Raccoons in your yard can be a real problem. These urban scavengers are ravenously hungry and will happily eat almost anything. Raccoons have eaten potatoes out of gardens, fish out of koi ponds and wires out of telephone boxes. They are also primary carriers of rabies in the United States, along with several other potentially dangerous parasites.
You definitely want to keep raccoons away from your property if you can. Traps are available, but they can be cruel for the animals and inconvenient to clean out. Poison is dangerous to any small animals that come onto your property. If it’s at all possible, the best approach is to deter raccoons from coming onto your property at all.
Don’t Give Them a Reason to Visit
One of the most effective ways to deter raccoons is to simply not give them a reason to visit your home. Raccoons are almost always out hunting for food to eat, so keeping them away starts with taking away their food.
Bring in trash cans
Trash cans are irresistible for raccoons. In the wild, these animals forage in burrows and brush for meals, and to the raccoon, a trash can looks and smells like a burrow full of things to eat. Getting a trash can with a locking lid is a good first step to keeping raccoons out of the can, but they can usually still smell the garbage and come from all over. Try bringing your trash cans indoors at night, either into the garage or a shed. You might also want to drop empty tuna cans and other potentially attractive bits of trash into plastic baggies to contain their scent before throwing them away.
Don’t leave out pet food
Many people leave food out on their porch for the dogs and cats. As a rule, you can assume that raccoons are happy to eat anything your pets can eat. If it’s at all possible, never leave a dish of food out where raccoons can see or smell it. If you must feed the pets on the porch, set the dishes out close to midday, when raccoons are mostly sleeping, and bring them back in as soon as possible to limit the time they’re out. Bird feeders are less of a risk, but they can still draw raccoons to your yard. Not only do raccoons eat seeds and other snacks, but they might also be drawn in by the birds hanging around your feeders. If this starts happening, consider taking your bird feeders indoors at night.
Actively Turn Them Away
If removing the potential attractions from your yard isn’t enough to stop the raccoons from coming around, you may have to take a more active role in shooing them away. Most chemicals and mechanical traps create risks for other wildlife. Fortunately, there are several less dangerous ways to actively drive raccoons away and keep them out.
Soap the yard
Raccoons use their superb sense of smell to forage for food, and some scents are really effective at keeping them away. The ingredients in Irish Spring soap are generally effective in keeping raccoons and other small mammals out of your yard. You can scatter soap flakes around the edges of your property to create a barrier to them, as well as putting more concentrated piles near potential food sources, preferably under shelter to keep the rain off. Cayenne pepper has a similar effect, as do many other herbs and spices.
Install repellent lights
Another option you can try, and one without potentially toxic chemicals and strong odors, is a repellent light. Repellent lights flash a colored beam, usually red, over your yard at night to keep away the unwanted animals. Many nocturnal animals, including raccoons, have eyes that are sensitive to this type of light, and the flashing disturbs them enough to keep them away without fencing or chemical deterrents. Ideally, the light you use should be battery-powered, easily recharged and portable, so you can set it next to a garden, trash bins or the chicken coop, depending on what the raccoons seem to be interested in most.
Nite Guard Solar repellent lights are ideal for this work. We understand how much damage raccoons and other pest animals can cause on your property, which is why we developed a lightweight, portable deterrent light that’s proven to discourage raccoons from entering your property at night.
Our repellent light has a durable solar panel on top that charges up the battery during the day, even in overcast weather. When the sun sets, the onboard sensor automatically switches on the flashing red light, which keeps going all night long. When the sun rises the next morning, the light turns off and the recharge cycle starts again. None of this takes any special effort or time on your part. Simply put the light where you need it and leave it there.
To find out more about Nite Guard Solar lights click here.