What is distinctive about raccoons is that they are extremely intelligent and inventive. It might be a sheer amusement to watch them, however, when it comes to the damage they can potentially cause to the human property, the scale of the problem the house owner faces seems worrying. The main challenge for the house owner is to find an appropriate way to get rid of these critters as it is extremely difficult to repel raccoons. In this article, we will review existing raccoon repellents and look at what scientists say about their usage. We will provide you with some recipes for natural raccoon repellents and tips on effective preventive measures. A variety of raccoon deterrents such as raccoon deterrent plants and spikes will definitely be helpful for your pest control strategy.
First of all, raccoons like visiting yards to dig up grubs and other insects in the soil what definitely affects the plants growing there. They are also eager to treat themselves to fruit and berries, pillaging the garden. Secondly, they tend to seek a shelter in buildings, mostly in the hidden places, to establish a den there. This is likely to result in unsanitary conditions on the occupied sites and may pose a risk to human health and pets as raccoons can carry dangerous diseases.
Table of Content:
- Are Raccoon Repellents Effective?
- How To Repel Raccoons
- Comparison Table Of 10 Raccoon Repellents Effectiveness
- TOP-10 Best Raccoon Repellents
Raccoons can be distinguished from other similar animals by their black mask and tail with black-and-light rings. They can be approximately three feet in length, with weight reaching 30 pounds. These critters are usually attracted by the areas where food is in abundance and no predators threaten their lives. This is one of the reasons why human settlements are so tempting for raccoons who can pillage the garden, get into the house to create a den there, particularly climb down chimneys, or forage into garbage cans searching for food.
Attempting to penetrate into the attic of the house, females can tear some exterior boards or part of the door to a plant floor, if they chose to den in the basement. A significant damage may be connected with the rapture of insulation on walls around pipelines. Perhaps the most unpleasant experience in sharing the house with raccoons is that normally they use a certain site in the newfound shelter as a collective latrine. Apart from a foul odor, this poses the health hazard as raccoon are known as potential disease carriers, including roundworm and rabies. As Scott Oneto from the University of California Cooperative Extension explains, the roundworm is spread in the animal’s feces, with the health risk remaining over the course of a long period of time.
According to Mr. Oneto, prevention is crucial in fighting the disease since no remedy has been developed yet to overcome it. Therefore, discovering the latrine in time is the premium effort. Check trees, barns, woodpiles, attics, and rooftops for a raccoon den and if any are found eliminate them and clean up the site. If you have noticed a raccoon which is too sluggish or, on the contrary, extremely violent or comes out in the daytime, there is a likelihood of the critter being infected with rabies. When seeing a raccoon behaving like that, do not approach or touch it. Instead, call local animal control service and entrust the issue to professionals. It is revealing that a proportion of infected raccoons to other animals of their kind carrying rabies is large and accounts for forty percent. An unvaccinated pet turns out to be the most affected one in case it is bitten by an ill raccoon as under those circumstances they both have to be euthanized in a vet clinic. No human lethal case related to raccoon rabies has been recorded yet.
Sometimes a raccoon may occasionally wander into someone’s property what should not be considered as a reason for concern. In order to deter the critter from subsequent visits, take preventive measures and apply relevant repellents which are described below. But that’s not all challenges the house owner is likely to face. Raccoon damage in the garden is a widespread problem, with sweet corn being a top priority in their diet. As a rule, raccoons are capable to overcome all possible obstacles to get this delightful treat. To the farmers’ great sadness, this usually happens just before harvest. Apart from that, raccoons eagerly eat a variety of vegetables, berries, and fruit, particularly being nuts about ripe watermelons. They also consume soil insects and cause turf damage as the critters dig it up in search of food.
Are Raccoon Repellents Effective?
When using repellents against raccoons, be aware of two key points. First, repellent should be considered as a short-term solution only. After a while, its odor evaporates and taste intensity decreases so that additional applications are needed to maintain the result. Even when the product shows positive results forcing the animal out of the property, it will not prevent the critter from returning especially if it is strongly motivated by the need to acquire food or establish a den. Moreover, as experts from the University of California put it, raccoons quickly adapt to offensive scents and subsequently will ignore it.
