Get Rid of Raccoons in the Attic:
I'm commonly asked how to get rid of raccoons in the attic. It's my job to remove critters from homes, and this is one of the most common cases that I deal with. It all starts when a homeowner hears noises above the ceiling or
in the walls, and calls me out to investigate. Sometimes the homeowner knows that it's raccoons - due to visual confirmation of the animal climbing into the roof, and sometimes they don't know at all. But when I arrive at the
house, I jump in the attic and do an inspection. Sometimes I see a raccoon up there, and I am able to snare it with my trusty snare pole, and drag it out, such as seen in the below photo!
Click here for a nationwide list of 100's of professional raccoon trappers serving all 50 states.
But please be aware that there's seldom just one raccoon. There's usually a nest of baby raccoons in the attic - like at least 85% of the time. The baby raccoons must be found and removed! If not, they will cry and cry and starve
to death without the mom, then die and rot and stink and attract a lot of flies and maggot fly hatches. Please make sure your wildlife professional goes in the attic and finds and removes the baby raccoons and puts them in a sack or
bucket, such as in the above photo. You can read here more about how to get raccoons out of the attic
. Actually, one of the best ways of how to get rid of raccoons in your attic is to use those baby raccoons as "live bait" in a cage to trap and remove the female mother raccoon. And after the
raccoons are all removed, for goodness' sake, seal up the entry hole(s)!
Get Rid of Raccoons in the Back Yard:
If you merely need to know how to get rid of raccoons in your
yard, then you can set traps outside with food raccoon bait
, such as marshmallows. But trapping by non-licensed homeowners is illegal in most states, and it is NOT AS EASY AS IT MIGHT SEEM. There are so many variables that go into trapping, especially
given the circumstance. What is attracting the raccoon to your yard in the first place? Garbage? Pet food? A little pond? A swimming pool
? There are remedies for all of these areas, in which you can eliminate whatever the raccoon
is after. If you've got no other choice but to trap, then be sure you have the right type of trap, and set it properly. I have several raccoon trapping tips
You must be mindful of your
property of course, since trapped raccoons tend to reach their hands out of the cage and destroy anything in the nearby vicinity.
Get Rid of Raccoons inside the House:
If you want to know how to get rid of raccoons in your house, you've got to identify the spot - are we talking somewhere in the structure, like the walls, ceiling, crawl
space, etc, or did a raccoon get in the habituated part of the house
, like living room, kitchen, bathroom etc? Inside the structure of the house, you must identify how they got in, trap at the entry source, and seal up the entry holes once they are gone.
Don't place cage traps inside an attic, that NEVER WORKS, I can guarantee you that. If they're somewhere in the architecture, find babies of course, and seal up all entry points once they are out. If a raccoon got in your home, like
it crawled through a pet door or an open door and into the parlor, don't panic! Open the doors and let it go out on its own. Don't corner it or try to fight it! Or you could call a pro to come get it with a snare pole.
Get Rid of Raccoons on the Roof:
If they are climbing on the roof, it's mostly likely not because they just want a
casual stroll up there for the view. They most likely have
made a home up there, or most likely of all, are on the roof, where they've torn open an entry hole, and are getting into the attic. So check for that first. If you want to set traps on the roof to catch raccoons, be sure
to bolt the traps down with heavy duty screws and washers, or else the animal will come off, and that'll be a big problem. Unless you have a flat area of the roof, then you can set there. Be sure to put a guard under
the trap, such as plywood, or my preference, steel mesh, so that the animal won't rip up all the shingles. It's not easy, so you may want to hire a company off my directory. You can try to keep raccoons from climbing
on the roof by trimming back trees, but the reality is that they are very good climbers, and raccoons climb up downspouts, brick, or even just the corner of a house.
Get Rid of Raccoons in the Crawl Space:
Raccoons commonly get into the crawl space or the basement. Most people refer to the space below an elevated house, or an elevated portion of the house,
as the crawl space. As usual, check for babies, although they're less common in the crawlspace than in the attic. Females seem to want to be higher off the ground. Normal trapping tactics apply. As far as sealing off the crawl space
so that no more animals can get under there, if there are just a few vent holes or something, then it's easy. But if you have a wide open space all around the perimeter of the crawl space, it'll take a lot of work to seal it
all off - either with steel mesh or lattice.
