Raccoons make their home in various dwellings, from roofs and attics to chimneys and garages. In urban areas, you will often find raccoons conflict with humans when they attempt to enter a home through a pet door or other entryway. Raccoons are common pests and you might find it difficult to trap the raccoon unless you know some methods and techniques. They are not only a nuisance but they also carry diseases. In this blog post, we will look at some of the different techniques and methods that are used to trap raccoons, as well as some of the best baits to use for trapping them.
When you should trap a raccoon
- It is not baby season (March-July)
- There is no other option for e.g . raccoon is not nesting but roaming and being destructive
- A raccoon is on your balcony regularly
- A raccoon is tearing up your sod regularly
- You have 1 raccoon inside your attic, shed, deck
It may seem like an easy task, but there are a lot of things that can go wrong. For instance, raccoons have sharp teeth, and they can chew through pretty much anything. Typically, they try to gnaw their way out of any kind of trap.
When you shouldn’t trap a raccoon:
There are times when it is not advisable to trap a raccoon. If you are not familiar with trapping, or if you have never trapped a raccoon before, it is best to leave this job to the professionals. The laws and regulations governing trapping are complex and can make it difficult to capture them in a legal manner for a beginner.
Following are some of the reasons why you should not trap a raccoon:
1) There are babies
2) There are better humane options available (One-way door removal)
3) If there are multiple raccoons in your attic
Keep in mind, raccoons are very smart. If you catch a raccoon once, you may not be able to catch it again. This is also true if a raccoon sees another trapped, it may learn to avoid it. Learn which method suits your needs by checking our raccoon removal page.
Observe and identify the problem
Be sure to check for any raccoon activity in the daylight. If you see one, it’s likely that there could be others nearby.
Once you’ve identified the problem, it’s time to set up a trap!
Investigate raccoon problems and priorities
Before you begin to trap a raccoon, it’s important to consider the situation and your own priorities. Do you have any health concerns? Is there a chance that the raccoon has rabies or other diseases? Has it been in your house, yard, or garden making noise and causing damage? Is trapping going to be an inconvenience for you? These are relevant questions you need to ask yourself before setting out to trap raccoons.
Ensure the safety of pets, children, and other animals
It’s highly crucial to make sure the raccoon trap is in a safe location where it can’t be accessed by children, pets, or other animals. You should also keep the neighbors’ pets in mind, especially outdoor cats. Make sure the raccoon is cared for until you are able to safely relocate it (i.e shade in hot days). Ensure people don’t come across your trap with a raccoon inside and get injured. More than likely, most of these tips are avoidable since you’ll likely catch a raccoon at night. Check the trap every morning and humanely handle the trapping process promptly. You’ll be able to avoid any problems by relocating it safely following your local bylaws and regulations.
Rules and Regulations
Ontario has regulations when it comes to trapping and relocating any wildlife. It’s important that you comply with these rules to avoid any hefty penalties and charges.
- You may only relocate an animal 1km away from its captured location (disease prevention & animal survival)
- You must check your live trap once every 24 hours while it’s triggered to catch (to avoid cruelty & animal suffering)
Importance of following rules
other than avoiding hefty fines and being an outstanding citizen, here’s a few reasons to why it’s important to follow them to heart.
- Diseases can be spread to areas where the local wildlife is otherwise free of it.
- Animals that have been relocated farther away from their natural habitat may not be able to find food and water and die as a result of relocation.
- Traps should be checked regularly to avoid animals such as raccoons suffering in the trap without care, water, or nutrition.
- While inside the trap, animals are most vulnerable by natural predators and stresses.
Simple steps to trap a raccoon
One way or another you’ve probably seen a raccoon on the road. They are usually found near trash cans and other food sources. Sometimes, they can be aggressive and will attack if provoked. Follow these simple steps to trap raccoons.
Select a trap
A raccoon is a medium-sized animal and so the extra-large trap size (about 32 – 42 inches in length) is better suited. The trap must have a lid that will close tightly and hold the animal’s weight.
The lid should be strong enough to withstand the weight of the animal as well as the weather. Raccoons are very adaptable, and they can survive in a wide variety of environments. This is why it is important to use traps that will not fail under adverse conditions. The trap must be well-constructed with metal parts. Generally, the traps come in either 1 or 2-door models.
The right place to put a trap
Placing your trap in an area where you’ve seen a raccoon or where a raccoon may live is very important. Raccoons are nocturnal creatures who prefer dark and damp areas such as holes under porches, trash cans, or compost piles. Some places you might set a trap include:
- mulch beds
- along walls
- underneath structures
- tree hollows
- fence lines
Make sure the trap is set on a flat surface.
Bait the trap with some sort of food that is appealing to raccoons such as marshmallows, hotdogs, or cat food
Raccoons are easily trapped because they are highly attracted to food and as scavengers will eat almost anything. They prefer to eat live prey, but will also eat carrion or garbage if it’s available.
Now that you have your trap set up and baited, it’s time to wait for the raccoon to arrive. If no raccoon comes in a few days, try adding more food or moving the trap so it is closer to where you saw the raccoon last. Leaving the trap out in the evening yields the best results since raccoons are nocturnal.
It’s best to place a trail of food to the buffet behind the trigger plate to lure the raccoon in. Remember that sometimes a raccoon is just passing through; if this happens with your particular bait of choice then try another type of bait instead. We recommend your local store cat food; turkey, fish, chicken etc.
Make sure there is enough bait in the cage so that the raccoon has to fully enter the cage
Raccoons are very clever and cage traps work on the principle that they can’t resist food and will go for it at all costs without thinking twice about the consequences. The first thing is to make sure that your trap has enough bait so that the raccoon has to fully enter before it can reach it and trigger the door latch. Leaving a trail will make sure the raccoon continues farther into the trap until it steps on the trigger plate and gets caught.
How To Protect Yourself When Transporting A Raccoon
Aside from actually catching your target raccoon, protecting your valuables and yourself is probably the most difficult thing. Raccoons will urinate, defecate and claw their way out of the trap (not literally, if you have the right trap). Most traps have enough gaps between their grading to allow raccoons to slip their arms in and out of the trap to grab their surroundings.
Here’s what you should do to protect yourself and your valuables:
- Place a cardboard box below your trap right before arming it for the evening to catch your raccoon (to avoid clawing surfaces / cleaning feces off deck – toxic).
- Remove any dangerous objects (wiring, propane capsules) or valuables within roughly 2 feet of the trap.
- When you catch your raccoon, place your trap inside a construction garbage bag for transportation to contain urine/feces.
- Transport your trap to your vehicle – holding it away from your feet and body to avoid being scratched.
- Use hard surfaces, such as obsolete wooden planks to protect your vehicle’s innards when placing the trap inside.
- Release your captured raccoon 1km away from the captured point, in a secure and safe area with no vehicle traffic.