Whether in movies or cartoons, raccoons are often portrayed as being smart, quirky and a little bit sneaky. Additionally, their ringed tails and masks make them seem almost adorable. But those miniature masks start to look downright menacing if raccoons start making a habit of showing up on your property. After all, one of the last things you want is for these creatures to decide they’re going to be your new house guests.

What Attracts Raccoons to Your Home?

Sometimes a bit of prevention is the best way to solve a problem. With that being said, learn what attracts raccoons in the first place, so you can try to make your home less desirable to these animals.

What Do Raccoons Need?

Like humans and most other animals, raccoons have three basic needs for survival: food, water and shelter. Your home provides ample opportunities for each. Raccoons are excellent climbers that have no problem scaling fences or finding ways into attics and crawlspaces that provide them entry points.

When it comes to water, they’ll drink from:

  1. Decorative fountains and ponds
  2. Puddles
  3. Leaky pipes
  4. Pet water dishes

One of the biggest attractants is definitely food, though. Read on to find out what food sources might be making raccoons think your property is an all-you-can-eat buffet.

What Do Raccoons Eat?

Raccoons in the wild typically hunt and forage for their foods. They tend to prefer living near water sources where they can dine on raccoon delicacies like crayfish, frogs, fish, snails and clams. However, they’re also happy to eat eggs, insects, nuts, fruits, vegetables and even the occasional dead animal. Raccoons are obviously not very picky eaters.

These animals also have a tendency to become opportunistic feeders, meaning if they find a readily available source of food, that’s their new favorite dish. This could be anything from the dog food that you leave out at night to your summer vegetable garden to fallen fruit or nuts in your yard. This could even include a garbage can with an unsecured lid.

How to Help Keep Raccoons Away

There are numerous home remedies for attempting to run off raccoons that you can find online. However, many of these methods fail more often than they succeed. More importantly, raccoons may attack if they feel threatened, and some may be carriers of pathogens that can spread disease, including rabies (though rare). This is one of the many reasons why do-it-yourself wildlife control is usually a bad idea.

That being said, there are some steps you can take to help prevent raccoons from getting cozy on your property in the first place. Here’s how to you can help keep raccoons away:

  1. Keep your yard free of fallen fruit or nuts.
  2. Set up motion-activated sprinklers around vegetable gardens.
  3. Keep trash can lids secured with bungee cords.
  4. Don’t leave pet food or water down when you’re not home, if possible.
  5. If you store grains, birdseed or pet food in a shed or garage, make sure lids are tightly-sealed and that there are no access points for raccoons.
  6. Inspect the perimeter of your house to make sure there are no places where raccoons can crawl into attics, crawlspaces, underneath porches and so forth.
  7. Keep woodpiles stacked in sealed sheds or far away from your home as raccoons may use them as dens.

Raccoons can look cute and charming, but you don’t want to come into contact with one if it’s being aggressive or happens to be rabid. If you suspect a raccoon might be camping out at your place, your best bet is to ask for help from a wildlife control professional, like the ones at Terminix®. Our trained technicians can evaluate your home to determine whether a raccoon is, in fact, the root of your pest problems, and then provide a solution for helping get rid of it. So schedule your free inspection today.