Get Rid of Raccoons under the Shed or Deck:
The same principles apply for decks and sheds, or anything a raccoon can crawl under, as they do for the crawlspace as discussed above. A shed is kind of tricky to
get under of course, so just trap outside, near the opening to under the shed. I've made many exclusion barrier around sheds. I usually dig a trench around the shed, and install stell mesh, bolted to the side of the shed, down into the ground,
so that animals can't dig under the barrier and get under the shed again. The same goes for porches and decks.
Get Rid of Raccoons in a Tree:
Raccoons aren't strictly arboreal animals like squirrels, but they do often go into trees. If they've found a big old tree hollow, then they might pick
that as a place to nest and raise babies. I have to say, if there's a raccoon in a tree, maybe just leave it alone. It's not hurting anything. It won't kill the tree. Animals need someplace to live, so if they've picked
a tree instead of your house, I say great! I think this is a kind of live and let live scenario. But, if for some reason the animals are causing you a real problem, you can always take the trap - remove - relocate route.
Get Rid of Raccoons in Your Garbage:
Raccoons are very intelligent creatures that have learned how to make the best of living in a world full of humans. Garbage bags and containers are easy prey for these sneaky critters, and even latched containers can be opened
by the ambidextrous raccoon. If you’re having trouble with raccoons in your garbage, make sure you never place bags outside without sturdy containers. Bags are easily ripped open and the result is often a terrible mess. Even
sturdy containers can be opened by a raccoon. Garbage bins should have a secured lid, but that is usually not enough. A lid tight fitting lid is important, but it should also be secured with a good lock, knot, or other secondary
defense. Raccoons can often figure out and remove bungee cords, so make sure the secondary protection you select requires more complex skills to remove. These precautions may seem drastic but they will save you a lot of time and
energy in the war against pest control. Raccoons are stubborn adversaries, so don’t be alarmed if they return to your garbage containers for a few nights before giving up.
I will now address a large number of questions and matters I've received over the years regarding getting rid of raccoon problems. Here are 100 reader-requested tips:
1) how to catch a raccoon in the attic - I covered this fairly well in my attic guides, written above.
2) raccoons in chimney - This is a scenario that I cover extensively in my raccoon in chimney
guide, which carefully explains how to get rid of raccoons in a chimney and fireplace.
3) raccoon traps - There are actually many types of traps - from lethal body grip or connibear type traps, to paw hold traps to leg traps to egg traps that catch a raccoon by the paw or foot. But I stick with the good old live cage trap, of which there are many makes and manufacturers. Be sure to pick a large enough size, at least 32 inches long.
4) trapping tips - I've got a whole bunch of tips written above. Here's one more: don't stick your fingers into the trap when you pick it up, or you'll get bitten!
5) raccoon eviction fluid - This is a substance, made from the feces and urine and gland scent of a dominant male raccoon, and it can be used to intimidate a female with young into packing up and leaving an attic or house. This product is usually only available to professional trappers.
6) how to catch a raccoon - A snare pole is good, but don't try to grab one by hand! Actually, a live cage trap is the easiest and most effective method.
7) raccoon deterrent - The best deterrent is elimination of whatever is attracting the raccoon - put bungee cords to strap down your garbage can lids, seal off holes leading into your house, etc.
8) raccoon poop - I've devoted a whole web page to what does raccoon poop look like
9) trapping raccoons in attic - As stated, you should never set traps inside the attic itself. That may seem like the logical way, but it doesn't really work well. Oh, it does work from time to time, it's just not the most efficent method.
10) trapping a raccoon - An art, in my opinion (more of a fact than an opinion, really) that I honed over many, many years and many trials. Rookies do make mistakes - big ones! So be careful.
11) raccoons and nests - Raccoon nests may be in several areas - hollowed out trees, for example. But in my line of work, I deal with the nests and the babies most commonly inside houses, in the attic insulation.
12) raccoon roof access - Raccoons climbing downspouts is a common way, or just scaling the walls. Trees make it super easy. I cover it above, in the how do you get rid of raccoons on your roof guide.
13) raccoon repellent moth balls - Ah, a very common question. The answer is absolutely no. You can't get rid of raccoons with moth balls. Read all about types of raccoon repellent
14) raccoon feces disease - Yes, there are diseases associated with raccoon feces. The most obvious is salmonella, but much more serious is the raccoon roundworm, which can and does infect pets and people. Don't directly touch feces.
15) raccoon disease - While the animals themselves, and your pets, can get canine distemper, the big concern is rabies. Rabies is the most serious raccoon disease.
16) pictures and information about racoons - all kinds of it on my website here. Just browse around!
17) removing raccooon from your house - You could try to sweep it out with a broom, as a last resort. Be sure to keep your kids and pets locked up!
