If you're being awakened in the middle of the night to the sound of turned over garbage cans accompanied by high-pitched chirping sounds, chances are you've been paid a visit by those little bandits called raccoons.
Raccoons are generally active at night, when they are most likely to raid your garbage area, looking for discarded fruit, vegetables, and anything else that might make a tasty snack. Their contact with humans is normally motivated by two basic things: food and/or shelter. Getting rid of raccoons starts with securing the sources of these temptations, and if that doesn't deter them, there are a few other alternatives.
The key to keeping raccoons away is to make your home a less inviting place to visit. Keep your garbage cans sealed with bungee cords if stored outside, or store them in the garage or storage shed. Make sure all of your foundation and basement vents are in good shape and have no holes in them; otherwise, raccoons might nest under your home. If you have a dog or cat door into the garage, make sure not to store food or feed pets in there.
If you have taken care of the basics, and the pesky critters still want to hang out, you might want to consider a few other options. There are a number of humane traps that will help you trap them live and allow you to transport them to a wooded area away from your home. Be careful, though, and wear thick gloves when handling traps, because raccoons will try to bite if agitated.
Motion-sensing lights and sound devices will also help keep raccoons away. Nocturnal by nature, they don't like bright lights. You can also apply a raccoon repellent to garbage cans and around the yard to deter them. Many wildlife specialists use this method because the repellent uses the scent of a predator such as a coyote, wolf, or mountain lion to mark your garden as a predator's territory.
So don't be kept up at night because raccoons are having a party at your house. Take action today and keep those raccoons away!
Important Note: Two illnesses common to raccoons are distemper and rabies. If you see raccoons, keep your pets inside. Raccoons are primarily nocturnal, so if you see one in a populated area during the day, especially if it is acting strangely, be sure to avoid it and report it to a wildlife specialist.
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