Raccoons are medium-sized animals, resembling dogs and forever hungry too. Usually they live in the woods, but they can also stay in the garden, house or garage. Raccoons are dangerous because they spoil the harvest and destroy the birds’ eggs. They are carriers of a huge number of diseases, ranging from a variety of parasites dangerous to humans to rabies. It is not only an animal bite, but even a simple touch of its fur that is dangerous. The scientists believe that trapping is the most appropriate way to remove raccoons. Here you will find the experts’ advice as to how to catch a raccoon, the seven rules of successful raccoon trapping and a comparative review of 7 best raccoon traps.
Table of contents:
- How to Catch a Raccoon
- Raccoon Facts: Behavior and Habits
- Entomologists’ Recommendations: 7 Rules of Successful Raccoon Trapping
- Top-7 Raccoon Traps
- The Most Effective Bait & Lures
Raccoons are incredibly curious and like all animals, related to dogs, are hungry. They are easy to trap with edible bait, and then tame, or kill. It should be borne in mind that these animals are carriers of diseases and are infected with parasites.
Raccoon cage should be welded on a metal frame with a strong coarse mesh. A thick board floor will be difficult to chew. The most commonly used form of traps is a cell with a falling door. However, traps for raccoons often press down their paws and heads, so you should check the traps more often, at least once a day, or else the animals can bleed and will suffer long. Electronic traps are used very rarely, because they are banned in most states.
You can use fish, fresh meat, raw liver, and pet food as bait. Products which have a strong pungent odor will be excellent. Raccoons are very fond of cat food. If you decide to keep the animal at home, you will often bust a raccoon stealing food from your cat.
When living in the woods, the raccoons prefer settling in the hollows of tall trees at a height of 20-30 meters, but as they get closer to civilization, they nest in abandoned buildings, orchards, fields, unused chimneys, pipes for water drainage, in attics and basements. They are mainly nocturnal, during the day they hiding in their burrows. Once a raccoon wakes up, it goes in search of food and can find itself 2-3 km away from the burrow. Therefore, even if your lot is not a place where a raccoon can live, it can often visit you for treats.
All raccoons can perfectly climb trees, are not afraid of water, swim well and can see in the dark. Adult raccoons are omnivores and are capable of opening almost any jar and lifting a container lid with their nimble hands if they sense smell of food. They are very fond of sweets; they can even steal some from unwary humans.
Nearby garbage heaps can also attract raccoons to your shelter so try to get rid of any waste as soon as possible. Neither your lot nor its surroundings should be full of trash cans and garbage heaps. Keep the place clean, take out the trash, immediately and do not leave a chance for these pests to bother you.
Because the raccoons are so cunning, scientists from the University of California recommend: “The rear of the trap should be covered with 1/2-inch wire mesh to prevent the raccoon from reaching through the trap from the outside to steal the bait.” At first a raccoon will certainly try to reach for the bait through the bars. The scientists also advice leaving the trap opens only at night, as raccoons are nocturnal predators. Otherwise, it is likely that during the day other animals will fall into the trap.
The bait should be placed in such a way that it creates a trail leading to the trap. The first pieces of bait should better be put near raccoon trail or at a place where there used to be food that the animal ate. The food, of course, should be removed in advance.
Fish, meat and cat food make excellent bait, but there is a high probability of catching a cat or a dog instead of a raccoon. To avoid this, try using marshmallows, marmalade, grapes, sweet rolls, prunes, or nuts.
If setting a trap on concrete or another hard surface, place the trap on plywood or some other protective surface to prevent the animal from damaging its paws when trying to dig its way out.
If you are cautiously treating the animals, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends placing a tennis ball in the trap to give a large animal a way to release energy and frustration; a piece of wood will provide a small animal something to chew.
Make sure you fix the cage by all means! As the raccoons are very strong and active animals, they can turn the cell over. Weight of an adult raccoon varies from 5 to 20 kg, so if the cell is not fixed, the animal can flip it over and flee. In addition, when the trap is not fixed a raccoon can easily tilt it and reach bait, without getting trapped.
As the raccoons have a very sensitive nose, wear old gloves when setting the trap. New cage-traps you’d better wash with water and vinegar to remove oils. Before leaving, mist the area around the trap with a spray bottle containing water and fir needles, or other local aromatic vegetation, to hide human smell.
The easiest and most effective way to get rid of raccoons in your house and lot is to buy a high quality trap. However, how to choose it when there are many different options available? After analyzing over a dozen of items on Amazon.com, we have selected for you the best raccoon traps.