18) racoons in the chimney - Yup, covered above. Many people misspell as racoon, I've noticed.
19) racoons in homes - The misspelled version of racoon - yes, they get in homes, and yes I duscuss it above.
20) racoons in chimney - The misspelled version of racoon - yes, they get in the chimney, and yes I duscuss it above.
21) racoon repellant - The misspelled version of racoon - again, I have all kinds of analysis of racoon repellents.
22) racoon removal from residence - Ah, the residence, another word for house or home or building.
23) racoon on roof - The misspelled version of racoon - yes, they get on top of the roof, and yes I duscuss it above.
24) raccoon urine smell - The urine does smell. You can smell it in your attic. I clean and get rid of raccoon smell with a special enzyme cleaner that I fog the attic with.
25) raccoon removal tips - Here another one: if you do snare one, around the chest and one front arm is better than around the neck.
26) raccoon relocation distance - Good question: I say at least ten miles, yes 10 miles from the capture site. Any less, and amazingly, the animal will track its way back home.
27) raccoon prevention - Ah, the first and maybe best step you can take. Don't leave out garbage or pet food, and make sure your house is sealed shut so that none can break in.
28) raccoon diseases in attic - Yes, the roundworm as discussed can be a problem. That's why I do full attic cleanup and restoration in attics. Deodorization is important too.
29) law on trapping raccoon - I don't know all the laws in every state in every part of the country. Consult your local wildlife fish and game commission.
30) human wildlife removal racoon - Humans are the most likely ones to do it - no other animal is going to take out a raccoon, I can tell you that!
31) how to get racoons out of fireplace chimney - They're most likely living right above the fireplace, at the bottom of the flu. Leave the damper shut, so they don't come down into the house.
32) how to capture a raccoon that lives in my apartment attic house - Ah raccoon capture, of course. Catch, capture, similar things. A steel cage trap is the best option.
33) get raccoons out of the attic - indeed you ought to get them out of the attic, or they will cause all sorts of raccoon damage
34) coon trapping tips - Coon is short for raccoon, or an abbreviation that people often use.
35) can racoon in attic crash through ceiling - Oh yes, you bet they can, I've seen it happen many times. They fall through the ceiling from the attic.
36) baby racoon sounds - It's hard to describe a noise exactly, but it's kind of a high-pitch chattering. It sounds very distinct.
37) attic animal removal - That's what I do best! So do the professionals on my directory list.
38) where can you get a trap for an animal in the attic - you can buy a trap from many sources. Even Home Depot sells them. That doesn't mean that it's easy to do.
39) where are raccoons getting into my house - Perform a full inspection of your house, and you will likely find a hole or two - where soffits meet roof is a great place to start your search.
40) what to do with caught racoon - You will either kill it or transport it somewhere else and release it (relocate it). I recommend the latter if it's legal, but if you must kill it, do so humanely.
41) what to do when there is animal in your attic at night - I seriously, honestly, recommend calling a professional in this case. There is just so much involved, so many variables, so much experience necessary to do the job right.
42) what to do when a raccoon is in the walls - Same as above, I say call one of my pros. This job may involve cutting a hole in the wall and extracting raccoons.
43) what to do if raccoon damage the roof of the house - First take care of the critter problem, then fix the damage on the roof.
44) what to do after a racoon gets into an attic or garage - Remove it first of all - read my raccoon removal
page, and then clean up the mess it made and fix the damage.
45) what should i do if there is a raccoon in my atic - Don't panic - call a pro to inspect the attic and remove the animals in the proper manner.
46) what raccoons don't like - Good question! What don't they like? I guess they don't like anything too dangerous, like really big aggressive dogs. They don't seem to like the forest - they like cities better.
47) what kind of bait is used for catching a raccoon - almost any bait works. Pet food, chicken, white bread, but I like to use marshmallows the best.
48) what is raccoon eviction fluid - a special repellent fluid, made from the glands of large male raccoons - makes female raccoons afraid.
49) what does a baby raccoon sound like - it sounds like nothing else, kind of a high chattering, whirring noise.
50) what do raccoons live in - they live in a variety of habitats, from trees to caves to dumpsters to human buildings.
51) types of raccoon - there's only one species of raccoon - Procyon lotor - but there are several different personality types, just like with dogs. Some are city
raccoons, some are country raccoons, some are aggressive, some are meek, etc.
52) trapping techniques - Technique is very important. I cover some of the basics here: how to trap raccoons
. But remember, trapping definitely requires experience - and licensing.
