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  • Writer's pictureKen Werner

Top 5 humanely ways to let raccoons leave your backyard

Scampering, scratching, and squeaking in your house means you got uninvited guests in your house and that may be Procyon lotor, popularly known as raccoons or coons. Coons, due to their notorious acts, have garnered so much attention in Toronto that National Public Radio formally labelled Toronto as the ‘Raccoon Capital of the World’. These coons are so much in love with “trash” (garbage bins) that Torontonians affectionately named them as "trash pandas". It doesn’t matter how BIG animal activist we are, we would hate to see our property damaged. So, what to do if coons are damaging our properties? How to avail raccoon control services and lawfully do the raccoon removal job done? Let’s start with the legal aspect!

Legal aspect

In some cities such as Ontario, it is illegal to re-locate or trap coons from its home territory. Moreover, destroying wildlife can leave many raccoons bereaved, hurt and spread disease such as rabies. For expert tips on deterring wildlife, protecting your home and choosing a humane wildlife removal company, contact a wildlife removal centre.

Health problem caused by coons

Raccoons can spread rabies, canine distemper, Baylisacaris, and parvovirus to humans and other domestic animals. It is pertinent to mention here that raccoons are not the only the carrier of these diseases, but they are the host. Few basic remedies of this issue include avoid disturbing raccoon feces, and other items contaminated by it. Such items may carry an internal parasite (a roundworm), also known as Baylisacaris. The parasite’s eggs are shed in the feces of raccoons and can be transmitted to humans by contact.

How to humanely distract raccoons from your backyard

1) Denning in your attic or chimney

Raccoons in Chimney
Raccoons in Chimney

Mostly during spring, for giving birth and raising her young, a mother raccoon chooses a chimney or attic as a safe spot. If you find such unwanted guest then you should know that they will leave naturally only in one situation -- once they are old enough to follow the nocturnal forays (about six weeks of age). To avoid such cases, one may purchase an approved chimney cap and cover the chimney by following installation directions carefully.

2) Raccoons in crawl spaces such as walls and ceilings

Raccoon Inside House
Raccoon Inside Room

Chimneys and attics are favourites homes of raccoons but resourceful coons may make home anywhere in your house. Raccoons use ductwork to explore den and they can sometimes become trapped. It’s less likely though. Similarly, coons may chew on wires but mostly squirrels do such damages. Depending upon the situations, including the age of coons, you can either DIY or prefer to hire raccoon control professionals who can humanely evict them. If there are no dependent baby raccoon, you can use mild nuisance to encourage an adult coon to leave.

3) Raccoons and bird feeders

Raccoon in backyard of house
Raccoon in backyard

Raccoons often enters your backyard as intruder and enjoy free lunch i.e. birdseeds which you affectionately put for your backyard birds. One quick and easy solution to keep raccoons from eating seed intended for your backyard birds is to put out only as much seed as the birds will eat by nightfall. Raccoons feed at night, so they’ll miss the free lunch you’re providing. Alternatively, you can bring your bird feeders in at night and put them back out the next morning. Either way, your birds won’t miss out and you’ll likely save on seed costs. Some other options to get rid of raccoons include:

· Raccoons cannot climb such a thin pole therefore hang your bird feeders on poles a half inch or less in diameter, securing the pole firmly so it cannot be knocked over.

· Hang bird feeders from a wire extending between two trees.

· Set up a clothesline for hanging the bird feeder, isolated from tree branches or other structures that might provide access for raccoons.

4) Raccoons and your pets

When hungry raccoons don’t find any food, they might even prey upon small cats and kittens. However, this is not their normal behaviour. Mostly, they can be seen calmly eating side-by-side with cats. Healthy raccoons are not likely to pick a fight with your pet dogs, but dogs sometimes chase coons. Sick or injured coons are most likely to be victims of such attacks. If caught by a dog, a coon may fight back to defend itself, and in this quarrel, both can be injured. To reduce the chances of such encounters, one may follow these simple rules:

· Keep pet cats and rabbits indoors at all times.

· If dogs or cats are fed outside, it should be only by day and as soon as they are fed, remove food immediately.

· Don’t allow your pet dogs to roam unsupervised.

5) Safe clean-up of raccoon latrines

Raccoons often leave their feces in communal sites called latrines which might pose a health hazard. Where might a raccoon latrine be? If not around the base of a tree or on a log, woodpile or stump, rock, a raccoon latrine may be in your garage, attic, roof, deck or patio. It is safest to hire a raccoon control professional to do the cleanup, but if you are doing yourself, follow the following recommendations of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

· Wear disposable gloves and rubber boots.

· Wear a N95-rated respirator.

· Always prefer to use a spray bottle to mist the contaminated areas to be cleaned up with water.

· Remove feces as well as feces-contaminated materials using a shovel or plastic bag; then, bury, burn or bag it and send it to a landfill.

· Treat feces-soiled surfaces with boiling water.

· Wipe the feces-contaminated areas with a damp sponge, and rinsing the sponge in hot, soapy water.

· Sterilize the shovel and bucket with boiling water.

· Do not bring wood where raccoon feces have been found. You my burn such logs outside.


For many people, it is indeed difficult to understand how bad can be the raccoon scourge. So, let me share a fact that in 2016, Toronto had spent CA$31 million on "raccoon-resistant" organic green-colored waste bins. It was the vary famous assault in what Canadian media have called a "raccoon war." First Choice Wildlife Services emerged as one of the most trusted names during the war which helped many Torontonians made life peaceful.

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