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Creating a Raccoon-Free Environment

baby raccoon walking through the grass

Raccoons are known for their adaptability and intelligence. These traits, while fascinating, can make them a nuisance for homeowners and property managers.

Raccoons can cause significant damage to properties, especially in South Jersey. They rummage through trash, destroy gardens, and can even infiltrate homes.

This article aims to provide effective strategies for creating a raccoon-free environment in South Jersey. It offers actionable steps for raccoon exclusion and deterrence in this specific region.

Whether you're a homeowner, a property manager, or a gardener in South Jersey, this guide is for you. It's designed to help you protect your property from raccoon intrusion and potential damage in this area.

By understanding raccoon behavior and implementing the right exclusion techniques tailored to South Jersey, you can keep these clever creatures at bay. Let's explore how to create a safe and raccoon-free environment in this region.

Understanding Raccoon Behavior for Effective Exclusion

Raccoons are nocturnal creatures, most active during the night. They are omnivores, feeding on a wide range of foods, including fruits, nuts, insects, and small animals.

Raccoons are attracted to areas with easy access to food, water, and shelter. They are excellent climbers and can open doors, lids, and latches. Raccoons are opportunistic feeders. They will eat almost anything, making unsecured trash bins and pet food prime targets. They’re also excellent swimmers and climbers, capable of scaling fences and trees to access food or shelter. Raccoons can climb straight up your downspouts, get onto the roof and push soffits or exploit existing holes to make their way into your attic.

Raccoons are curious and intelligent, known to solve complex problems to access food or escape confinement, which can make it difficult to trap them, especially if they’ve been caught before. In those cases, exclusion would be the best way to get them out. Wildlife exclusion involves creating a path for them to leave without allowing them to come back in. They are primarily nocturnal, meaning most of their activity occurs at night. You should always avoid making contact with raccoons as they are wild animals and can be unpredictable and dangerous, especially if they feel threatened.

By understanding these behaviors, you can tailor your exclusion strategies to be more effective. Remember, the goal is not to harm the raccoons, but to discourage them from seeing your property as a source of food and shelter.

raccoon leaving through a trap - raccoon exclusion - williamstown nj

Securing Your Property Against Raccoons

Securing your property is a crucial step in raccoon exclusion. This involves making your property less attractive to raccoons by removing food sources and potential shelter.

Raccoons are attracted to easy meals. Unsecured trash bins, compost piles, and pet food left outside can draw them in. They are also attracted to sheltered areas like attics, chimneys, and under decks where they can nest and hide from predators.

Here are some key steps to secure your property:

  • Secure trash bins with locking lids or bungee cords.

  • Clean up fallen fruits and nuts from your yard.

  • Remove bird feeders or secure them out of raccoon reach.

  • Seal off access to attics, basements, and crawl spaces.

  • Keep pet food indoors or secure it when not in use.

Securing Trash Bins and Compost

Unsecured trash bins and compost piles are like a buffet for raccoons. They can easily tip over bins and tear open bags in search of food.

To deter them, use bins with locking lids or secure them with bungee cords. Compost should be kept in a closed container or covered with a heavy lid to prevent access.

Protecting Gardens and Crops

Raccoons can cause significant damage to gardens and crops. They are particularly fond of corn, berries, and other sweet fruits.

To protect your garden, consider installing a fence. Electric fences can be particularly effective. Also, remove ripe fruits and vegetables promptly to reduce their appeal.

Reinforcing Structures and Entry Points

Raccoons are excellent climbers and can squeeze through small openings to gain access to sheltered areas. They often nest in attics, chimneys, and under decks or sheds.

To prevent this, seal off any potential entry points. Use sturdy materials like hardware cloth or metal flashing, as raccoons can chew through wood and plastic. Regularly inspect your property for signs of raccoon activity and address any issues promptly.

Deterrents and Repellents: What Works?

There are many deterrents and repellents marketed for raccoon exclusion. However, their effectiveness can vary.

Raccoons are intelligent and adaptable creatures. They can quickly learn to ignore deterrents that pose no real threat. Therefore, it's important to use a combination of methods and to change tactics periodically.

Here are some deterrents and repellents that can be effective:

  • Motion-activated lights and sprinklers

  • Natural and chemical repellents

  • Noise-making devices like radios

  • Visual deterrents like decoys

Motion-Activated Lights and Sprinklers

Raccoons are nocturnal and prefer to avoid well-lit areas. Motion-activated lights can startle them and deter them from your property.