53) sick raccoon symptoms - There are many types of illness, but the most common symptom for rabies and distemper is actually lethargy. Limb paralysis is also common. You rarely see an agressive, foaming-at-the-mouth animal.
54) how to remove raccoons from chimney - The pros have several techniques, and I cover them in my chimney guide.
55) how to release a raccoon - Be careful. Don't stick your hand or fingers in the trap, or you might get bitten. Bring the animal to an appropriate relocation site, and open the door with care and let it run out. Then take the trap and walk away.
56) racoons in crawl spaces of house - A common area for the crafty raccoon to reside. It chooses the crawl space for safety.
57) racoon repelent - Oh, a misspelling and an ignorant request all in one. There is no such thing as racoon repelent that actually works.
58) how do you get rid of raccoons on the roof - I cover this above, and the important thing to realize is of course that they may be getting inside the house.
59) raccoons inside roof - Inside the roof, you say? Like in the ceiling or attic?
60) how to get rid of raccoons in ceiling - This is often harder than the attic, because the baby raccoons are less accessible. I almost always have to cut a hole in the ceiling.
61) raccoons in tree how to remove - You can't really remove raccoons in a tree, but you can ground trap at the base of the tree. Be sure there isn't a nest of babies in the tree!
62) raccoon trapped in attic - The animals aren't actually trapped in the attic - they have to be able to get in and out for food. You also can't set traps in the attic.
63) raccoon trap off of roof - If the trap fell off the roof, you didn't bolt it down well enough.
64) raccoon restoration - I highly recommend attic cleanup after raccoon infestation, because of the health risks. I discuss this at length on this site.
65) raccoon removal techniques - Snare pole, eviction fluid, cage trapping, one-way exclusion doors, they all have a proper time and place.
66) raccoon problems - Because of the high number of raccoon problems in the United States, I have written about raccoon pest control
67) raccoon poisoning - Please don't try it. Please. If you want to kill raccoons, shoot them, but poison is the worst thing you can do. And it's illegal.
68) raccoon noises - Mostly heavy thumping and walking, sometimes scratching, and vocal noises.
69) raccoon noise deterrent - The best way to stop the noise is to remove the animals, of course!
70) raccoon infestation - Some cities and houses do have downright infestations, with several animals living in one area at the same time.
71) raccoon in walls or homes will it leave on its own - The animals might leave on their own after the babies are weaned after 8 months. But then the female will soon have another litter, and yes, she will absolutely pick the same place again.
72) raccoon human hair - Will human hair keep away raccoons? Ha! Give it a shot! Oooh, scary human hair!
73) raccoon droppings disease - roundworm is the most serious raccoon poop disese.
74) raccoon break into house - they can easily do so with their strong claws and nimble ways.
75) raccoon attic damage photo - several on this site, they damage wires, ducts, insulation, and more.
76) pregnant racoons in my attic - correct, most of the time, it's a pregnant female, who shortly gives
77) noise in attic at night - could be any number of animals, but most likely rat, mouse, opossum, or of course, coon.
78) male raccoon scent - This scent is sometimes used to scare and chase away a nursing mother female coon.
79) listen to baby raccoons in the attic - If you want to find them, listening to the babies is the best way to locate exactly where they are.
80) liquid solution to racoon - the coon eviction liqid is what some professional wildlife operators use to get rid of the mother.
81) if raccoon gets in the chimney they can come into the house - Yes, especially if the damper is open. Other than that, it would be unlikely, but it could happen.
82) i have a racoon in my roof who do i call - You call a professional wildlife control man.
83) how to catch a racoon in attict - Not for beginners, this job is in the domain of the pros.
84) how protective are mother raccoons - Extremely protective of their young, they might even attack a full-grown adult human.
85) how do you get a raccoon out of your walls - You can trap adults at the hole outside, but the young usually have to be removed by cutting a hole in the drywall.
86) how do raccoons get in the attic - They enter the attic via a variety of areas, from vents to gaps under the house, but the most common access point is at the roof, particularly the eaves.
87) how do i know if the raccoon in my attic has had babies - Good question. First of all, she almost always does. Second, if you listen, you can often hear them. Third, if you trap her and she has visible nipples, that means she's nursing babies.
88) how do i get baby raccons out of my chimny - Use an inspection mirror up the damper and locate them, then reach up into the damper and grab them with a thick leather glove. Make sure mama isn't in the vicinity.
89) heavy scratching noise coming from ceiling what is it - It can be any number of nocturnal pest animals, but the best bet, if it's heavy, is a coon or possum.
