tie some rags into balls and soak them in ammonia and place them in various areas throughout your attic. Be sure to place them into the corners and soffit areas. If the rags dry out simply re-soak them and use again. After a couple of days the raccoons will leave for a more suitable home. Once you’re sure the critters are gone close up any holes or access openings they may have been using.

The next area we want to repel raccoons from is our yard and garden. To protect your garden plants use a mixture of cinnamon and ground black pepper sprinkled liberally around the yard. These spices irritate a raccoons sense of smell and will quickly discourage them from foraging in your yard.

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Be assured that these spices will not harm your garden plants and are safe for the environment. Another homemade repellent that is very popular is a pepper based spray you can easily mix up and it is very effective. Bring a 2 quart pot of water to boil, adding several hot peppers, a tablespoon of cayenne pepper and one onion. Boil for 20 minutes, strain and pour in a spray bottle. Use the spray around your trash cans, flower arrangements and around the perimeter of your home. This spray is effective because its odor is very unpleasant to raccoons and it irritates their paws. The only downside to this spray is that it is not long lasting and will have to be resprayed in a couple of days or after a hard rain. The upside is that because raccoons are intelligent they will remember the unpleasantness and eventually stop coming back.

Another method is the use of motion activated lights. Much like a thief in the night the sudden flash of lights coming on should cause these annoying creatures to scatter.

If by chance you have a vegetable garden that needs protecting then the answer to this maybe a wire mesh fence with an angled top. Wrap the mesh around poles as you normally would then wrap chicken wire around the top part angled outwards to prevent the raccoons from climbing over the top.

Next we come to one of my pet peeves when it comes to raccoons, your garbage cans. I don’t know if your raccoons are on steroids like mine, but the raccoons in my area are strong enough to turn over 40 gal cans full of trash and then throw the trash all over my backyard. The best cure for this, if possible, is not to put the trash cans out until the morning of pickup, however this is not always possible. Another solution is to ensure you have secure fitting lids so that even though they may tip over the cans the contents will not spill out. You can also use ammonia to clean your cans weekly and even better use your pepper spray solution and spray around your cans on a regular basis. If you don’t want to make your own home remedy spray there are products on the market that do the same job and are quite affordable. Another method to repel raccoons is the common sense method of not leaving any food out that may attract them to your areas.

One thing to keep in mind is that there are occasions where raccoons may attack, especially if they feel their young ones are in danger. Another instance may be if they are defending what they consider to be their territory. Always use caution when dealing with these animals. Finally if all of these above methods fail you may consider placing a call to your local animal control agency and have them trap the animals and remove them.

You may obtain more information at Urban Wildlife Rescue.


Kelly Sperber has been a professional writer for 5 years. She joined TheHousingForum Team in January, 2011. Kelly enjoys skydiving, attending fashion shows, and gardening in her spare time.

  • Joe Majcan

    how do you prevent climbing up a gutter down spout?

  • PennyV

    Hi, Joe!  You can do several things to keep raccoons and other critters from climbing up a gutter downspout.  For instance, you can attach bands of metal or plastic spikes all along the spout.  You can also coat cotton balls with peppermint oil, black pepper, cayenne pepper, or ammonia.  Then put the cotton balls inside the foot areas of a pair of pantyhose and tie the pantyhose on the spout where the raccoon will get a good whiff of the smell.  You will probably have to change it out every now and then to keep the odor strong enough to act as a repellent.  You can tie as many of these odorous stockings as you deem necessary to be effective.  You can also tie them in other problem areas.

  • Peteys12

    how can you prevent them from getting your pet ducks

  • PennyV

    Petesys12, you can’t keep the ducks completely safe.  However, you can reduce the danger by penning up the ducks at night and only letting them out during the day.  You can also use livestock guard dogs (such as a Great Pyrenees) to help protect the ducks during the day. Keeping them inside an enclosure that has a 2-strand hot wire may also help to keep the ducks safe.

