Raccoon Poison


08.05.2003 - Okay, first of all, I aint no tree-hugging animal rights fanatic. I understand that you want to poison those freaking raccoons that are causing you a headache. But I just want to make it very clear that poison is a stupid idea for many reasons. Even if you want to kill raccoons by any means necessary, poison is the dumbest and probably least effective idea.

You've got several options for how to kill raccoons.  Shoot 'em?  If you must.   Lethal body-grip trap? That'll work, even though it's dangerous and can kill the wrong animal.  Leg-hold trap?  If you're a fur trapper, you can use this inhumane method.  But poison?  NEVER EVER ATTEMPT TO POISON A RACCOON to kill it.

I've been getting a lot of emails lately about the use of poison for raccoon control. Raccoons do cause some problems for people, but if you have a raccoon issue, POISON IS NOT THE ANSWER.  First of all, there is no legal registered poison for killing any large mammal, including raccoons.  Second, I don't know of any effective poison - rat poison will not do kill raccoons - it will only cause a lot of internal bleeding, but not death.  Third, the use of poison is very risky, as a non-target animal, such as a dog, might eat it.  I've actually seen that happen before.  A dog suffering from poison is not fun.

Luckily, it is easy to solve a raccoon problem without resorting to poison.  It's easy to humanely trap and remove wild animals with a cage trap.  You can simply relocate them at least ten miles from the capture site, and they will not come back.  This method is much more effective, safe, and more humane than attempting to use poison!

Click here for my HOW TO GET RID OF RACCOONS comprehensive guide on raccoon removal.

Below are four emails I have received over the last few months in which ignorant people suggested the use of poison for raccoon control.  I responded to all of them letting them know that live trapping and relocation is the better option, and I was even able to help one of these people here in Orlando with his problem.  You do not need to kill raccoons.  They are intelligent and good creatures.

Hello, I have a family of raccoons (a HUGE mama and her five babies) who come out every night and steal my cats' food and make a general mess (plus they scare the bejesus out of my wife!). I've tried everything short of trapping them, which doesn't much appeal to me (trapping five little raccoons and big mama? I'd rather not get mauled to death, thank you.) I'm considering poisining them, but I'd rather try to trap them first. How much do you charge for your trapping services, and do you guys work at night (they always come at about 10:00ish PM)? I'm at wits end with these critters! Please advise. Thanks! Eric

Hi - I just read your article on the internet about raccoons. A problem we are having with a raccoon family is that they have been approaching my dog when outside. My dog hasn't chased them or anything, just kind of lays their and watches them walk up to her. This morning they came a foot away from her before I yelled at them and then they scurried off. Is there a way to keep them away from my dog? Does light make them go away? I was thinking about getting my dog the collar type thing that has a red blinky light on it that will sit on the back of her neck. Do you think this would work?  I'm starting to think that I should poison the raccoons. Thank you, Laura
David, I have been trying to catch an adult raccoon for about two weeks now, no luck. The traps have been sprung but no raccoon. I have seen him and he is probably 20-30 pounds. What size a trap do I need. I am thinking that he is stretching to get the bait and the trap door is hitting him on the back side and not latching, since I had the same results with a 2' and 3' trap. Any information would be helpful since I have never tried to catch a raccoon before. Thanks Rick   PS - Does poison work?
Dear Sir/Madam I am a unit owner at 9460 Fontainbleau Blvd. Miami, Fla. and I will like to report that we are experiencing a lot of problems with raccoons in the building areas. There are a lot of concerns because there are many children within the community. I will like to know if you can remove this animals from the premesis or apply a poison to kill them, and how soon. Your attention and cooperation is appreciated. Rosa

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Will a raccoon eat rat poison - Not even rats like to eat rat poison, so it's not common for a raccoon to get it, either. That being said, you should never put out rat poison for a raccoon. Poisoning animals that are not on the label for a product is illegal, and you could cause some serious damage to the wildlife around your home. If a raccoon did eat the rat poison, that animal would might leave the home and die in the woods where other animals would eat its remains and then become ill. If it didn't die outside, the raccoon might just crawl into the unreachable places in your home before it takes its last breath. This is somewhat karmic, as you will need to find the raccoon and remove it or your house will stink for months. Instead of dealing with the mess of a decomposing raccoon, it's easier to trap the animal alive and relocate it. This practice is illegal without a license in some states, but there are many wildlife removal companies that could help out. You can always ignore the regulations, but remember that raccoons can carry rabies. It only takes one bite to transmit this fatal disease to a person.

Poison has long been man's go-to choice when it comes to expunging vermin from their homes, which is not surprising: poison operates silently in the background and usually saves homeowners the trouble of setting and cleaning traps. However, this convenience does not override the many setbacks to killing—especially poisoning—an animal the size of a raccoon.

One of the main setbacks that come with poisoning a raccoon is the lack of specialized poisons for raccoons, meaning that you would likely have to resort to rat poison. However, laws in many jurisdictions forbid the use of rat poison in poisoning anything other than rodents, because such poisoned animals often die in the wild and get eaten by predators, meaning that the poison travels up the food chain, causing unnecessary suffering and death among apex predators. Nevertheless, should your target raccoon die inside your home, away from any predators, you will be quickly greeted with a dead raccoon odor, which is among the most putrid smells that the human nose can perceive. While rats and other small critters die and decompose quickly, leaving little to no stench behind, raccoons (owing to their comparatively huge size) rot intensely and for a long time, making a raccoon death a very undesirable outcome of an infestation. Worse still, as most rat poisons take up to several days to kill, the rotting corpse will not be at the location of the poison, meaning that you will have to endure the smell to hunt down the raccoon. However, you will only have to endure all of this if the poison works at all: rat poison is made in doses that work for animals the size of rats, which weigh around 2.5% of a heavy raccoon's weight. In all likelihood, trying to poison a raccoon will make it suffer, but will not achieve the outcome you seek, unless you use copious amounts of poison.

Should you desire to kill a raccoon bothering you, and if there is a compelling reason for doing so, you should explore options that do not involve poisoning. If you have access to a firearm and live in a secluded enough area, you could attempt dispatching the raccoon by shooting it: shooting is regarded as far quicker and more humane than poisoning, although it nonetheless leaves behind a corpse and a mess. For this reason, shooting it while it roams the wild is advised. Another method of killing you should consider is a lethal grip trap: these pieces of equipment leave less of a mess, although both acquiring and setting the trap up is likely to prove a nuisance, as such traps are mostly a part of a seasoned trapping specialist's kit. Before you embark on either of these methods of killing, you should consider local laws on raccoon hunting, as killing raccoons out of season may bag you a hefty fine.

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