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Raccoon Repellent - What deterrent works?

Raccoon Repellent: Natural Home Recipes - Raccoons are drawn to areas populated by humans because of the abundant food supply. People leave out food for pets, and it is easy for a raccoon to eat the food instead. They are also quite adept at getting into garbage cans and making a meal of the food scraps inside. Once a raccoon has discovered a source of food around your house, getting rid of it is not an easy feat. It will continue to come around in search of more food. There are a number of natural home recipes you can try to repel raccoons, but please don't buy crap from Home Depot, like mothball flakes.

COMMON PROBLEMS: We understand that you want a repellent for raccoons, some sort of spray or powder or device that will keep them away from their destructive behavior. Raccoons are now much more common in cities than in the forest. They have learned to adapt to urban environments, use human shelter and food sources, and they have largely lost fear of people. They are agile, strong, intelligent, and have nimble hands. Thus, they cause some of the following problems:

  • Breaking into an attic, and setting up a nest
  • Crawling into a chimney and living there
  • Concern over fearless raccoon, or attack on pets.
  • Concern about a sick or rabid raccoon on property.
  • Eating from garbage cans, pet food, bird seed, etc.
  • Killing and eating pet birds, decorative fish, chickens, etc.
  • Depositing feces in swimming pool, on porch, yard, etc.
  • Digging up your yard, eating crops, etc.
  • Digging in garden or eating crops like sweet corn.
  • Raiding a chicken coop, or any other structure.
I will discuss some possible repellents below. But I believe you'll be disappointed. A raccoon won't leave an area just because of some scent. In fact, the repellents you can buy from Home Depot and Lowe's and online are usually just mothballs, which cost pennies to make, and poison the environment. The best "repellent" is often to eliminate whatever is attracting the animals. Or you can trap and remove them.
Hot Pepper Repellent
Raccoons have a very good sense of smell, and they do not like the smell of pepper. You can make a liquid pepper repellent that may keep raccoons away from your home and garden. To make the pepper repellent, get a bottle of hot sauce or a jar or can of cayenne pepper. Fill a one gallon container with water and then add the hot sauce or pepper. Stir the mixture, and then add a few drops of liquid dish detergent. This will help the repellent stay where you spray it. Fill a spray bottle with the solution and keep the rest in the refrigerator. Spray the pepper repellent around your plants if you have a raccoon trying to get your plants and vegetables, or spray it around the perimeters of your yard and next to trashcans. When the raccoon comes around, the strong scent of the pepper may send it scurrying away. The pepper will lose its scent after a few days, so re-spray as necessary.

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Onion and Pepper Repellent
The onion and pepper scent of this repellent is not an appetizing smell to a raccoon, so this repellent may help keep raccoons away. In a large pot, combine ½ gallon of water, two tablespoons of cayenne pepper, one chopped jalapeno pepper, and one chopped onion. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, and then let it steep for twenty minutes. Remove the pepper and onion and pour into a spray bottle. Spray the onion and pepper repellent along the perimeters of your yard and around your garden. Spray it around your trashcans as well to keep raccoons from getting into your garbage. Since the smell will fade after a few days, you will need to spray the mixture twice a week.

Raccoons, despite their tendency to make a huge mess out of a can of garbage, are very clean animals. They do not urinate in or around their dens, and they don’t like the scent of urine around their food. Urine contains ammonia, the scent of which is very strong. You can try to deter a raccoon from hanging around your house and your garbage by soaking some rags in ammonia and placing them strategically around your yard. Place them beside or on top of your garbage cans as well. When the raccoon smells the ammonia, it may think it is the urine of an animal, and it may decide to go elsewhere.

Reduce Raccoon Enticers
Unfortunately, these natural deterrents are not likely to keep a raccoon away for good one it has decided that your yard is a great food source. This could lead to a raccoon taking up residence in your attic or an outbuilding so that it can be close to its food. You will need to make sure that the raccoon has no reason to hang around your home. Make sure that you do not leave pet food out, particularly at night when a raccoon will be foraging. If you feed your pets outdoors, remove the food after the animal has eaten so that there won’t be any left around for a hungry raccoon.

If you have fruit trees, be sure to clean up the fruit that falls from the tree. As it rots, the smell of the fruit becomes more pungent, which could attract a raccoon. Get rid of the fruit before this happens. You also need to make sure that you keep your garbage cans secure. Get a heavy duty can that is hard to knock over, and make sure the lid fits securely. If you can find one, get a can that has a latch attachment to keep the lid closed or weigh it down so that a hungry raccoon can’t get to your garbage bags.

Seal Your Roof and Attic
You also want to make sure that a raccoon can’t get into your house. Once it gets in, it is hard to remove it humanely and effectively. Check your roof and attic for any loose boards or open vents that may allow entry to a raccoon, and put a cap on the chimney. Make sure the doors to any outbuildings shut securely and that there are no holes in the roof or rotten boards in the walls. A raccoon can get through a hole that is only a few inches wide, so check everything thoroughly.

Mothballs - the Worst Raccoon Repellent
Moth balls and other napthalene products are sold by the boatload, because it is cheap, and it stinks, so people assume it will work. First of all, it poisonous to the environment. But that hardly matters, because it just plain doesn't work! In fact, none of the above repellent products work. Do you really think a raccoon is going to give up its only home, its only territory on which it relies to survive because of a bad odor? If a raccoon leaves its territory, this is a death sentence, and the animal knows it. It will tolerate any possible repellent or deterrent device, from high pitch sound machines, or any kind of noise like a loud radio, strobing or flashing light, or any unpleasant scent. Raccoon repellents just don't work. The only real cure is to keep them from wanting to use your property.

Go back to the main Raccoon Removal page for more information about raccoon repellent such as bleach, ammonia, mothballs. Can you buy something at Home Depot to repel raccoon?
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