The most cut-rate option is to use good old proven Hunting Snare Traps which catch anything from raccoons to coyotes. A pack of 12 snares costs ~$22.95, meaning that a single snare will cost you less than $2. But these traps require experience and skill, so may not be suitable for beginners. In that case go for live-holding cage traps. You are to install a raccoon trap in the area near a raccoon’s burrow, or its hunting trail. Lay out the bait on the trail, so that the animal is not full before it reaches the trap. Put the cage in a manner that would ensure the raccoon certainly noticing the food inside the cage and lift the door, locking it. That’s it. Now you should only wait for the raccoon to climb inside and for the trap to slam shut. A Live Animal Trap is fairly easy to use and although all of them are similar to one another, there are still some differences between them.
Big Live Cage-Type Raccoon Traps 12”-15”
Two traps, OxGord Live Animal Trap 12" and Havahart 1081 Live Animal 15” have rightfully made it to the very top. They are best selling products. These traps are suitable for catching raccoons, small dogs, foxes, and other animals of similar size. Both traps’ cells are small enough to not let a raccoon rob the trap or to escape. Both are made of stainless steel, as Havahart 1081 is manufactured of galvanized steel, which prolongs its life.
The handles are on top and are protected by a metal plate. Since the cell is fairly light, it can be fixed with some metal straps to the ground so that it does not roll over when an animal tries to escape it.
The springs on the door and sensitive triggers of both cells allow for the door to swing shut very quickly. The trap is safe enough though as all of the cells are smooth; they will not harm the animals inside. After being trapped, a wild animal is unlikely to sit calmly; instead it would attack the bars and try to get out. The OxGord trap has inward-bent and welded rods on its floor.
The Havahart 1081 Live Animal trap is slightly bigger (42"х15"х15"), costlier and is made in the U.S.A. Here the rod activating the trap is located outside the cell, so as not to allow a raging animal weighing 10-15 kg to bend it. The OxGord trap keeps such a rod inside. The downside of the trap is a solid metal door, as upon seeing a solid sheet of metal an animal can change his mind and explore the cage instead.
However, judging by the reviews, the OxGord trap does not always work and is suitable only for small animals. Large raccoons, foxes or dogs can squeeze the door out and flee with an injury. Also, the buyers claim that traps are supplied disassembled, this should be taken into account. Will it be convenient for you to assemble a trap on your own and be able to transport it on your own or would you pick a ready-to-use one? It’s up to you to decide. 57% of the buyers are satisfied with obtaining an OxGord trap.
Some more, namely 68% of the customers, are satisfied with the Havahart item, but they also come across defective traps occasionally.
A Small Live Cage-type Raccoon Trap 7”
A slightly smaller analogue is a runner-up, OxGord Live Animal Trap 24" X 7" X 7". This trap is convenient to carry from one place to another, but its size does not allow you to use it for larger animals. It is suitable in the case a small raccoon bothers you. It can also be used to catch rabbits, skunks, minks and other animals of similar size.
Such a small trap is convenient to install in the garage or next to a hole, where the raccoon is hiding. The main USPs of the OxGord Live Animal Trap 24 "X 7" X 7 "is its size and external activation rod. In the previous product, the rod was inside, and therefore it could be damaged by animals. The trap costs ~$24.95.
The choice of the trap depends on the purpose it shall serve. OxGord Live Animal Trap 32 or 24 can be installed near your house or in the garage, depending on the size of the animal settled at your lot. Havahart 1081 will be convenient and more advantageous to use either in the field and garden or in case the raccoon is huge.
Hunting Dog-Proof Raccoon Traps
Non-humane traps are also quite popular, but keep in mind that in some states killing raccoons is prohibited. Before purchasing such a trap, first verify whether it is permitted to kill raccoons in your state.
Numbers three and four respectively are Duke DP Coon Trap and its competitor Dog Proof Coon Leg Trap Raccoon Trap. Both traps are very similar as two of each will be supplied. They work as a regular trap. The animal puts its paw into the tube in an attempt to reach the bait and gets captured. A sturdy metal latch locks paw. The mechanism is launched by a powerful coil spring.
Behind the trap flask there is a pin which fastens the chain. At Duke DP trap has it fixed because of the wider pin, and at Dog Proof Coon Leg Trap Raccoon Trap keeps it intact with a welded restrictor. The chains are fixed on the ground by means of staples or a wire. Duke DP trap is inconspicuously brown while the second trap is silver with anti-reflective coating. These colors make both traps easily disguised in the forest or near the pond.