The second crucial conclusion you should take into account and which is deducted from the first one is that repellents and deterrents can be efficient against raccoons only when applied in combination with other methods. Such comprehensive approach envisages mounting fences, placing raccoon deterrent spikes, sealing gaps, setting traps and blocking access to garbage. Jeff Schalau, an associate agent with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, points out that repellents are effective under certain conditions. Namely, such solutions work in case the number of wild animals is small in the area, the inflicted damage is not considerable and the affected area is not large either.
Taking this into consideration, develop your own strategy for the raccoon management depending on where the critter has settled. For example, if there is a den discovered in the chimney, first chase the animal out with the help of an ultrasonic device and then close the entrance with heavy metal screens. However, make sure that no raccoon is left inside before blocking the way out. Having discovered a raccoon in the attic, sprinkle mothballs there and the next day stuff a newspaper into the exit opening. Seal it permanently only when it becomes obvious that no animal is left inside and the paper remains untouched.
How To Repel Raccoons
Robert A. Pierce, an extension fish and wildlife specialist with the University of Missouri says that there are no registered chemical repellents designed specifically to control raccoons, however, different substances have been tested to this end. With reference to conducted researches, he has highlighted mothballs which have proved to be potent at expelling critters from enclosed spaces, including attics and chimneys. Predator urine and ammonia can also be helpful for deterring raccoons as they are widely used in managing wildlife. Scientists stress that animals can become accustomed to one repellent which is why maximum impact will be achieved by applying a combination of differing solutions alternating between them.
Holly K. Ober, an extension specialist with the University of Florida, notes that existing solutions can be divided into several categories. These are odor repellents affecting critters by foul scent or by evoking fear of the predator presence, taste repellents containing repulsive bitter substances, and devices designed to frighten animals. The bulk of odor and taste repellents can be applied directly to foliage in the garden but not all of them are safe for eatables. Products with such active ingredients as urine from a coyote or other predators are intended to scare critters and are suggested for creating an invisible odor barrier around the perimeter of the garden.
Repellents with active ingredients including capsaicin, essential oils such as peppermint or citronella, castor oil and garlic are considered to be safe providing the manufacturer’s instructions are followed. Capsaicin, an extract from hot peppers, is particularly popular as a deterrent for many critters affecting them both by odor and taste aversion. Apart from commercially available repellents based on predators’ urine of such animals as coyotes, foxes, and lions, which may ward off raccoons, there is an option of exploiting the females’ fear of the male raccoons.
Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln suggest products containing the urine of male raccoons. Apply such stuff in the attic, basement or any other space where the female raccoon has supposedly established a den and she will immediately leave the shelter. The thing is that male raccoons, like many other animals, kill youngs that are not theirs what is the strongest motivation for the female to escape from the site with her youngs as soon as she smells the urine. According to the conducted study, no female raccoon evicted from the den with the help of this kind of repellent has come back to the treated site. Moreover, they do not try to get back even though chimney caps have not been placed. However, the scientists warn that even in products without expiration dates, this active ingredient is likely to lose efficacy over the course of three years or under extreme temperatures. For this reason, be sure to check the label for the production date.
There are some advantages and disadvantages of using odor or taste repellents. The first ones are preferable for applying to plants as they are available in the form of pellets and should not necessarily be put directly on foliage. Moreover, pellets are more rain-resistant. While taste repellents suggest that a raccoon has to take a bite of the plant and, therefore, damage it to experience a disturbing feeling. In order to keep raccoons from foraging in the garden, consider placing raccoon deterrent plants. Since the feet of these critters are sensitive, placing thorned plants will discourage them from wandering in that patch of land. Pumpkins, cucumbers and globe thistle are likely to deter them from the garden. Also, plants with an offensive smell and bad taste, such as Habanero chilies and peppermint will be beneficial. The odor of garlic bulbs is disliked by raccoons as well.
