Raccoon Coexistence Plan (Procyon lotor)
First designed for the Fiesta Gardens HOA, San Mateo County, CA. 2003
Raccoons are an important link in nature’s food web. Their presence is also beneficial to humans because of their consumption of pesky insects and rodents.
Raccoons are highly adaptable. They are found in a range of habitats from fields and farmlands to wetlands and suburban areas. Conflicts occur when a raccoon’s search for food leads it to a vegetable garden, fish pond, garbage can, or chicken coop. Or if it takes advantage of attics, chimneys, or crawl spaces to create a den. The most effective way to prevent conflicts is by reducing the food supply and limiting access to denning sites around residential areas. This will reduce their population density since they will have to travel farther to obtain food and shelter.
Localized raccoon conflict prevention using nonlethal methods and exclusion, not elimination, is the only scientifically sound alternative.
A site survey will determine where raccoon impact is occurring, and inform appropriate preventative measures.
Quick tips for homeowners:
As we encroach on and destroy more and more wildlife habitat, we force animals like raccoons to come into closer contact with us. There’s no need to panic or pay hundreds of dollars for trapping services because most problems can be easily solved with some simple advice, patience and household materials.
Removing raccoons from attics, chimneys and crawl spaces:
In spring and summer, mother raccoons often take advantage of chimneys and attics as denning sites for raising cubs. The easiest and best solution is to wait a few weeks for the raccoons to move out on their own. As soon as the cubs are old enough to follow their mother, they will leave the denning area.
If there are no cubs:
Wait until the raccoon leaves for the evening before closing the point of entry. This may take several days.
If there are cubs:
Wait until the cubs are old enough to join their mother on her nightly forays before closing the point of entry. This may take several weeks.
If you absolutely must evict the raccoon family before they leave on their own:
Put lights and a radio in the attic or crawl space to encourage the mother to find another den site for her young. Do this right before dusk, raccoons will not move their babies during daylight hours.
Once you are certain the raccoons are gone, screen off the chimney and close the entrances to attics and crawl spaces.
Keeping raccoons out of your yard:
- Leave pet food outdoors
- Leave pet doors unlocked at night
- Leave ripe fruit unpicked, or leave fallen fruit on the ground
- Treat your lawn for grubs at the beginning of summer so there will be no food available in late summer and fall when raccoons are most likely to dig in lawns.
- Consult your plant nursery for beneficial nemetodes to kill the grubs without using poisons and insecticides that are dangerous to pets and wildlife.
- Fasten garbage can lids tightly, or keep garbage cans indoors and put them out in the morning for pickup.
- To protect fish in a pond: submerge a wire mesh horizontally around the edge, leaving the center open. The raccoon will not be able to reach past the wire and will not stand on it because it is unstable.
- Use black or cayenne pepper on the lawn to discourage raccoons from digging for grubs
If you have tried the above methods without success, or want more ideas tailored to your situation, please contact us so that we can provide you with advanced assistance.