You’ve seen them before – with their cute, cuddly masked faces – raccoons! While you might be tempted to try and pet them, raccoons carry diseases that are extremely dangerous to humans. They have been known to carry salmonella, roundworms, and especially rabies! Besides the threat of disease to humans, raccoons can also cause significant damage to your home and garden.

So what can you do to prevent these animal nuisances?

  1. Don’t let them in. Raccoons can get into your home through defects in your exterior. Inspect the outside of your home carefully. Check for loosening or holes in the siding, holes or loose shingles on the roof, and holes or loosening of skirting or in your porches and repair them. Cover any other openings with wire mesh. Consider closing in your crawlspace under your home. Cover chimneys with caps or with wire mesh. Install wire mesh under your porches and around your gardens.  This also includes your pet doors. Make sure pet doors are locked, especially overnight when raccoons are more active. If you can’t lock them overnight, look into using pet doors that lock automatically and are activated by sensors in your pets’ collars.
  2. Illuminate. Raccoons are most active at night. They use the darkness as cover when they forage for food. Using lights on the exterior of your home can deter raccoons from coming in. Install motion-sensor floodlights in several spots around the outside of your home.
  3. Take Out The Trash. One of the most common signs of raccoon activity is overturned trashcans. If you can, store trashcans and recycling bins indoors, even in a locked garage or shed. Raccoons can open doors that are unlocked. If you can’t store them indoors, make sure you use animal-proof lids on your cans.
  4. Don’t Tempt Them With Food. Raccoons will come into your home and yard in search of food. Eliminate any possible food sources to keep them away. Clean under your bird feeders daily and, if possible, bring them inside overnight. Don’t leave pet food bowls and water bowls outside overnight. Make sure to keep pet food sealed in airtight containers and, if possible, store it inside.
  5. Call The Pros. If you suspect you have a raccoon problem or if you confirm you have one in your home or attic, contact a wildlife removal company. A professional trapper can not only remove the raccoon from your home, but also clean up any contamination the raccoon may have left behind, and provide a thorough evaluation and exclusion plan to help prevent them from getting back inside.