Frightening techniques are effective as a short-term solution and include motion-activated sprinklers, ultrasonic devices, owl large eyes, gas exploders, predator calls and the like. But the effect of these devices is limited by the fact that raccoons are very smart and creative, moreover, they quickly become accustomed to these repellents inventing the ways to outmaneuver you. That is why you should use your imagination in order not to be behind raccoons in resourcefulness. Buying several motion-activated sprinklers at once would be a smart move because in this case, the critters will not be able to knock down a device from behind as they have been repeatedly noticed doing.
Comparison Table Of 10 Raccoon Repellents Effectiveness
|Mothballs||odor repellent||scientifically proven to be effective against raccoons; applied to drive raccoons out from attics and basements before sealing openings; have strong repulsive odor, cheap and available; can be placed in hard-to-reach areas ||toxic; should be spread in enclosed areas as they can be eaten by a wrong animal; pose a risk to pets and humans; are not resistant to rains and winds; short-term solution||10|
|Ammonia||odor repellent||natural solution; incites fear of a predator’s presence; has a strong odor||toxic when ingested; not safe for children and pets and can be dangerous for the environment;||8|
|Castor oil||taste and odor repellent||has bitter taste and foul smell; natural, it is not toxic and is safe for children and pets; suggested for the garden protection; resistant to rains; remains effective over longer period of time than ammonia; is not poisonous||needs re-application; the smell can be unpleasant to humans as well; be careful when spraying foliage with the solution||9|
|Pepper||taste repellent||natural; safe for children and pets; it is not poisonous||can irritate eyes and nose of humans and pets upon contact||8|
|Essential oils (oils of peppermint, pine, cedar and other)||odor repellent||natural; not poisonous; have a pleasant scent to humans; menthol is believed especially irritating to raccoons ||it should be highly concentrated to be effective; needs to be reapplied often; can be irritating to the skin of humans; short-term effect||8|
|Garlic||odor repellent||natural; safe for humans and pets; is used in creating a barrier along the perimeter of the garden||unpleasant scent can spread in the garden and be offensive to humans||7|
|Predator’s urine||odor repellent||natural; based on animal’s fear of predators||raccoons are believed to be fearless and intelligent which is why they may not buy into the trick||7|
|Urine of the male raccoon||odor repellent||scientifically proven effective solution to repel raccoons; based on female’s instinct to protect her young; evicted raccoons do not return to their dens||active ingredient loses efficacy within three years or under extreme temperatures||10|
|Planting pumpkins, cucumbers, and globe thistle||deterrent plants||effective due to sensitivity of raccoon’s feet; add to diversity of the garden’s landscape; environmentally friendly solution||does not work when a raccoon is highly motivated||7|
|Ultrasonic device \ motion-activated sprinkler||scare tactics||eco-friendly; safe for humans and pets; once installed, does not involve further human participation; ultrasonic devices recommended for expelling raccoons from chimneys; motion-activated sprinklers suggested for the garden protection; not expensive compared to many other technical devices||raccoons quickly become accustomed to sounds and learn to avoid sprinklers; operation of motion-activated sprinklers may result in excessive consumption of water; short-term solution||9|
TOP-10 Raccoon Repellents
Based on scientists’ recommendations, we have examined TOP-8 repellent available on Amazon.com in the form of sprays, granules and technical devices. These are natural and safe for humans repellents which active ingredients include rosemary, pepper, garlic, and coyote urine. They affect the animal by taste and odor aversion or by making the critter think that a predator is about somewhere. The male raccoon urine will force the female with her young from the den established in the house. The motion-activated sprinkler is the robust construction which is crucial in dealing with such strong animals as raccoons while the ultrasonic device will be helpful in chasing the critters out of chimneys. Two variations of deterrent lights, a portable solar-powered unit and a motion-activated one, will keep raccoons away while raccoon deterrent spikes will discourage them from foraging in the garden.