Similarly, motion-activated sprinklers can scare raccoons away with a sudden burst of water. These deterrents can be particularly effective when used in combination.

Natural and Chemical Repellents

There are several natural and chemical repellents that can deter raccoons. These include ammonia, capsaicin (the compound that makes peppers hot), and predator urine.

However, these repellents must be used carefully to avoid harm to other wildlife, pets, and humans. Also, they need to be reapplied regularly, especially after rain.

Physical Barriers and Exclusion Techniques

animal prevention services - mesh wire covering a potential entry point

Physical barriers are a key part of any raccoon exclusion plan. They can prevent raccoons from accessing your property, garden, or home.

There are several types of physical barriers that can be effective:

  • Fencing and electric barriers

  • Chimney caps and vent covers

  • Hardware cloth or mesh to seal off access points

installing a chimney cap - pest prevention - raccoon removal

Chimney Caps and Vent Covers

Raccoons often enter homes through chimneys and vents. Installing chimney caps and vent covers can prevent this.

These barriers should be sturdy and secure. Raccoons are strong and can remove loose or weak covers.

Fencing and Electric Barriers

Fencing can be a good deterrent, especially if it's difficult for raccoons to climb. However, raccoons are excellent climbers and can often overcome standard fences.

Electric fences can be more effective. They deliver a mild shock that deters raccoons without causing them harm.

Legal and Humane Considerations in Raccoon Control

When dealing with raccoons, it's important to consider legal and humane aspects. Laws regarding wildlife control vary by location. Always check local regulations before taking action.

Humane treatment of raccoons is also crucial. Raccoons are intelligent, adaptable creatures. They often come into conflict with humans due to loss of their natural habitat.

Remember, the goal is raccoon exclusion, not eradication. Use methods that deter raccoons without causing them harm. This approach is not only ethical, but it also helps maintain a balanced ecosystem.

Identifying and Addressing Raccoon Infestations

Recognizing a raccoon infestation early is key to effective exclusion. Raccoons leave several signs of their presence. These include overturned trash bins, damaged crops, and distinctive tracks.

Raccoons are also known for their unique droppings. These are often found in communal sites called latrines. If you notice these signs, it's likely you have a raccoon problem.

Addressing an infestation involves a combination of exclusion techniques. These may include securing food sources, using deterrents, and sealing entry points.

Signs of Raccoon Presence

Raccoon tracks are a clear sign of their presence. They have five toes and their prints resemble a human hand. Look for these near potential food sources or entry points.

Another sign is hearing noises at night. Raccoons are nocturnal and often active when humans are asleep. If you hear scratching or rustling, it could be a raccoon.

Health Risks and Cleanup

Raccoon droppings can pose serious health risks. They may contain harmful parasites and diseases. Always use protective gear when cleaning up raccoon waste.

After an infestation, it's important to repair any damage. This includes sealing entry points and cleaning up waste. A thorough cleanup reduces the chance of future infestations.

Professional Wildlife Exclusion Services

Professional wildlife exclusion services can be a valuable resource. They have the expertise to handle raccoon exclusion safely and effectively. These services can identify entry points, install deterrents, and provide ongoing maintenance.

While there's a cost involved, the benefits can outweigh the expense. Professionals can prevent extensive damage and potential health risks. They can also ensure that exclusion methods are humane and legal. It's a worthwhile investment for peace of mind and a raccoon-free environment.

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DIY vs. Professional Raccoon Exclusion

Choosing between DIY and professional raccoon exclusion depends on several factors. These include the severity of the infestation, your comfort level with handling wildlife, and your budget. Both methods have their pros and cons.

DIY exclusion can be cost-effective and rewarding. It allows you to take direct action and learn about raccoon behavior. However, it can be time-consuming and requires a commitment to ongoing maintenance. There's also the risk of not fully addressing the problem, leading to recurring issues.

Professional services, on the other hand, offer expertise and efficiency. They can provide a comprehensive solution and handle complex situations. However, the cost can be a deterrent for some. It's important to weigh these factors and choose the method that best suits your needs and circumstances.

Creating a Long-Term Raccoon Exclusion Plan

Creating a raccoon-free environment is not a one-time task. It requires a long-term plan and consistent effort. By understanding raccoon behavior, securing your property, and using effective deterrents, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of raccoon intrusion.

Remember, the goal is not to harm these creatures, but to coexist peacefully. Raccoons are a vital part of our ecosystem. With a well-planned and humane exclusion strategy, you can protect your property and contribute to the well-being of local wildlife.


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