Raccoons in the wild may not pose a problem, but when they decide to hang out at your place it can be a different story. These mammals can carry canine distemper, which can be hazardous to unvaccinated dogs, and rabies, which can be transmitted to people or other animals. Moreover, their feces often contain the eggs of Baylisascaris procynis, which is a type of roundworm that can be extremely harmful to people. Getting rid of raccoons and their droppings is not always easy, but there are several methods of raccoon removal that can be employed.
How to get rid of a raccoon
Raccoons are protected under state law in most cases, and are classified as furbearers, meaning a license or permit is required to trap or hunt them. Because of this, how to kill a raccoon legally will vary from state to state, and is a job best left to professionals. As with many types of nuisance animals and pests, the best way to get rid of raccoons is to not invite them in in the first place. Removing their food sources and making your environment less friendly should also encourage any raccoons that are there to move along. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recommends the following methods for raccoon control.
“Do not leave pet food outside. Feed pets only as much as they will eat at once, and remove all leftovers. If necessary, place pet feeders in an enclosed area such as a porch, garage, or barn. Keep garbage bags in an entry-way [sic] or garage, and in a metal can. Run a rubber strap, rope or soft wire through the lid and attach to the can handles. To make it hard for raccoons to remove lids, hang the can one foot above the ground, or use a rack and secure the cans upright. Surround gardens with an electric fence made up of two wires attached to an insulated post, one wire four inches and the other eight inches above the ground. Install the fence before vegetables ripen. Block the openings raccoons are using to get into your attic, porch or other location. Place a temporary cover when the raccoons leave on their nightly search for food, and make a permanent seal later. To check if the raccoons have really left, sprinkle twigs, grass or flour in the opening and watch for tracks. Caution: do not permanently seal entrances without first verifying that all animals are out of the den. Especially in the spring, look and listen for animal noises.”
How to get rid of raccoon poop
Groups of raccoons pick one spot to be the communal defecation area, often referred to as a raccoon latrine. This can pose a problem if that spot happens to be located in your yard, because of the roundworm eggs often carried in raccoon poop. The roundworm’s effect on people can vary from no symptoms at all to severe issues with the eyes or nervous system. This parasite is primarily contracted when people come into contact with raccoon feces or accidentally ingest water or soil that has been contaminated by it. Raccoon feces have a strong scent, and are usually dark in color and shaped like a tube. Common latrine sites include decks and patios, attics or garages, near the base of trees and large rocks or woodpiles. A Centers for Disease Control factsheet on raccoon latrines advocates these methods for cleanup.
“Take care to avoid contaminating hands and clothes. Wear disposable gloves. Wear rubber boots that can be scrubbed or cover your shoes with disposable booties that can be thrown away, so that you do not bring eggs into your household. Wear a N95-rated respirator (available at local hardware stores) if working in a confined space to prevent accidental ingestion of eggs or other harmful materials. … [Outdoors] Feces and material contaminated with raccoon feces should be removed (using a shovel or inverted plastic bag) and burned, buried, or bagged and placed in the trash to be sent to a landfill. Most chemicals do not kill roundworm eggs, but heat will kill the eggs instantly. Treat feces-soiled decks, patios, and other surfaces with boiling water or a propane torch.** Disinfect hard, smooth surfaces (including shovel blades) with boiling water. To help further reduce the risk of possible infection, wash your hands well with soap and warm running water. Clean/launder your clothes thoroughly using hot water and detergent.”
When prevention fails
If preventative measures do not work, there are a number of traps available for raccoon removal. However, traps often require a permit, and measures must then be taken to release the animals in a safe, unpopulated area. It is usually best to call in a professional when raccoons have invaded your home. Get rid of raccoons the right way – by calling Terminix®. They offer wildlife control plans to help you remove raccoons and keep them out.