At LifeSupplyUSA, we get it. You can discover the need to remove a wild animal from your property, and still do so respectfully. You can be an animal lover, and not tolerate certain behaviors. You shouldn't have to feel guilty about it! There are plenty of ways in which we handle wild animals humanely, without letting them get away with damaging our property.
Raccoons are among the most destructive "pest" animals that frequent our yards; you certainly wouldn't be an outlier for needing to remove one. They dig through trashcans, overturn gardens, and create general mayhem. They can also be carriers of rabies and other diseases. Most of the time they come and go, visiting every once in a while. But what do you do if a raccoon decides to choose your yard as his permanent residence?
Your first thought might be to contact your local animal control for help. But will animal control remove a raccoon from your yard for you? Most people don't think about this until they have their own raccoon problem.
We all know that any pest control service will remove anything for you, but certainly not for free. To remove a single raccoon, a pest control service might charge you 150-300 USD. They might also charge you extra if they have to come back more than once, if the animal is a nursing mother, or if more pests are found.
In the case of animal control, it depends; they may humanely trap and relocate the animal, or they may refuse. There are a few determining factors in this, such as local animal control ordinances, the animal's behavior, and how much danger it poses to people or property. Animal control will remove a raccoon from your yard if it is:
- Dead and you cannot remove it yourself.
- A baby animal with no mother in sight (and the animal control center has room for the animal).
- An animal that is obviously sick or injured, and needs help.
- Inflicted with rabies, in which case it will be euthanized by animal control.
Surprisingly, for the most part, animal control will refuse to help you with raccoons. If the animal is behaving as expected (even rummaging through garbage), you can just forget it. Animal control will not bother wasting their time if the raccoon is healthy, not causing any indoor damage, and is not an imminent threat to people or property. Even if you have already tried trapping it yourself, unsuccessfully, then sorry--they may still refuse.
If animal control isn't willing to help you out for free, and hiring pest control seems too expensive (or just not worth it), there are still safe and humane ways to get rid of raccoons.
Raccoons can be caught and released safely using humane animal cage traps. These traps allow you to catch the animal without putting yourself in danger, or causing any harm to the animal. You can try to trap the animal yourself! We've outlined how below.
*** Please note: This content is for informational purposes only - LifeSupplyUSA is in no way responsible for animal injuries or property damage incurred while using animal traps. This article should NOT be used to replace professional advice on animal capture/handling/release. If animal control will not remove it for you, they WILL help you with professional advice on catching and trapping. Always contact them first to make sure you are following your local laws and regulations.
1. What Do You Need to Catch a Raccoon Humanely?
First, you'll need to purchase a heavy-duty, humane animal cage trap. Don't worry, it's the most affordable option compared to hiring a pest control service. For use with raccoons, you'll want to find a good medium-sized trap like this: Heavy Duty Catch Release Medium Live Humane Animal Cage Trap for Cats, Skunks, Rats, Squirrels 24x7x7
This LifeSupplyUSA trap is fully assembled and ready-to-use. It features a carrying handle to prevent animal contact, a gravity-action door, and a sturdy lock.
Raccoon Trapping Supply List
You'll also need:
- rubber gloves
- safety glasses
- mask (optional)
2. How to Bait the Animal Cage Trap
Use bait that raccoons favor and will not encourage the wrong animal to be trapped. A couple of good bait options for raccoons include:
- Raw or cooked bacon
- Peanut butter mixed with birdseed or cat food
- Wet dog food or canned tuna
- Fresh fruit
Set up the animal cage trap. Find a good spot to place it, where you know the raccoon will be likely to pass by but where other pets and children cannot access the trap.
Proper Baiting Protocol
Bait the trap by placing a small amount of bait in the back corner of the trap. Be sure to keep your hands and fingers clear of the trap door when baiting, as it will spring shut quickly.
Check the animal cage trap every day to ensure that there is fresh bait and no animals have been caught. Ideally, you'll want to check the trap every two hours until an animal is captured, as leaving them in there too long begins to blur the line of "humane." If you are in a position where you are unable to check it that often, it's okay, but definitely make sure in that case you leave a bowl of water in the cage.
3. How to Release the Raccoon Once It's Caught
Once you've caught the raccoon, be very careful when releasing it. Always wear gloves and safety glasses to protect yourself from scratches and bites.
If possible, try to release the animal as close as reasonably possible to the area where it was captured. Release at least two miles away, ideally around five, but no more than ten.
Raccoons have a strong homing instinct, so if you release them too close to their home, there's a good chance they will find their way back. However, if you release them too far away, this results in these scenarios you'll want to avoid:
- Disruption of ecosystem: Environmental experts work hard to make sure each ecosystem is balanced; releasing in the same area ensures the natural balance.
- Hurt the animal's survival: The raccoon will be confused about its new location and struggle with how to find its food, water source, etc.
- Cause issues for other neighborhoods: If a neighborhood is being controlled for rabies, you'd be exacerbating their problem. Some states, in particular, have problems with rabies, so make sure you are following all laws and regulations.
Remember this most importantly: Never release an animal across state lines. It is never necessary, and can potentially put you in legal trouble if you are caught doing so.
Tips for Avoiding Conflict with Raccoons in the Future:
- Be sure to keep your garbage cans tightly sealed and stored in a garage or shed.
- Install motion-sensor lights around your home to deter raccoons from coming near, and scare them off when they get too close.
- If you have a pet, keep them indoors at night. Raccoons are more likely to approach homes with pets outdoors. They are attracted to the scent of animal food and may come to your yard hoping that they can eat some of it.
- Keep trees trimmed so raccoons cannot use them to climb onto porches or roofs where they feel safe.
- Remove access points such as holes in the roof, chimney, attic vents, loose siding, or shingles on the home.
- Do not attempt to feed, pet or otherwise interact with raccoons.
Be safe and know that animal control is always a helpful source.
Even if animal control will not do the job for you, they will certainly give you proper advice and assistance with trapping the animal yourself, making sure that you are in line with your local laws and regulations. You can always utilize them as a reliable source to help you. After reading through this article, you should locate and contact the line for your local animal control, and confirm with them your methods for removing the raccoon so that they can give you the right advice.
If you are still seeking free help, and animal control has refused, be sure to also try contacting your local police department, firehouse, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and your state's wildlife commission.