Raccoon Trapping - How to Trap Raccoons

Below I have some tips and techniques for raccoon trapping, including trap type, bait, placement, etc. I also have general advice on the topic of trapping in general, which is important for you to know. After you read the below information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does raccoon removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of raccoons - my main raccoon removal info guide.
Example raccoon trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Raccoon blog - learn from great examples of raccoon jobs I've done.

It took me years to become a successful raccoon trapper. It may seem simple - just buy a big steel cage, bait it with cat food, catch the critter, bring it somewhere else, and problem solved, right? WRONG! Most of the time, seriously, most of the time, something goes wrong. Here are some of the problems I've seen over the years from do-it-yourself people:

  • A man caught his neighbor's cat, it died of heat stroke, and he got sued.
  • A man set the trap near a power line underground and the raccoon reached through the cage and ripped it up and caused an outage.
  • Someone set a trap near the screen door and the raccoon reached through the cage and tore the screen to shreds.
  • Someone set the trap near a pool and the raccoon dragged the trap along the ground and pulled itself into the pool and drowned.
  • I've known four different homeowners who sustained raccoon bites or scratches from trapped raccoons and had to get rabies treatment (one woman stitches). They WILL get at you if you are not extremely careful or have the correct equipment.
  • I've known of dozens of cases in which people ended up with escaped raccoons and destroyed traps.
  • I've seen countless cases in which the raccoon "miraculously" made its way back, continued to cause problems, and was now "trap-shy" and uncatchable by the same methods.
  • One man fell off his roof while trying to set the trap up there.
  • I've heard of quite a few cases in which people have let trapped raccoons suffer in the heat of the sun and die. Also a few cases of freezing up north.


Trapping is not always simple. You have to have the right trap. There are many sold online, but not all models are good. It has to be large enough, and many "raccoon-sized" models are not big enough. In Florida, where the raccoons are smaller, the 10" wide, 12" high, 32" long Havahart model 1079 was big enough, but not always. Sometimes a larger, sturdier cage is needed.

The trap must be set on level ground! Do not set it anywhere near any object, or a trapped raccoon will reach out and grab it. It will tear up the grass, rip out anything nearby, and drag the trap along the ground, from the inside, and tip it over and maybe get out.

Bait doesn't necessarily matter, because raccoons are omnivores and they scavenge. But if you use meat-based bait, get ready to catch cats - from the neighborhood (owners won't like that) or stray cats, which can be ferocious when caged. Meat will also draw in opossums. The best bait is usually something like marshmallows or white bread.

I've heard of people inhumanely killing trapped raccoons via drowning or other methods. If you're inclined to trap and kill raccoons inhumanely, there's probably nothing that I can say here to deter you. But if you want to kill them humanely, a CO2 chamber is the best. Shooting is also okay, if you can do it safely.

Trapping is probably illegal in your state. It's illegal in most states if you do not posses the proper licensing. So if you trap and relocate a raccoon yourself, you're probably breaking the law, if you care anyway.

If you have raccoons in your attic, you really should hire a professional wildlife trapper to take care of the problem. It's not easy to get rid of raccoons in the attic. It's not work for amateurs or do-it-yourselfers. Many people will just buy a trap and set it on the ground and never catch anything, or catch stray cats, opossums, and other non-target animals. Or worse, some crummy companies or so-called handy homeowners will set a trap or two on the ground, and actually catch the mom raccoon, and get rid of her - only to leave the babies up in the attic to squeal and suffer and die and then decompose and stink. Please don't try to do this yourself or hire a cut-rate lazy trapper who won't go into the attic and get the young. The job has to be done right!

If you need raccoon trapping in your hometown, we service over 500 USA locations! Click here to hire us in your town and check prices - updated for year 2020.

For excellent how-to information, please visit my how to get rid of raccoons page or my get rid of raccoons in the attic page. I also have a story of a particular raccoon trapping job on my raccoon in house page.

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