Where can I find raccoons

Driving away raccoons: how to spot and fight them

If raccoons nest with you, they can do a lot of damage in the garden, house and on the roof. We explain here how to drive away raccoons and keep them away permanently without harming the animals and what else you need to know.

Driving away raccoons: how to spot and fight them
Driving away raccoons: how to spot and fight them

An overturned garbage can, a loose roof tile, droppings on the grass - just a few signs that a raccoon was visiting. And now? If you want to drive away raccoons, you have to invest some time. Because once the masked pests have discovered a good feeding place or a warm camp, they will be happy to come back. So scare them away once is not effective in the long run. This is where the fight against raccoons only begins. With simple measures, however, you can make your house and garden so unattractive for raccoons that they look for more comfortable places.

Raccoons do this damage

Raccoons are talented swimmers and climbers, so they pose a threat to fish and birds alike. In the search for food, garbage cans are thrown over, beds are devastated and a lot is nibbled on as a test. Young animals follow their play instinct and are particularly impetuous. But raccoons can also cause some damage in the house and on the roof, for example when they loosen roof tiles, bite through insulation or attack dog food.

Damage from raccoons in the garden

  • Garbage bags and garbage cans are robbed and cleared out
  • Garden furniture is chewed and flower pots are broken
  • Lawns and beds are dug up
  • Raccoon droppings lie in the garden
  • Nocturnal disturbances when the garden is being remodeled
  • The raccoon steals young birds and eggs straight from their nests
  • Fish are not safe in the pond either

Damage to and in the house

  • Holes in the roof, folded tiles and sheet metal
  • Roof insulation is pitted and the insulation is torn out
  • Roof beams and walls are nibbled on
  • Nocturnal disturbance when raccoons remodel on the roof
  • Cabinets can open raccoons and go after groceries and animal feed
  • Feces and urine in the house can be a health hazard

Where do raccoons often hang out?

Exact numbers of how many raccoons are at home in Germany or various federal states are not available, but the number of animals shot by hunters is growing rapidly from year to year. Raccoons have become a major nuisance, especially in Hesse and eastern Germany. Here raccoons are more and more often in cities - and find plenty of food. Therefore, there is a particularly high probability that a raccoon will drop by at your place. During the day, raccoons like to hang out in tree hollows - sometimes in a garden shed or in an attic. Females can raise their young there particularly well. Raccoons also like to spend the winter indoors, such as in sheds. They come to the roof via trees, trellises or rain gutters and there climb into the interior via raised bricks or sheet metal from dormers. Raccoons come into the house, for example, through cat flaps or open windows. It is best to drive raccoons away at the first suspicion so that they do not even get into the house.

What do raccoons eat?

Raccoons are not particularly fussy about their food and will eat whatever they can get. The easier you get it, the better. However, they have a particular weakness for fruit, nuts, snails, young birds, bird eggs, worms and insects. If leftover food is enticing in the garbage can or on the compost, stale bread or mushy windfalls quickly become the first choice, as they are easy to steal. Food for squirrels, birds and pets is also popular. So if you want to drive raccoons out of your yard, you should make foraging them as difficult as possible.

How to recognize a raccoon

Since raccoons don't like to show themselves, and often only in the dark, it can sometimes be difficult to say whether a raccoon is causing you problems or a marten. The following features of the masked robber should be taken into account:

1. What does a raccoon look like?

Raccoons are about 70 centimeters long on average and have a distinctive black face mark. The bushy tail is ringed gray-black and can usually be seen well in the dark. The round back when walking is also characteristic. Raccoons are only particularly fast when they are climbing.

2. Raccoon droppings in the garden

If you find heaps in the garden, it doesn't always have to be a raccoon. You can usually recognize raccoon droppings by the fact that piles of fruit pits and some fur are the size of the dog droppings. The cute intruders reveal their weakness for sweet fruit.

But beware: Always dispose of raccoon droppings with protective gloves. The animals are potential carriers of distemper and rabies and are therefore particularly dangerous for dogs and cats. Roundworms are also often found in raccoon droppings - and they can even damage the central nervous system of humans. If you find feces or urine in the house, it is best to wear a face mask during intensive cleaning and then pour boiling water over the floor to kill the last parasites.

