To prevent raccoon damage in your home or business, the first step is to take away anything that will be appealing to the raccoon including food, water and shelter. The next step is to take precautions that will exclude them from getting into areas like attics, under decks, inside or on top of sheds and into garbages.
Here are some tips to prevent and exclude raccoons from getting into your home or business.
- Secure Garbage - Ensure garbage is in a can with a tightly sealed lid or kept out of reach inside a garage or shed. Keep in mind, that raccoons are extremely handy and capable of opening containers.
- Remove Food Sources - Do not leave out accessible food sources such as pet or bird feed. Unfortunately, also fruit trees and ponds with fish provide food for raccoons.
- Trim Trees - Trim any trees that overhang your roof, or are close enough to your house for a raccoon to jump to. If it is a large tree, consider hiring a Certified Arborist to safely remove any large branches while keeping your trees healthy and strong. Residents in some cities, such as Toronto, may require a permit to trim certain trees.
- Evaluate Landscaping - Clusters of tightly growing shrubs, especially evergreens, can be a refuge from raccoons. Take a look for spaces behind the shrubs where raccooons can hide, or for areas underneath shrubs and other landscaping plants that raccoons are using for latrines. Remove any raccoon poop (feces) immediately and safely.
- Keep your roof in good repair - Any thin or lifting shingles, worn out areas or other weakened areas provide the perfect opportunity for raccoons to move into your attic. Once they are in the attic, raccoons can cause a lot of damage and serious health hazards.
- Ensure the base of decks, sheds and porches are enclosed - Adding a simple piece of plywood over an opening is unlikely to be enough to keep a determined raccoon, or even skunk, from getting under your deck. You have to use strong mesh wiring and dig it deep enough into the ground so raccoons cannot dig under. Anchor it properly to the wall to they can't get in at the edges.
- Do not intentionally feed raccoons or keep as pets. It is illegal to keep a wild animal as a pet. Feeding wild animals is an extremely irresponsible practice and will ultimately lead to the animal's demise. Once wild animals associate humans as a source of food, they will stop trying to find food themselves, and will not know to differentiate between the humans and will feed them, and those that won't. They can get aggressive with humans in their search for food, leading to accidental, or purposeful biting. At this point the animal will have to be destroyed and the human that gets bitten is exposed to rabies, which is fatal if not treated immediately. Making food readily available to raccoons will lead to increased populations, which leads higher rates of disease and it is spread much faster through the population. Raccoon rabies is spreading quickly through areas of Ontario and feeding raccoons will only make that situation worse. Feeding wild animals does NOT help the animal.