With these traps you can hunt raccoons, opossums or skunks. They can be installed in the forest, where the traps will not stand out among the fallen leaves, in the park, at your place, in the garden or near bodies of water. They are especially useful if the raccoons prey on your hens and chickens. After a few nights, you will forget about this problem. The traps are quite affordable Duke DP costs ~$13 and Dog Proof Coon Leg Trap Raccoon Trap costs ~$11.55. The main difference between the two is that Duke DP is equipped with stronger springs, hence the significantly higher cost.
Live Animal Two-Door Raccoon Cage Trap
Number five shall be Havahart 1045 Live Animal Two-Door Raccoon Trap. This trap’s competitive edge over similar Live Animal Traps is that it has two doors. It thus allows you to set it right on the trail or in anywhere else, without having to worry that the raccoon will not find the entrance immediately. It also differs from the abovementioned Havahart 1081, as it has a smaller size (36x 10x12 in.) it is more suitable for catching raccoons on the trail and not near their hole.
Although, at the first glance the two-entrance trap seems more effective, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife specialists warn that “When using a two-door trap, securely fasten one door down to prevent an animal from backing out and getting away. With two-door traps, the trip pan to release the doors is in the middle of the trap, and only allows the animal to get halfway into the trap before it closes. The door may land on the back or tail of a large raccoon and not close completely. To prevent this, use a trap with only one door, use a larger two-door trap, or secure one of the doors down so only one is in operation. This allows the bait to be placed in back of the trap, forcing the animal to go farther into it”.
The trap is highly sensitive, so the doors will shut as soon as the animal gets inside. That’s it, the raccoon is trapped inside the cage. The bars are strong and galvanized. The trap is ideal for catching medium-sized raccoons, possums, stray cats, marmots and other animals of similar size. The trap costs ~$54.99.
If you don’t want to kill the animal which entered your lot, live animal traps are the most suitable option. Pick a specific product in conformity with the hunted animal size and the place to set the trap.
Regular traps will be excellent for mass catching; you can pick them according to the price, as you’ll need a dozen of them at the same time instead of a single item.
To ease your comparison, as always, we have made a chart for you:
Raccoon Traps Comparison Chart
|Photo||Item||Trap Type||Trap Size||Price|
|Hunting Snare Traps (12-pack)||Live Animal Trap||7X7 Cable and 60" long|
|OxGord Live Animal Trap 32" X 12" X 12"||Live Animal Trap||32" X 12" X 12"|
|Havahart 1081 Live Animal Trap||Live Animal Trap||42" X 15" X 15"|
|OxGord Live Animal Trap 24"||Live Animal Trap||24" X 7" X 7"|
|Duke DP Coon Trap||Dog proof raccoon trap||~2" X 3.5"|
|Dog Proof Coon Leg Trap Raccoon Trap||Dog proof raccoon trap||~2" X 3.5"|
|Havahart 1045 Live Animal Two-Door Raccoon Trap||Live Animal Trap||32" X 10" X 12"|
The choice of the bait will entirely depend on the place where the trap will be set. You’d better use sweets and fruit (marmalade, biscuits, raisins, prunes, grapes) if there are pets nearby. Many hunters share their observation that the raccoons just love marshmallows.
If the trap is set in the field or in the woods, where the risk of catching your neighbor's cat instead of a raccoon is minimal, you may and should use strong-smelling food (cat food, meat, fish, both in chunks and minced).
In both cases you can use special sprays, liquids and ointments made on the basis of animal glands or that have sharp attractive odors. But it is necessary to take into account the fact that cats, dogs, skunks and opossums can come to your place to check what smells so good there.
For instance, Rickard's Trapping Lure – Raccoon (~$10.86) smells of fish and anise oil. The buyers claim that they attemped to use traps with the usual bait and failed, but after applying a couple of Rickard's Trapping Lure - Raccoon drops they have been able to catch the creature literally within 12 hours.
COON CRACK, raccoon Dog Proof Trap lure (~$20.44) is also quite effective. Although it is focused more on the raccoon dog, an ordinary raccoon would also be lured with a pair COON CRACK drops. Many buyers state in their reviews that they used two types of bait simultaneously: a wet a cotton ball hidden in a trap, and then to be sure they also added raccoons’ favorite treat, marshmallows.