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Living with Raccoons
We've all seen their cute faces in our yards or getting into garbage
cans. With their highly curious nature and dexterous hands, raccoons
make ingenious and clever garbage can thieves. The only long-term,
permanent means of coping with troublesome raccoons is to exclude
them from areas where they are unwanted. Raccoons are intelligent
animals with routines that are dictated by their needs; if they cannot
get a meal at one place they will look elsewhere, and they will remember
where they can and cannot expect to have their hunger satisfied.
modification and exclusion must be the principal line of defense against
nuisance wildlife problems. This can be done by preventing access
to human dwellings, reducing shelter and food sources.
Raccoons will use uncapped chimneys for denning and to give birth
and raise young. Driving an animal out of a chimney during the day
should be avoided. Making the chimney an unsuitable site for denning
is fairly easy. Playing a radio in the fireplace, or shining a bright
light into the chimney will usually encourage the raccoon to seek
shelter elsewhere. if babies are present, you might want to wait until
they are 4 to 5 weeks old before trying to encourage the mother to
relocate them. Too much disturbance may lead to her abandoning the
- Bring all domestic food indoors at night. If you feed your
dogs and cats outside, bring the food in every night.
- Secure all pet doors at night. Raccoons are very curious and
will enter houses through these doors for a free meal.
- Secure garbage can lids or keep them in a shed or garage until
the morning of pick-up.
- Rig the can or area around it with an alarm that uses a light,
noise, or even water to chase raccoons away.
- Use a repellant on or inside the can.
Attics are also a favorite place for denning and nesting raccoons.
Inspect the attic to see where the raccoons gain access. If they have
no young, you can seal up the opening when the animal leaves at night
on its rounds.
Important note: raccoons carry a roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis)
that can infect humans who accidentally ingest or inhale eggs that
are passed through raccoon feces. Wherever a raccoon has been in residence
and feces (scat) have accumulated, take care to avoid exposure to
the eggs of the roundworm. Wear protective clothing and a dust mask.
Try not to disturb any scat material until the raccoon has left. Then
a thorough clean-up is recommended by using a 1:30 solution of household
bleach, while not destroying eggs, it will help to remove the protective
coat on them that makes them sticky enough to adhere to most surfaces.
After that mechanical removal through washing and flushing should
Many situations are unique. Call us for more advice at (206) 855-9057.
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