Raccoons are not exactly a common household pest, but they are hardly as rare as the occasional alien visitation. If you wake up to an overturned garbage can or you find that the water dish for your cats are suddenly distastefully colored and sickly looking, what you probably have there is a raccoon problem. Raccoons are rather strange animals in that they actually clean their food by dipping it in water before eating it. The mask that raccoons wear over their face is particularly apt in many cases because these little critters can easily steal quite bit of your precious time.
Many homeowners will never see a raccoon come around during their lifetime. Raccoons are much more apt to become a problem when your home is situated near any kind of rural topography. A vacant lot, a woody area behind the house, a small forest over the fence from your backyard and any home that is close to a natural water supply like a stream or marsh are all prime candidates for attracting raccoons.
If you think raccoons are sweet little animals, well, they are. Few things are cuter than when a raccoon stands on its hind legs and stares straight at you. But keep in mind that these guys can get up to 35 pounds or more. In that standing position, they can be as tall as a toddler. What attracts a raccoon to the home can be as simple as a raw egg left out by a kid in your garden. Raw eggs are a popular way to attract raccoons to a garden by those who enjoy the visitations of these animals. Exposed garbage, still water supplies and pet food are all magnets to a raccoon. The first few times a raccoon shows up, they really are quite cute. They turn into a nuisance fairly quickly, however. Ridding your home of raccoons is much more difficult than attracting them.
Why would you want to rid your home of raccoons rather than trap them to keep as pets? One word: rabies. Actually, three words: rabies and mange. If the raccoon who has adopted your backyard as a seasonal vacation home does not actually have rabies, it may well be a threat to bring mange to your pets. As for rabies, well, you don’t want none of this!
The first thing to do if you want to get rid of your raccoons is to make sure your garbage is secured. Secure the lid to the can in such a way that the raccoon will face significant difficulty in getting the top open. If the raccoon is getting onto your back porch, consider putting up screens to keep the ‘coons out. You will also want to seal any portals onto the porch.
Trapping a raccoon is a much more humane method of controlling the problem than bringing a gun into the picture. You can find traps that will attract the raccoon and safely secure it for transport by your local wildlife control agency. The trick in using a live trap to capture a raccoon visitor to your house lies in the bait. Raccoons are hardly the kind of diner who will turn its nose up at many items commonly found in the refrigerator. Among the best items to use in trapping a raccoon for human disposal are fresh corn, prune, bread dipped in honey, melon or smoked fish. Traps can be attached to trees or a fence post or even just a stake hammered into the ground. You will want to make sure that you successfully push the bottom of the trap into the ground so that dirt covers up the wire mesh bottom. The trick to success in capturing a raccoon this way is to allow the animal to get acquainted with his free food source for a few days before you attempt to spring the trap. Once the animal has been trapped, you have the option of relocating the raccoon yourself or calling wildlife control officials to do it for you. The latter is safer, but the former is usually quicker.