  • Kathy

    I like your advice on ammonia,  pepper spray and black pepper/cinnamon. Will any of these harm my cats?

  • PennyV

    Kathy, there’s seems to be some very mixed opinions as to whether these items will harm a cat or not. In my research on the topic, I’ve found some vets recommending their use as a cat/small mammal repellent, while others claim these items may be too harmful to cats.

    So I would suggest maybe only applying the pepper spray and black pepper/cinnamon in a small test area and seeing how it affects your specific cats before expanding to a larger area. Like humans, different animals can re-act to the pepper/cinnamon differently from each other.

    As for ammonia, it’s usually the vapors that are dangerous. Since it’ll be used outdoor where there is excellent ventilation, the vapors shouldn’t harm the cat too much, as long the exposure to the ammonia is limited to just a short time. But it should be used in small to medium amounts, and you may want to ensure the cats don’t drink, inhale or ingest the ammonia.,, black pepper, cayenne, or cinnamon just to be on the safe side.

  • Coon go away~

    I live in an attic apartment of a 3 story mansion. I have a deck way up here. This year there is a coon problem. They have been coming up on the deck. Yes way up here! First they went after my plants. Now I have rabbit fencing around them. I have some plants they didn’t touch, so I didnt fence them. Now they dig up the dirt around the plants daily. There have been 2 different coons coming up here. I am not sure where they go on the roof but they haven’t been going in the chimneys. Most recently, they started coming to my front window which has a 12″ ledge and a 30′ drop. But they have been scratching at my screens and now I don’t like to leave the windows open. These 2 seem very smart. How can I get them to go away? I tried a cayenne mixture which seemed to make them come for more. There is no garbage up here and no food stuffs on the deck for them. I worry if they are scratching the screens on the windows that they might get in and that would be very bad. (I can’t afford animal control to come get them). I’ve notice many coons in this part of the city lately.

  • PennyV

    Coon go away, the plants themselves provide food and attraction to the coons. Even the fertilizer you use on the plants may be attracting them. You can try adding a hot wire to the fencing. Or you can try moving your plants indoors at night.

    You could also consider screening in the entire deck. I assume you’ve already checked or have had your landlord check to ensure all the vents and crawl spaces have been screened off. if you haven’t already done so, you may want to replace your regular window screens with the 1.8′ hardware mesh that is animal-proof. You may also want to consider using raised flower beds made from real cedar, with hard to climb metal siding. You could also try using live traps to catch the coons and haul them off yourself, but this can get a bit dangerous if you’re not careful handling them after you trap them.

  • Kathy Pass Pereira

    I looked out on my deck yesterday at around 6:30 p.m. (it was still light out) and up came 4 raccoons, 1 momma and 3 smaller, but almost her size. They go after my birdseed, so we have begun to take the feeder in at dust and putting it back out in the a.m. i have 2 cats and a dog that enjoy the deck, so I worry about the repellents bothering them. Any suggestions?

  • PennyV

    Kathy, the best way to get rid of the coons is to take away whatever is tempting them to come up on the deck. Make sure you put up any uneaten pet food once your cats and dog are finished eating their meals.

    Try to make it too difficult for the coons to climb up on the deck. Seal off the area under the deck. You may also want to consider turning the deck into an enclosed screened porch. You can also try the ammonia-soaked cotton balls in the foot of pantyhose trick, but keep them hanging high enough to where your pets can’t accidentally get hold of them. You can also use the live animal traps fairly safely. If your cats get trapped, you can let them out again. The live traps don’t injure the animals that become trapped.

