Want to learn how to deter Raccoons?
If you’ve got a raccoon problem in your yard, the best thing to do is to figure out how to make them go away.
Raccoons are cute and very entertaining to watch. But they can also be a huge problem for you and your yard. Figuring out how to keep them away will save you the headache of dealing with their path of destruction.
This guide will take you through 14 easy methods you can use to deter raccoons from your yard.
Why do you need to deter raccoons?
1. They Build nests
Raccoons can live in both urban and rural areas. They will build a nest in pretty much any safe, warm sheltered place they can find. That may mean your shed, decking, trees, or even your home if they find access.
Building nests means creating a whole family of raccoons that can cause a riot in your yard.
2. Cause property damage
Raccoons can quickly cause a lot of dame to your property when they are looking for a nesting spot. They have been known to break down walls, rip off the fascia, remove shingles and destroy insulation.
3. Bad for health
Raccoons like to poop a lot. The problem with raccoon poop in your yard is it’s is full of roundworms and bacteria. It’s bad news for both human and pet health.
Cleaning up their poop is risky to do yourself. You’ll need a professional or use full protective gear to keep yourself safe.
Raccoons may also carry rabies, which can put you or your pet at risk if they attack you in your yard.
4. Leave a mess
Raccoons are little experts in leaving a trail of destruction. That includes littering garbage all over your yard, damaging crops, knocking down birdfeeders, or stinking up your yard with their urine and poop.
5. Cost you money
Letting raccoons run around your yard unchecked will cost you money somewhere down the line. Whether that’s in health care, vet bills, replenishing your bird feeder, yard clean up, or pest removal services.
Trying to keep them out of your yard in the first place is the best way to prevent any of these problems.
The good news is that there are plenty of human ways you can deter raccoons from your yard. Although some of these may work on their own, it’s likely you’ll need to combine a few methods for the best results.
Let’s take a look at what methods will work best for you.
14 Ways to Deter Raccoons from Your Yard
1. Use light and sound
As raccoons are nocturnal animals, they prefer to go about their business when it is dark and quiet.
That means they are quite suspicious and easily spooked by light and strange noises.
A simple way to keep raccoons away is to use motion-activated security lights around your yard. Large bright ones, like these, are the best for this.
The idea is that once they step into the sensor line, the light will go off and frighten them away.
This solution is simple as it doesn’t need much effort, apart from the initial light installation.
Some readers have found success by playing a radio nearby common target areas such as garbage cans or decking. The raccoons are spooked by the sudden noises.
Although your nearby neighbors may not appreciate hearing noise from the radio all night in your yard.
2. Don’t leave out food
The main thing that will attract raccoons to your yard is food.
One of the easiest sources of food is things that you leave outside for pets such as dog or cat bowls.
The raccoons will smell this and will happily eat it all before the morning.
Take in any pet bowls overnight, or start to feed your pets indoors only.
Also, remember to thoroughly clean up after yourself if you’ve been eating outdoors with family or friends. The odor of eating and cooking alone will be enough to attract the raccoon to check out your yard.
Hosing down your dining area and giving it a once-over with an odor-removing cleaner can help keep the raccoon away.
3. Adjust your bird feeders
You’ll notice that raccoons will take the opportunity to raid any food source you have available. This includes dining on your bird feeder.
The easiest way to prevent raccoons from getting access to your bird feeder is by hanging them on high, thin poles. This makes it harder for the raccoons to climb up. If you don’t already have one, you’re looking for a Shepard hook pole like this one.
Better still you can add a raccoon baffle (this one will work on any existing feeder poles you have). This is a device that will prevent the raccoon from climbing or jumping onto your bird feeders.
It’s best to assess what foods you offering to the bird too. If you put out scraps of food on a platform feeder then it’s time to stop. Stick to the tube-style feeder which the raccoons cannot easily access.
4. Plant things they hate
A really eco-friendly way to deter raccoons from your yard is to plant certain things that raccoons are known to hate.
Raccoons have very sensitive feet, so they especially don’t like to be near prickly plants. These plants often have large leaves with prickly vines that the raccoons don’t like to walk over.
Plants that raccoons hate are:
- Oriental poppies
- Globe thistle
- Green beans
You may want to plant a row of these around your fences to make it awkward for them to get in and out. Another area these plants work well is around vegetable patches, which raccoons will otherwise raid.
5. Smell Deterrents
Raccoons have quite a good sense of smell, so you can use this against them with smells that they really don’t like.
Similar to planting things they don’t like to feel, there are plants they don’t like to smell.
Plants raccoons don’t like the smell of are:
Even if you don’t have room to plant these things, you can make a homemade raccoon repellent that is made up of these things. Spray it around your yard to keep the raccoons away.
The issue with smell repellent is that they may not be as effective as other methods. This is because you’ll need to reapply them frequently.
They are useful but you’ll likely need to use them together with other deterrent methods. Light, sound, and smell repellents are a good combination to keep the raccoons away permanently.
6. Try Spices
Raccoons hate a lot of spices, as they irritate their noses and interrupt their sense of smell. You can use this tip to sprinkle a few common spices around your, yard where you know the raccoons are lurking.
Spices that raccoons don’t like are:
- Cayenne pepper
- Black pepper
- Flaked Chilli’s
You can also try rubbing some hot sauce onto areas that raccoons are trying to damage on a regular basis, This can be around windows, vents, or garbage cans.
7. Spray predator urine
Spraying your yard with predator urine can help to keep raccoons away.
The easiest option is to use coyote urine as it’s the main raccoon predator. This is the bestselling coyote urine on Amazon.