Code Blue Actual Urine (2-Ounce)
Although the raccoon urine is labeled primarily for hunting to mask human odor and create a scent cover, this stuff can serve as a repellent for female raccoons with babies which have settled in the building’s attic, chimney, basement or in other enclosed space. The volume of the bottle is two ounces or 60 ml, however, this amount will be enough for a long period of time as the liquid is very concentrated.
The product has scored 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, nevertheless, there is no many reviews and feedback in the commentary section. Anyone who has tried this stuff claims that the smell is really terrible but it does the job. However, not all customers are satisfied with the results. As one of the users put it: “Don't think it works, still have momma raccoon with babies in back yard.” Perhaps, this customer has not implemented a comprehensive approach to solving the problem.
Price: ~$9.59 Check the current price
Raccoon Deterrent Spikes
Creating obstacles for raccoons attempting to get into the yard can be efficient additional means to repel these critters. You may want to avoid using sharp barbed wires which sometimes make the yard resemble a prison and is likely to harm animals. A good alternative is placing Wall Spikes upon the fence so that the critters will not be able to climb over the barrier. Made from waterproof plastic, the spikes are 19.5 inches in length and designed to cause a discomfort to an unwanted intruder, be it a cat or any larger animal like a raccoon.
The wall spikes rate 3.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. As one user put it, the product’s efficiency is largely dependent on whether the animal’s paw pads are sensible. This is the case with raccoons as they can identify an object by touching it and usually examine the food with their paws. However, keep in mind that when hungry, raccoons are very persistent and can tear the most coarse material. Another product which can come in handy is a Cat Scat Mat, a plastic prickly material deterring animals from digging the turf. The mat which is 78 x 11 inches in length can be cut to size or used as a wide strip along the perimeter of the garden. This product is a bit more popular with Amazon customers scoring 3.8 out of 5 stars in reviews. According to the manufacturer, the scat mat works not only for cats but other animals as well since stepping on plastic spikes causes discomfort to many critters.
Cat Repeller Fence and wall spikes. Price: ~$29.99 Check the current price
Cat Scat Mat. Price: ~$14.95 Check the current price
Havahart Critter Ridder 3146
According to the manufacturer, this blend of peppers of different kinds is designed, among others, to repel raccoons from the attics, basements and other enclosed spaces of the building, as well as from the garden. It works through the odor and taste aversion, therefore, the solution has a wide range of usage. The product is available in the form of granules which are considered to be more resistant to rain and more durable than sprays. In particular, the effect of this very solution is said to last more than a month.
And yet, the product has some weak points. The main disadvantage is that the solution has a limited coverage compared with sprays and is sufficient for 300 square feet only. Amazon customers have not given the product a five-star rating, with 2.8 out of 5 stars scored in reviews on Amazon.com. The need to repeatedly sprinkle granules, especially following a rain, was indicated as the main drawback. In addition, some customers lament the high price and the product’s failure to repel raccoons.
Price: ~$25.92 Check the current price
Rodent Defense Spray – 32oz
This solution repelling raccoons is offered in the form of a spray. Its advantage over the previous product is that it can be sprayed in any hard-to-reach sites but is particularly recommended for gardens as it effectively covers all parts of the plants. The spray is based on white pepper and garlic, peppermint, rosemary oils. The stuff can be easily applied in the attic, basement, around trash cans, in semi-enclosed spaces and the like.
Nevertheless, you should keep in mind some drawbacks when using this repellent. First, do not apply it directly on eatable plants, second, re-apply it every three or four days in case the spray is used outdoors. Also, the solution is not resistant to a rain. Third, after spraying inside the building, air the treated area for a while.
The product rates 3.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com which is a better result than that of the previous one. Among the negative feedback, there are claims that the concentration of the stuff decreases when used outdoors what is considered to lead to a poorer product performance.
