The natural habitat of the raccoon is the forest, but they are drawn to human populated areas because of the many opportunities for foraging for food. Fallen fruit from trees, vegetable and flower gardens, pet food and water that are left out, as well as garbage are all attractive to a raccoon. In addition, raccoons will also dig up your lawn for grubs, beetles, and worms. If raccoons are becoming a problem on your lawn, there are a number of humane methods of deterrents you can use to try to persuade the animals to move along and not return.
Your first line of defense against raccoons hanging around your yard is to remove any source of food available. Once a raccoon has determined that your home and lawn are a good source of food, you will have a hard time getting rid of it. Removing food sources includes picking up fruit right away that falls from any fruit trees you may have and bringing in your pet’s food and water overnight. You should also take measures to secure your trash can lids so that a raccoon cannot get inside to the garbage.
Since raccoons are nocturnal animals, they are most likely to be digging around your yard at night. Nighttime is also prime time for rummaging through garbage cans. You can install some motion sensor lighting around the perimeters of your yard to deter any raccoons from hanging around. When the raccoon approaches your yard, the motion sensor will activate the light, and the raccoon may be startled away. There are many different types of motion sensor lights you can buy, many of which are solar powered for convenience.
Another deterrent that may work to keep raccoons off of your lawn is to purchase and install a motion sensor sprinkler system. When the raccoon enters your yard, the motion sensor activated sprinkler will send a spray of water out and begin sprinkling your lawn. This will startle the raccoon away. Motion sensor sprinklers are available in many styles, including a popular scarecrow design that people often use to keep birds out of their gardens. It works equally well for raccoons.
Another humane method for keeping raccoons off of your lawn uses soap flakes. Soap flakes, commonly used as a laundry detergent, can be sprinkled all over the lawn. After watering the flakes well, the worms and grubs that the raccoons may be digging around for will burrow deeper into the ground. Without the ease of being able to grab a quick snack from your yard, the raccoon may go off in search of a better food source.
Hot Pepper Repellent
As with most nocturnal animals, raccoons have a keen sense of smell. They are not fond of the scent of pepper and similar strong smells. You can try making a liquid pepper repellent to keep raccoons away from your lawn. To make the pepper repellent, get a bottle of hot sauce or a jar or can of cayenne pepper. Fill a one gallon container with water and then add the hot sauce or pepper. Stir the mixture, and then add a few drops of liquid dish detergent. This will help the repellent stay where you spray it. Fill a spray bottle with the solution and keep the rest in the refrigerator. Spray the pepper repellent around your plants if you have a raccoon trying to get your plants and vegetables, or spray it around the perimeters of your yard and next to trash cans. When the raccoon comes around, the strong scent of the pepper may send it scurrying away in search of a more suitable spot. The pepper will lose its scent after a few days, so you will need to re-spray regularly.
Onion and Pepper Repellent
Onions are also not a smell that raccoons are attracted to. The onion and pepper scent of this repellent is not an appetizing smell to a raccoon, so this repellent may help keep raccoons away. In a large pot, combine ½ gallon of water, two tablespoons of cayenne pepper, a chopped jalapeno pepper, and a chopped onion. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, and then let it steep for twenty minutes. Remove the pepper and onion and pour into a bottle with a spray nozzle. Spray the onion and pepper repellent along the perimeters of your yard and around your garden. Spray it around your trash cans as well to keep raccoons from getting into your garbage. As with the hot pepper spray, the onion and pepper repellent will lose its smell after a few days and will need to be resprayed.
Raccoons are very clean animals, which is why they wash their food when they have the opportunity to do so. They never urinate in or near the den they live in, and they also do not like the scent of another animal’s urine. Because urine contains ammonia, using ammonia as a deterrent may make the raccoon think it is urine. You can soak rags in ammonia and place them around the perimeters of your yard. You should be sure to place them in areas that the raccoon has been digging in and around trash cans. If the ammonia scent is picked up on by the raccoon, it may go elsewhere for food.
A Word On Effectiveness
While it is true, all of the above methods are humane ways to deter raccoons from getting into the yard and causing havoc they may not always be the most effective. If you have a persistent raccoon that is used to humans you will likely need to trap and remove them far away from your home. Remember the best methods are those that utilize keeping tempting items like pet food and rubbish picked up so the animals don’t start coming around.