General Raccoon Facts
Scientific Name: Procyon lotor
Average Size: 12" tall; 24-38" long; 14-23 lb
Average Lifespan in the Wild: 2-3 years
Identifying Features: Gray fur with a black mask and 4-7 black rings around its tail; pointy snout with a black nose; dexterous front paws.
- A raccoon will rinse its food in water prior to eating it. When there is no water close by, a raccoon will still rub its food to remove debris.
- Some hypothesize that the purpose of a raccoon's black mask is to reduce glare, helping it to see better in the dark.
- A group of raccoons is called a nursery.
- Although raccoons only live 2-3 years in the wild, a raccoon can live up to 20 years in captivity.
Identify Areas of Damage
Knowing where your raccoon is spending most of its time and identifying the damage will help you determine which type of repellent(s) you will need.
Common raccoon activities include:
- invading your attic
- eating your veggies
- stealing fish from your pond
- living underneath your porch
- raiding your trash cans
- attacking your bird feeders
Choose the Right Raccoon Repellent
Based on areas the raccoons are frequenting, you can use the below information to determine whether a liquid, granular or electronic solution is best for you. It’s important to note that the more repelling methods you employ, the more likely you will have long-term success at keeping raccoons off your property.
Liquid Spray Repellents
Best For: Surface protection against raccoons for the following areas:
- garbage cans
- hard surfaces
- trash bags
- bird feeders
TIPS: Most liquids are for outdoor use only, and are only effective when sprayed in temperatures above 40° F. Reapplication is important, especially after heavy rainfall or new plant growth.
Best For: Perimeter protection from raccoons to create a barrier around particular areas, such as:
- raccoon dens
- crawl spaces
TIPS: Granules work best when flat surfaces are available. They can be effective in any climate, and can be used indoors. Granules tend to last longer than liquids, however reapplication is still necessary after heavy rainfall.
Best For: Frightening raccoons with bursts of water and conditioning them to stay away from virtually any area. Electronics are ideal for:
- vegetable gardens
- mulch beds
- pool areas
- koi ponds
- property entryways
- garbage cans
TIPS: Electronic repellents require very little maintenance, are eco-friendly and tend to have higher effectiveness against raccoons versus traditional liquid or granular repellents.
Apply as Directed
Unlike other household products whose functionality doesn’t necessarily require careful following of every instruction, animal repellents require the user to fully understand the application details in order for them to be effective. Below are critical directions to remember when using repellents:
- Reapplication is critical to maintain full repellency. TIP: Keep a calendar to maintain a regular schedule.
- Shake liquid repellents well before use to ensure proper dispersal of active ingredients.
- Spray leaves until runoff occurs.
- Location is key when setting up electronic repellents - both the sensor and sprinkler should be pointed in the direction animals are approaching.
Repelling raccoons is more difficult if you don’t remove attractants such as food, water, and shelter. Take extra steps to keep raccoons out of your home and away from your property. Some of these steps might include:
- removing water sources
- removing trash
- washing garbage cans
- closing gate/fence gaps
- fixing broken vents/screens
- cleaning up bird seed & pet food
- The best raccoon repellents repel by targeting multiple senses, like scent and taste.
- Be patient. Raccoons are persistent creatures, so it may take a few weeks before they learn to associate a repellent with your yard.
- The more raccoon repellent products you use against raccoons, the better your defense.
- Leaving food and water around can attract wildlife. Be sure to keep areas around your house clean and free of attractants.
- Periodically wash your trash bins to minimize scents that may attract raccoons.