Price: ~$19.99 Check the current price
Shake-Away Animal Repellent - 28.5 oz size
The product with an active ingredient coyote urine is announced by the manufacturer to be good at repelling raccoons and other nuisance animals due to their fear of predators, which presence is imitated by the stuff. Despite these claims, we should point out that the coyote urine has not been confirmed by researchers from the Ohio State University to be efficient against raccoons. The studies show that raccoons actually are not afraid of the sites treated with coyote urine. One of the explanations is that coyotes are not their major enemy and, therefore, often are not feared by raccoons.
The solution is available in granules which should be distributed in the placed where raccoon traced were observed. Shake-Away has scored 3.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com which is better than the rating of Critter Ridder granules. One of the customers has proposed to combine the effects of ammonia spray and coyote urine granules and apply them simultaneously outside the building.
Price: ~$15.95 Check the current price
Orbit 62100 Motion Activated Sprinkler
This device with two operation modes, at night and during daylight hours, is activated when the moving is detected by its sensitive sensor. The advanced technology allows to reduce consumption of water and energy. The motion-activated sprinkler covering 1600 square feet is said to deter insects and small animals who driven out from the garden by water being sprayed by the device.
The sprinkler rates 3.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. One user recommends being creative in developing a strategy for raccoon control as these critters are intelligent and eventually have learned how to bring down the device which obviously obstructed their effort to pillage trees in the garden. As he put it, the raccoons realized that by approaching the sprinkler from behind, they will outmanoeuvre the sensor which will not detect them and, hence, will not spray the water upon the unwanted visitors. Once behind the device, the raccoons knocked it down and went on with eating berries. The customer suggested that buying several sprinklers will help solve this problem.
Price: ~$78.52 Check the current price
Predator Guard Deterrent Light
The product is used in many countries as a predator deterrent and, according to the manufacturer, works against raccoons as well. It is energy-efficient and solar-powered, therefore, is considered environmentally friendly. Also, the device is maintenance-free, easy to deal with and is provided a three-year warranty from the manufacturer. The target of the predator deterrent are animals feeding at night-time when they can be easily frightened away if they are noticed by any creature potentially posing a risk. The two flashing lights of the device will look like a strange creature staring at them and the self-preservation insect tells them to run away from the site.
It rates 3.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com and has almost two thousand customer reviews. The drawback of the product is that it deters only wild raccoons and are not common in human-inhabited areas. For this reason, the critters become accustomed to the impact of the apparatus quickly what leads to the loss of its efficiency. Some users note positive results after using the predator deterrent, particularly when placed inside a hen coop.
Price: ~$21.99 Check the current price
Hoont Ultrasonic Motion Activated Repeller
The device is claimed to deter raccoons with ultrasonic sounds and flashing lights when they come to pillage the garden. Nevertheless, like the previous apparatus, this one is not considered to be effective once raccoons become accustomed to the human property they have visited. This observation was made by Jason M. Gilsdorf from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
One of the product’s strong points is that it does not use chemicals, nor does it require the human participation — it does the job automatically. Another advantage is that no harm is caused to animals and no damage is inflicted to the environment as a result of its operation. The ultrasonic repellent is made from plastic but it does not negatively affect the structural solidity. Moreover, the device is rainproof and can be used under unfavorable weather conditions. Also, it is solar-powered and has many settings of frequency and sensitivity. The ultrasonic repellent has scored 3.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. According to the customer feedback, both the sound and light emitted by the device can equally deter raccoons.
Price: ~$29.95 Check the current price
LIGHT IT by Fulcrum 20034-104 Motion Sensor Porch Light
A good option for protecting the house is to install a wireless porch light which is activated when any motion is detected within its range. Although the product is not labeled specifically for raccoons, it is likely to frighten away any wild critter approaching the building. As we have stated regarding the ultrasonic device, raccoons are deterred both by sounds and lights which is why this device can also be helpful in managing these critters.
The product is environmentally friendly since it consumes less energy being activated only when someone is approaching the area. Moreover, when the light goes on unexpectedly for a raccoon, there is more likelihood of frightening the critter away. The porch light can be easily installed because it is wireless and can be placed in such spaces as the attic or the basement where raccoons tend to create a den. The device rates 4.0 out of 5 stars in reviews on Amazon.com, and seems to be approved by more than a half of the customers. However, some of them report malfunctions under low temperatures.
