Raccoons, known for the dark, mask-like pattern around their eyes, look like cuddly pets. However, these animals can carry serious diseases and do extensive property damage. Raccoons are often found in backyards because of their willingness to eat just about anything. This is particularly true in the spring and summer when raccoons gorge themselves in order to store up body fat for the winter. If you find evidence that raccoons have been in your backyard, you will want to get rid of them immediately.
Protect your trash. Raccoons are often drawn to a particular backyard due to food found in open trash containers. Getting rid of raccoons may be as simple as purchasing metal or plastic trash cans that are difficult to open, or keeping garbage containers sealed shut with bungee chords. Consider double-bagging smelly foods, such as meat products, that attract raccoons and other pests.
Do a sweep of your yard for all food items. The trash can is not the only place raccoons will look for food. Make sure you clean up fruit that has fallen into your yard from fruit trees. Raccoons are also drawn to bird feeders and pet food, so bring both in at night.
Scare the raccoons. Scare tactics, including sprinklers, loud noises, and motion detector lights, may deter raccoons from invading your backyard. Raccoons are fairly smart, however, and may return once they realize there is no real danger.
Trap the raccoons. The most effective way to remove raccoons from your backyard is to trap them. However, trapping raccoons is illegal in many states so be sure to check local ordinances. It can also be dangerous. Raccoons may carry Roundworm, Rabies, Leptospirosis, and Distemper.
Call a professional. Due to safety concerns, you should consider contacting your local animal control department or a private animal removal company if you have exhausted all other methods to remove the raccoons from your backyard.