90) getting a raccoon out of your garage - Getting a raccoon out of the garage is no easy task. Read the top of this page.
91) evict raccoons with teargas - Wow, that's crazy. I never thought of that, and even if you did get them out, they most certainly will return.
92) do i have to remove a raccoon from a crawlspace if i rent - No, not necessarily, but for the sake of the property and your health, you may want to consider it and call the landlord.
93) can you use a trap to catch a raccoon in an attic - Yes, but if you set the trap inside the attic space, like on the boards or insulation, you won't have a high success rate.
94) can baby raccoons chew through ceiling - No, they don't have good enough gnawing abilities. But the waste they leave might decay the ceiling and they might fall through.
95) cage shy raccoon - A really tough case - it's hard to trap a cage shy animal, especially a coon. The pros have a lot of tricks for such critters.
96) baylisascaris procyonis - The scientific name for raccoon roundworm, which can infect pets and humans.
97) attic restoration cost after racoon - This can vary based on the amount of damage or contamination, and the company doing the cleanup work.
98) animals in attic ducts - Yes, this happens quite often. Animals crawl in the ducts of the HVAC system. I've removed several types of animals from the ducts.
99) animal eviction fluid - I've only seen raccoon eviction fluid, but it can work on female squirrels.
100) a raccoon is in my attic does insurance pay for the damage - it might depend on the carrier and the negotiating ability of you or the company that cleans the attic. I personally don't know a whole lot about this issue, because
my attic cleanups never cost enough to justify insurance coverage. I know some companies try to rip off the insurance company for ten thousand dollars or more - that's their business model.
Below is an email that I received:
Thank you for your informative site and your offer of help.
I live in a 50 year old flat-roofed house with a space of about 2 feet
between the joists and the roof. A raccoon entered in mid-May from open
vent on roof and had its babies. At least this is my guess from reading and
With a wildlife removal company I have been trying to remove the raccoon by covering
all but one possible point of entry, trimming trees and setting live traps.
I cut a hole in a closet wall that adjoins the ceiling above which they are
living, closed off the room and opened window. That nite I heard loud
screeching outside and saw a HUGE raccoon on the ground and a little one in
the trellised honey-suckle vine. In the early morning (7/24) I heard a
critter return, but it sounded like a baby, not heavy like the big one has
been sounding and softly chirping. Last nite I heard nothing, but this
morning I heard the soft chirping of what I assume are at least 2 babies. I
don't think the mother got back in as I had closed the window and the roof
vent is about 5 inches in diameter. The traps, one on the roof adjacent to
the vent and one on the shelf adjacent to the wall-opening are baited with
I am wondering if I should open the window again to give the mother access
so that she might be trapped with the babies. Or are the babies big enough
to go out on their own at the estimated age of 7 to 10 weeks (remember that
I saw one kit a few nites ago). I am concerned for the well-being of the
kits and the possible outcome of them dying in the space.
I would greatly appreciate your suggestions.
Thank you very much for your help,
Robbie - Santa Fe, NM
I responded with this email:
It sounds like perhaps the mother raccoon was attacked by a male raccoon. She might have been run off, and now just the babies are left. I'd wait a few days to see if she's gone or not. If she is, the young have to be removed by hand, unless they are big enough for trapping, which they
may be. A hole may have to be cut in the ceiling at the nesting point if they are not mobile, but since it sounds like they are, some traps can be set at the opening to the attic where they are going in/out. 10 weeks is old enough to trap. 7 weeks is questionable, and at that age, might
require cutting a hole in the ceiling to snare and remove the young raccoons. If the mom is still present, she should be trapped as well, of course, along with the young.
I have a question on Racoon urine. I'm in the process of getting rid of raccoons in my attic. I had tried myself but I let a professional do it this time. The good news that this morning he caught the mother in the trap. However now he will place more traps to grab the pups. My question is that I also found urine tracks from the ceiling down to one wall. Lucky that it is in the spare room. What do you advise when this happens? I'm thinking once all are caught, I wanted to rip up the sheet rock and install new installation and sheet rock. Is that going over board?
I responded with this email:
I personally would not replace sheet rock, I'd just clean the urine with soap and water - might take a few cleaning attempts.
So in my opinion, since you want to know how to get rid of a raccoon in the house or yard or attic is to call a competent professional who knows what he is doing, and who can demonstrate wildlife knowledge over the phone, and who will definitely enter the attic and
remove baby raccoons, not just lazily put some traps on the ground. Traps on the ground works better for simpler cases, like raccoons pooping in a swimming pool