Price: ~$24.99 Check the current price
Raccoon Repellents Comparative Chart
Havahart Critter Ridder
|consists of the blend of peppers; granules|
|consists of oils of garlic, peppermint, rosemary and white pepper; spray|
|consists of coyote urine; granules|
Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer
|metal motion activated sprinkler|
|solar-powered deterrent light|
LIGHT IT by Fulcrum
|motion-activated deterrent light|
Code Blue Actual Urine (2-Ounce)
|raccoon urine, liquid|
Cat Repeller Fence and wall spikes
Cat Scat Mat
Recipes For Homemade Natural Raccoon Repellents
As we have learned, most of the raccoon repellents consist of natural ingredients which you probably have in your kitchen or can buy it from any store at a low price. Below you will find some useful recipes for deterring raccoons from your property.
Mix half a bottle of Pine-sol, a cleaning product based on pine oil, with 15 ml of water and pour the liquid into a spray. The solution produces an itchy effect what will force raccoons to stay away.
Mix a cup of cayenne pepper, five chopped habanero chilies, and water in a bottle, then boil the mixture. As soon as the liquid is cool, pour it into a spray bottle. The spicy smell and offensive odor will deter the critters from the garden.
Place a bowl of ammonia at the bottom of the chimney to force raccoons out of it. When no critter is left inside, mount a cap on the chimney. An alternative option is to soak cotton balls in ammonia and distributing them in the sites where the presence of raccoons has been noticed. Keep in mind that the balls should be regularly re-soaked to obtain the desired result. Purchase a bottle of ammonia for ~$9.49 on Amazon.com to have a multipurpose cleaner and repellent at hand.
Soak a tissue in a bowl with apple cider and let it there overnight. When a raccoon smells the vapors, it will have a burning feeling in the nose which is likely to drive the animals out of the site.
Tips On How To Deter Raccoons From Your Yard
Even the most effective repellents may be of no use when there is a favorable environment for raccoons. Taking in consideration that these critters have a strong motivation to get into the human property, in particularly to create a den and find food, a number of rules should be followed to make the raccoon control effective. Below, we will give you some tips on what should be done before application of any repellent. First, reduce the availability of food sources and, second, decrease the accessibility of the attic and rooftops. To achieve it, you should take the following steps:
- Prune shrubs around your house because they can be used by raccoons as a shelter. Thick-growing bushes are particularly attractive to them.
- Raccoons may crawl on the rooftop using branches of adjoining trees. Therefore, cut the branches which reach the roof in order to eliminate this route to the house.
- Get rid of soil insects which are included in a raccoon diet. To this end, use relative pesticides and apply the solutions to the foliage and soil. Grubs and other insects may serve as key attractants to raccoons.
- Cover garbage cans with metal lids and tie them to trees to ensure that raccoons are not able to forage in them. Keep in mind that they are very strong animals so the lids should be secured tightly.
- Pet food should not be left outdoors at night as it can attract raccoons.
- Collect fallen fruit and nuts regularly in order not to leave food for raccoons available in the garden.
- Although raccoons are nice animals and can encourage sympathy, do not feed them and do not let your neighbors do this. If the critters become accustomed, you are likely to regret this.
Mint-X Rodent Repellent Tall Kitchen Trash Bags
If you have a serious problem with garbage, the best bet for you is using a trash bag labeled for deterring rodents by the strong mint odor. Moreover, you will get an additional benefit as these bags neutralize foul smell coming from household waste. Another advantage is that they are very strong and have a capacity of 13 gallons. The product is recommended for the building’s basements, schools, public parks, and other areas where a lot of food is consumed. The drawback is that the repelling smell lasts only for several days so do not treat the product as a permanent repellent. Mint-X trash bags rate 3.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, with the customer opinions varying. Some customers find them useful as raccoon deterrents, while others claim that they do not work as advertised.
Price: ~$14.60 Check the current price