Raccoons are strong, and if there is any sort of access to the area under your house — even if they have to pry away a loose piece of wood or tear a hole through the lattice — a determined raccoon is quite capable and definitely will gain entrance. Once inside, they make noise, create damage, defecate, or even set up housekeeping and nest.
Raccoons may look cute, but they carry diseases, such as roundworm and rabies, and they quickly lose their fear of people. Don't be fooled by that adorable face. Raccoons can be vicious and will fight ferociously when cornered. If these pests have set up house in the space beneath your home, you'll want to evict them pronto.
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How to Get Rid of Raccoons Under Your House
Step 1: Look for Offspring
Check to see if there are any baby raccoons under your house. Mother raccoons often nest under a house because it is a safe, warm, and dry place. They generally give birth and raise their kits from March through June. If you find a litter of baby raccoons in the space under your house, it is best to put off the eviction until they leave the nest. (Local and/or state laws may require this.) Wait at least eight weeks. They will leave on their own once they are grown.
Step 2: Remove the Attractants
Once you are certain there are no baby raccoons under the house, take steps to get rid of the adults. Eliminate what may be attracting them. Remove cat or dog food from the yard and do not feed your pets outside. Secure your garbage cans by strapping the lids down with bungee cords.
Step 3: Disrupt the Happy Homestead
Make the space uninhabitable. Place a bright light in the space under the house. Find a talk show on a portable radio, turn the volume up, and put it in the space. Leave the radio and the light on for 48 to 72 hours. Fill a few empty tin cans with rags that have been soaked in ammonia and put these under the house, as well.
Step 4: Trap the Raccoons
If these steps fail to remove the animal, use a Havahart or similar trap to catch the raccoon. Bait the trap with some dry pet kibble or kitchen scraps. After a raccoon is securely inside, cover the trap with an old blanket to calm the animal. Wear heavy gloves when moving the cage once the animal is inside. Release the caged raccoon into the woods.
Check the laws in your state before attempting to trap raccoons — it is illegal to relocate them in many states. Contact your humane society or animal control officer to learn the regulations in your state. Do not leave captured animals where children have access to them.
Step 5: Discourage Future Invasions
To prevent raccoons from taking up residence again, secure the space by permanently sealing up any entry spaces they were using. Nail pieces of chicken wire over lattice to make it harder for raccoons to tear it apart.
Contact a local wildlife rescue group and ask if they can help. Talk with your neighbors before using a bright light or loud radio to flush out a raccoon. Make sure they know this is just a temporary measure.