Raccoons are famous for being curious and mischievous creatures. However, it is those same characteristics that make them such pests for a wide range of homeowners living in a wide range of homes. After all, curious just means that raccoons will wander into all sorts of out-of-sight places, while mischievous just means that raccoons will be smart enough to overcome all sorts of obstacles placed in their path.
Of course, it is important to note that there are other reasons to avoid raccoons as well. For example, raccoons are not domesticated animals, meaning that people without the relevant expertise and experience have a hard time predicting their response to treatment that would be amenable to cats and dogs. As a result, being mauled by a racoon is not uncommon, which is particularly problematic because it comes with a chance for rabies as well as other serious infections.
To prevent such outcomes, homeowners must prepare their homes to be raccoon-proof, thus minimizing the chances of an unfortunate encounter for both them and the raccoons.
What Are the Best Ways to Protect Your Home from Raccoons?
As suggested by Orkin, here are some of the best ways to protect your home from raccoons:
1. Above all else, you want to make sure that there are no cracks, crevices, and other weaknesses in your home that a raccoon can use to sneak into it. This means that you will have to conduct a thorough inspection of your home from time to time while paying particular attention to less noticeable areas such as the space beneath eaves as well as the space beneath decks. This way, you can notice potential issues and have them fixed before they can turn into serious problems, which will be much simpler and much more straightforward than dealing with actual raccoons nesting in your home. Even when you have potential entrances such as chimneys and roof vents that must be kept open, you should install covers to prevent raccoons from entering them.
2. You need to make sure that your premises has no potential food sources for the raccoons. For example, this means keeping your trash containers shut whenever not in use, which will make it that much more difficult for raccoons to make a mess of your trash while scavenging for food scraps and the like. Furthermore, you should arrange for your trash to be picked up in the morning rather than evening if that is possible because raccoons tend to be more active during the night than during the day. If that is not possible, you should consider storing your trash inside your home as much as possible because raccoons are smart enough to break into all sorts of things that homeowners believe to be impenetrable to them. Other important measures include but are not limited to not leaving pet food outside, stopping the use of bird feeders, and cleaning up fruit that has fallen from the trees on the premises.
3. Likewise, you need to make sure that your premises has no potential water sources for the raccoons, which can be even more complicated and time-consuming that doing the same for potential food sources. For example, if you have either a swimming pool or water features on your premises, you need to keep them covered so that raccoons cannot get into them. This is particularly important because raccoons can contaminate the water in them, which can pose a serious risk to human health if you fail to take the proper precautions. Furthermore, you want to make sure that your drainage system has been set up to channel rainwater away from your premises while also filling in depressions in the ground that can serve as potential water holes after precipitation if you want to be thorough.
4. On a related note, raccoons are attracted to gardens for much the same reason as humans. After all, if we can eat a particular fruit or vegetable, chances are good that a raccoon can eat it as well. As a result, gardeners have come up with all sorts of solutions to their raccoon problems, ranging from sprinkling their garden with repellents to bagging their produce before keeping them shut with tape. Unfortunately, none of these solutions will work 100 percent of the time, meaning that some gardeners actually recommend taking the drastic step of setting up an electric fence around your garden.
5. You need to provide your trees with regular care and maintenance. Part of this means putting baffles around them to keep raccoons from climbing them and part of this means trimming their branches to eliminate potential footholds. The second is particularly important because raccoons can use such footholds to access not just other trees but also the roofs of buildings.
6. Like most wild animals, raccoons can be spooked by sudden noises, lights, and other phenomena. As a result, you might be able to deter them from coming onto your premises by installing motion-activated lights and sprinklers, which can serve to deter other potential problems as well. Please note that some motion-activated lights will not work because a lot of raccoons have become used to lights by living in the cities.
7. Finally, it is worth noting that there is a wide range of raccoon repellents being sold on the open market. However, you should know that such repellents are not necessarily reliable under all circumstances because some raccoons are more determined to remain in a particular location than others. For example, while a repellent might be able to keep out raccoons searching for food and water, it might not be so useful when used against a raccoon mother that is nesting on your premises.
It is important to remember that even the best preparations can fail, particularly when raccoons are such curious and mischievous creatures. As a result, homeowners who are struggling to handle a raccoon problem should not hesitate to contact a skilled and experienced professional for assistance as soon as possible. After all, the longer they wait, the more serious the problem will become.