How to Get Rid of Raccoons in the Backyard? A Complete Guide

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What’s your take on raccoons? Those furry beings might look cute from a distance but are notoriously famous for digging up your lawn. And if you have a well-maintained garden in your backyard, be ready to lose it since raccoons are never too full to feast on your herbs.

So, as soon as you spot one in your backyard, get on your toes and make sure you are doing everything possible to deter them. And if they choose to nest in your backyard, you need to prepare for a war to drive them out of your property.

Today, we have talked about all the possible reasons why raccoons may have landed in your backyard and the things raccoons hate so you can put the knowledge to use and get rid of them from your property.

Why Raccoons Come to Your Yard?

Why Raccoons Come To Your Yard

To get rid of these unwanted guests, you need to find what attracted them in the first place. If you don’t fix that, the methods we mention later might not even work.

1. Food Sources

Raccoons are opportunistic eaters, and they’re always on the lookout for an easy meal. Your yard may attract them if you leave pet food outside, have open trash cans, or if you have fruit-bearing trees.

Secure your trash cans and consider bringing pet food indoors at night so your yard becomes less interesting to them.

2. Shelter and Nesting Sites

Shelter and Nesting Sites

Raccoons are clever creatures, and they seek out safe and sheltered spots to nest. Your yard could be a potential home if you have cluttered sheds, unused structures, or easily accessible crawl spaces.

Seal off these areas if you don’t want them to move in permanently with their troops.

3. Water Sources

Raccoons need water just like any other creature, and they might be attracted to your yard if you have open water sources like bird baths or swimming pools. Especially if you live in an area where there are no such openly accessible water resources for animals (rivers, ponds, channels, etc.), your pool or fountain will be their go-to place.

In that case, try to keep these areas covered or empty when not in use.

4. Gardens and Vegetation

Gardens and Vegetation

If you have a lush garden or vegetable patch, raccoons might view it as an all-you-can-eat buffet. The best solution would be to stop growing anything in your garden for a few months so the raccoons lose interest.

But if that’s not an option, you can try using sturdy fencing, netting, or repellents to protect your crops and deter hungry raccoons. But remember that they are very good at digging their way in, so you might still need to keep an eye on your veggie garden even if you have put a fence around them.

5. Breeding Season

During their breeding season, which typically occurs in late winter to early spring, raccoons become more active and might settle in your yard in search of a cozy site for mating. Be extra careful during this time since the last thing you want is to let them nest in your yard.

Because once they get comfy in your yard, it will become even harder to get rid of them.

6 Ways to Deter Raccoons from Your Yard

6 Ways To Deter Raccoons From Your Yard

Now that we know what attracts them to your backyard, let’s see what are the things raccoons hate so we can use it against them.

1. Secure Your Trash Bins

Raccoons are crafty scavengers; hence, going through your regular, easy-to-open trash cans is no big deal for them.

So you must get heavy-duty trash cans with tight-fitting, animal-resistant lids. These bins are designed in a way that it becomes nearly impossible for them to go through your garbage, keeping your yard cleaner and less attractive to raccoons.

2. Remove Potential Food Sources

Remove Potential Food Sources

Raccoons are omnivorous and will eat almost anything they find. Make sure to collect pet food bowls and any leftovers every night, as raccoons mostly search for food in the dark.

Apart from that, regularly clean up fruit debris, fallen fruits, nuts, and birdseed from your yard to remove any enticing food sources that might have drawn them in.

3. Install Motion-Activated Lights

Raccoons prefer dark and quiet places, so motion-activated lights can be a good option to deter them. Place these strategically around your yard, especially near potential entry points like gates and fences.

When the lights suddenly turn on, raccoons will be startled and may think twice before coming back.

4. Fence Them Out

Fence Them Out

A sturdy fence might help you add an extra layer of protection against raccoons. Opt for a solid fence, at least 6 feet tall, with a wire mesh buried at least a foot underground to prevent them from digging their way in.

Trim any overhanging branches to make sure that they are not using them as an entry point.

5. Use Repellents

Raccoons aren’t very smell sensitive, but there are some scents that they particularly hate and can be used as a natural repellent against them.

Try natural scents like cayenne pepper sprinkled around vulnerable areas (potential entry points) or commercial repellent sprays. These can also be applied to trash cans, garden beds, or any areas raccoons frequently visit.

Remember to reapply after rain or watering to maintain their effectiveness.

6. Live Trapping (As a Last Resort)

Live Trapping

If raccoons persist despite your efforts, consider live trapping as a last resort. But before that, make sure you check local regulations, and if legal, use humane traps.

Once captured, contact a local wildlife expert or animal control agency to safely and ethically relocate the raccoons away from your property.


Are raccoons dangerous to have in my backyard?

Raccoons are generally not aggressive, but they can carry diseases like rabies and become aggressive if you scare or threaten them.
But they will definitely lead to property damage and mess. So, it’s best to take steps to discourage them from nesting in your yard.

What’s the best way to keep raccoons out of my trash cans?

Invest in animal-resistant trash cans with secure, locking lids. These can be highly effective in preventing raccoons from getting in your garbage bins. Raccoons mostly visit human-populated areas in search of food, and trash cans are their prime targets.
So, keeping them closed can greatly kill their interest in your yard. Additionally, store trash cans in a secure location until the morning of pickup.

What happens if raccoons bite you?

While raccoons are not poisonous themselves, they are the vectors of some dangerous diseases. So, if you get bit by a raccoon, you must seek medical help as soon as possible.
But for first aid, you can wash the wound with soap and warm water for at least five minutes to lower the chances of infection.

Final Thoughts

Please remember that these animals are only trying to look out for food and shelter like we all do. So we must not be cruel to them. All the methods mentioned here are cruelty-free, and we tried to keep them as humane as possible.

Hope they will help you deter raccoons from your backyard, but if things go out of hand and you find raccoons nesting in your yard or home, you should contact a local expert or animal rescue to handle things better.

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