Other types of predator urine you can use are bobcat, wolf, bear, and mountain lion urine.
It’s a good idea to have two different species as you can rotate them every few weeks. This prevents the raccoons from getting accustomed to the scent and chancing their luck in your yard.
Raccoons can also be put off coming to your yard using human urine. When human urine is left to go stale for a few days it starts to get a strong ammonia scent. Raccoons hate the smell of ammonia.
If you don’t want to go spraying your own or your family’s urine around your yard, you can buy a jug of ammonia or vinegar to use around your yard. This is much cheaper than using predator urine.
The best way to do this is to tie cloth rags into balls soaked in the urine or ammonia and place them at different points around your yard.
8. Lock up your garbage
One of the easiest ways for raccoons to access food in your yard is through your garbage can.
Once they get hold of it they’ll leave a huge mess. This includes bags ripped open and food packaging is strewn all over your yard.
The best way to prevent them from getting to your garbage can is to keep it locked away in a secure area until trash collection day.
If that’s not possible then you’ll need some way to prevent the raccoons from lifting the lid on your trash can.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with a strap (the strong strap brand is highly recommended)
Another way around this is to use an outdoor trash can storage container (like this) that the raccoons won’t be able to get access to.
9. Cover water sources
Raccoons are attracted to areas with food but also water. That’s so they can dip their food in water before eating it.
Raccoons like to dip their food as it gives their paws sensory feedback about what they are eating.
Simple sources of water you may have in your yard are pet water bowls, upturned pots, trashcan lids, pools, or even birdbaths.
If you can, try to remove any of these sources of water, even if just overnight when the raccoons are most active.
If you can’t then use a cover to prevent the raccoons from getting easy access to the water source to dip their food. This is the ideal solution for birdbaths and pools which can’t be easily moved.
10. Close any access points
If a raccoon is using your yard as a den you need to wait until the female raccoon moves her cubs.
Raccoons do this regularly during nesting season. Once you’re sure the raccoon and her cubs have gone you need to close off any access point to the den. If you don’t you’ll attract other raccoons to move in and build more dens.
Females will often move their cubs on as soon as you being to deter them from your yard. However, moving all cubs can take around 2-3 days. The process can be easily disturbed by thunderstorms, barking dogs, or other outdoor disturbances.
Remember that the female won’t move until nighttime, so be as patient as you can.
Make sure all cubs are removed from the den before you close it off. A mother raccoon will do a lot of damage to your property by trying to reach her remaining cub.
11. Use Electronic Devices
Using an electronic raccoon repellent is a humane way to keep them away from your yard.
These devices can work in a variety of ways. This includes emitting high-frequency sounds, flashing lights, predator noises, or motion-activated water sprays. Here are a few of the most popular brands you can buy.
The idea is to make your yard an uncomfortable place for the raccoons to be, even when for foraging food.
These devices are quite cheap to buy, and you can even get solar-powered ones. That means you don’t need to worry about powering it up, simply set it in your yard a let it work its magic.
12. Sprinkle Epsom salts
Sprinkling Epsom salts around your yard is a great way to keep raccoons away from your yard. You can buy large tubs of Epsom salts in bulk for a great price on Amazon.
Not only do raccoons hate the taste and smell but they are really great fertilizer for your soil.
You can also sprinkle Epsom salts around areas of high raccoon traffic in your year. The best place is near access points, fences, vegetable garden, bird feeders, and garbage cans.
Epsom salts can need a bit of work to keep the raccoons away as they will dissolve whenever you have a rainy spell. That means you’ll have to reapply regularly for them to work effectively against the raccoons.
13. Clean up
Keeping your yard well maintained is one of the best ways to prevent raccoons from coming into your yard.
Try to keep food smells in your yard to a minimum. You can do this by clearing away any food from outdoor dining, fruit fallen from trees, and cleaning trash cans.
Even a well-maintained lawn will prevent June bug grubs from hatching in your grass. Raccoons love to dig these up and make a right mess of your grass.
14. Use plastic sheets
One random piece of information you may not know is that raccoons don’t like to walk on plastic surfaces.
It has to do with the sensitivities in their paws.
You can use strips of plastic painter’s sheets placed around your yard to make it difficult for the raccoons to move around easily.
If you’re not keen on a large sheet of plastic covering your soil, then a scat mat (like this one) will do the same job. It basically just a roll of soft spikes that won’t harm the raccoons, but will make it hard for them the maneuver. These sheets can be easily placed around your yard and moved around as needed.
You may have noticed that trapping or hiring raccoon removal professionals isn’t on this list.
That’s because while these techniques do work to remove individual raccoons, it’s not a great way to deter them.
The truth is that if one raccoon is attracted to your yard it’s likely other raccoons will be too.
Trapping and removing individual raccoons is a reactive solution rather than a proactive one. A relocated raccoon is likely to die quickly in its new location.
The idea is to make your yard an uncomfortable environment for raccoons to search for food or look to build a den. That way you’ll stop the raccoons from coming to your yard in the first place before you need to shell out to have them removed.
Deterring raccoons is best done by using humane methods to keep them at bay.
This includes using natural methods that annoy the raccoons. It simply makes your yard an uncomfortable environment, rather than harming them. Check out my recommendation for the best raccoon repellents.
All these methods are really easy to put in place and need minimal effort to maintain.
I recommend using a few methods together to get the best results.
To put it simply try to minimize access to things that attract them the most: food, water, and shelter. Then use introduce smells, tastes and sensations, sights, and sounds that they don’t like.
Trust me if you use these regularly, your yard will be free from raccoons in no time.