3. Food and leftover food

In a raccoon's roost, you usually won't find any leftover food, feces or urine. The animals are very clean and separate the bed, dining area and toilet. If you still find leftover food, it is probably not a raccoon, but another wild animal. If your feed dispenser in the garden is regularly looted, you can set up a wildlife camera and catch the culprit in the act.

4. Climbing tracks and raccoon tracks in the sand

Raccoon tracks almost look like small handprints with additional claw points. If you want to test whether a raccoon comes to visit regularly, you can sprinkle the appropriate places with sand and make the tracks visible. There could also be claw marks from climbing on walls, pipes and beams - in combination with gray-black tufts of fur, this is sure proof of raccoons.

5. Raccoon noises

Often you only hear raccoons in the dark. They mess and cook, for example when young people seek contact with their mother or when the animal is generally dissatisfied. When raccoons are stressed, they whine. They growl and screech aggressively. To do this, however, they have to weigh themselves in dire straits or face a strange animal.

Driving away raccoons: what really helps?

You can't fight raccoons properly. However, you can drive away raccoons and then take preventative measures to keep them from coming back. In particular, you can make use of the well-developed sense of smell and hearing. Raccoons are also sensitive to light.

  • Light up the garden, use a flashlight or flickering light in the attic.
  • Make noise or turn on music - even a lower volume should be enough to scare away raccoons.
  • Use motion detectors for lamps or water sprinklers.
  • Put out mothballs, as raccoons shy away from the intense smell.

If you find young animals alone in the attic without a mother, you can put them in a cardboard box in the garden at night. The mother will be nearby and pick up her young. Use gloves as a precaution. Incidentally, it is forbidden to release raccoons in the wild. This also applies to live traps. You have to release the animals where you found them. Relocation is not possible. Fatal traps, poisoning or hunting raccoons is even a criminal offense and is legally treated as animal cruelty and poaching. You are also not allowed to use dogs to fight raccoons. In addition, professional hunting with a hunting license is in principle not allowed in the city. The death of an animal won't do you any good either, as the next raccoon will soon replace it if you don't fundamentally change anything.

How to drive away raccoons permanently

The best way to drive away raccoons is still deterring them. Make it difficult for them to find food and shelter. Then the clever robbers will look for other areas where it is made easier for them. You should take the following measures to protect yourself against raccoons:

  • Lock rubbish bins or, if necessary, use lashing straps and very heavy stones that a raccoon cannot move.
  • You should only put out garbage bags shortly before picking them up and wrap them twice to reduce odor.
  • Cut off any branches that could encourage climbing onto garbage cans or roofs so that there is at least a one-meter gap.
  • Secure tree trunks and pipes with a smooth metal or plastic plate so that they do not offer any support for climbers - preferably at a size of one meter by one meter at a height of one meter.
  • Remove climbing aids such as trellis and trim hedges regularly:
  • Avoid barbed wire or other pointed grids - they usually help with the ascent and can injure all types of climbers.
  • Secure the chimney with a sturdy grid:
  • Regularly check potential entry points, such as the roof, for loose tiles.
  • Use a cat flap with a sensor that only opens for your own cat.
  • Never feed raccoons or put out food for cats, dogs or birds.
  • Invest in a lockable quick composter, as even covered compost heaps offer no protection against raccoons.

If all else fails, you can also use ultrasound equipment. They cannot be heard by humans, but they make an unpleasant noise for animals. Electric fences, where intruders receive light electric shocks, have also proven themselves. The best thing to do here is to contact a professional who specializes in driving away raccoons.

Do raccoons attack humans and pets?

Raccoons are usually harmless to humans, dogs, and cats. Pets should be kept away, however, as all wild animals can transmit parasites. Raccoons can also become aggressive if they feel extremely cornered - especially if mothers have their cubs with them. Do not get too close to raccoons, then they will trudge slowly and calmly and are not a threat.