  • wendy

    I’m in southern Ontario, a couple of blocks from a creek, and Lake Ontario. We have messy fishermen who leave salmon guts etc., so even though we keep our own garbage secure, the raccoons love our neighbourhood. My hubby was away (go figure), and a female raccoon pried down soffit (split level) and got in. She had pups. I could hear them overhead in the spare bedroom. One quick look with a flashlight up in our attic hatch confirmed it. We tried the boombox, strobe lights, but what made her take her babies and run was a sound. Hubs downloaded a sound generator onto his iphone, and a tone around 6000-8000 khz made the pups chirp loudly when he held it up in the attic. We plugged it into the iphone/ipod dock on the boom box, cranked up the volume, and she was gone overnight, with all her pups! We did the right thing and taped paper over the hole and monitored it for two activity so it’s now boarded over until we can make a prettier repair. Just thought you might want to know (or maybe not)

  • THF-Man

    Hi Wendy thanks for sharing your experience. That was very clever idea with downloading the sound generator and using your iphone dock. I guess you had a hard time sleeping that night? But I bet it was worth it. : )

  • PennyV

    Hi, Wendy! I’m not very familiar with sound generators. What kind of sounds do they generate? Was it like a solid, high pitch tone or alternating types of sounds? I think having a boombox cranked up that loud would be rather harsh on human eardrums. So I can imagine how harsh it would be on animals with an even more sensitive eardrum. I know using dog whistles can hurt a dog’s ears without hurting a human’s. ears. But if the sounds do permanent damage to the animal’s hearing, it may not be such a humane to get rid of racoons.

  • hotmail

    hello, I live in the country in Pennsylvania in a huge mobile home, just spent of 5,000. in repairs to the underside of my home, raccoons got in and destroyed the underside of my home, I would like to know how to to keep them AWAY from my house, I’ve tried all kinds of methods, even spent $900. to animal control to trap and take them away, just last week, they are back!! they’re getting in through the skirting around the home, keeping in mind this has all been secured, replaced where needed, and all shrubs and plants have been cut down to nubs, so there is no cover for them, also no trash cans are outside ever, they just seem to want to take up residency under my home, what can I do, any help is appreciated, thak you – Janis

  • PC

    Many of the sound generators are too high of a pitch for the human ear to pick up.

  • PennyV

    Hotmail, the best way to drive the raccoons away is to ensure your property isn’t too inviting. Like all wild critters, they are simply looking for a secure place that provides them with plenty of food and water and a safe resting/nesting area. Once you get the critters out from under your mobile home, enclose the underpinning with a strong, 1/8- inch welded wire mesh. Then make sure you keep any sources of food and water out of reach of the raccoons. Pickup any pet food and water dishes after the pets have eaten, especially at night. And do not keep very many bird baths or bird feeders on your property. Also repair any leaking water pipes and make sure you tightly secure your garbage in metal trash cans. Store any pet food inside the home or tightly sealed container. Pick up and dispose of any fruit or nuts that have fallen off the trees on a daily basis. Keep the grass mowed and if all else fails, try using a sound generator like Wendy did.

  • Misery in Missouri

    PennyV, I live in Missouri in a large city. My situation is….the raccoons are following my cats into my house. I have moved the cat food from around the pet entrance and yet, when I go away for a few days- and even when I am at home- they come trotting in (as if they own it!) and eat all the cats food. I am currently trying the pepper/cinnamon mix. My cats don’t seem to have any problems with it. Matter of fact, one is walking around in it as I am sprinkling it around the window sill. I leave a window open a small amount to let my cats leave and enter as they please. I took cardboard and made the opening much smaller, but to my dismay, evidence was everywhere when we came home. Since these are city coons, they don’t react to motion lights. Any other ideas?? Thanks so much!!!!

  • Coon Hunter

    I like spraying my coons with a homemade concoction of 50% rubbing alcohol, 25% bugs spray, and 25% disinfectant spray. The twist the little spray nozzle so it shoots in a solid straight line (like a water gun) then keep the spray in my car and do drive by around my neighborhood looking for coons.

  • Oregon gardener

    You may want to consider keeping your cats indoors, permanently. This would solve the easy access the raccoons have and eliminate the chance for fierce interaction between your cats and the coons. Raccoons can kill cats, or the fights can leave your cats seriously injured with one heck of a vet bill.
    Additionally, your cats won’t be fighting with neighborhood cats or eating the native songbird population.
    My cats are indoors and happy!