Need raccoon removal in your hometown? We service over 500 USA locations! Click here to hire us in your town and check prices - updated for year 2020.
Who removes raccoons? Here are the options:
The Homeowner: FREE - Though it is not easy or safe, and it might not actually be legal if you are not licensed.
Pest Control Company: NOPE. - Pest control companies spray poison for insects and are not qualified for wildlife trapping.
Wildlife Control Company: NOT FREE - A company that specializes in animal/wildlife removal is your best bet.
CITY/COUNTY Animal Control: FREE - The government animal services does work for free, but generall handles dogs or cats. Click this map for your local free animal control: animal control map.
Police Department: FREE - though they rarely remove wild animals, and might be annoyed if you call them about it.
Wildlife Rehabber: FREE - some nice people help sick/injured animals for free or by donation, and they might help, or might not.
If you have found a raccoon around your home then you are quite aware that these are the kinds of animals that you surely want to be as far away from your property as possible. These are messy animals, who will not only destroy your property, but leave their waste around with little concern whatsoever. This can mean that the bacteria and other pathogens that can be found in a raccoon’s waste will be left in your home are on your property, endangering you, your family, or your pets.
In addition, raccoons carry a large number of diseases, including rabies, which can cause severe illness if not death. Those who are bit by a raccoon and contract the rabies virus must be treated immediately or they risk the likelihood of dying. Sadly, death from rabies is a very grueling death that involves a great deal of suffering. You surely don’t want you and your family at risk because of these critters.
The problem is that getting rid of a raccoon is not the easiest thing on earth. They are the kind of animal that likes to make itself at home once it has discovered its new residence, and so your attic, shed, or other location in your home becomes the ideal spot for it to create its own home. So, what do you do to get rid of it?
You can try to do this on your own, but the risks involved are too great for many. They simply don’t want to risk coming in contact with the raccoon or even being bitten, so they would prefer to hire a company to do the job for them.
Learn whether or not raccoons hibernate.
There are some organizations out there that you can hire to do the job, but they can be quite costly. You may not be able to afford this cost so you want to learn how to get free raccoon removal? That is a real tough one.
Find out if raccoons eat mice / rats.
Unless your raccoon is sick you are not going to be able to get assistance from animal control. Raccoons are quite common in most areas of the country, so your local agency will not come out to pick up this critter because there were thousands more like it there. However, if there seems to be a serious illness with the raccoon then they are likely to assist simply because the risk to the health of the public is great.
You could also try contacting your local college or university. In their biology department they may deal with live specimens, and may find that having a raccoon for their lab would be the ideal specimen to assist in their instruction. In this case, they may be quite willing to send out a few students with the professor to capture the raccoon and bring it back to their lab. This gives them the free specimen and gets rid of your raccoon problem. Don’t count on this though. If you want to get free removal, the only option may be to do it yourself.
You have probably heard or read a lot about raccoon skat [raccoon feces] and the dangers associated with it, but a lot of the information is confusing or conflicting. We have sifted through mounts of articles and websites, each stating various things about the poop of wild animals. Some of it is true, but some of it seems to be dangerously untrue.
We're going to reveal the truth.
Raccoon Feces — How Dangerous Is It?
Have you heard of leptospirosis? Many home and property owners haven't, but it's a very common disease that almost all wild animals have the potential to carry, raccoons included. It is actually in the urine of raccoons that you'll find the bacteria that causes this infection, with symptoms that can range from relatively mild — headaches, a slight fever, muscle aches, to the extremely severe — jaundice, bouts of diarrhoea, vomiting, severe stomach cramps, a high fever and dehydration. In perfectly healthy adults, this bacteria probably won't do much more than just a few sick days and some rest and recuperation. If this were to hit someone who were already suffering with other ailments, or someone who is particularly young or old, it could have hard-hitting effects that might even be life-altering or fatal. That seems to be the case with many of the diseases that can be passed on from racoon to people.
What about Giardiasis? Have you heard of that? It's actually classed as an intestinal infection, caused by a parasite — Giardia lamblia. Raccoon feces, also known as raccoon skat, can carry small cysts and eggs of Giardia lamblia; microscopic eggs that you can't see with the naked eye. Contaminated water and food are actually fairly common sources of the infection, but infected soil can also be the culprit. You might want to think about your garden vegetable patch a little more before you enjoy the fruits of your labor. The bad news about Giardia lamblia is that the parasite can survive away from a host and outside in extreme weather conditions for quite a prolonged period of time. Sadly, it's quite the durable parasite.
We should probably have a little chat about Raccoon Roundworm while we're on the subject of raccoon feces and disease too, seeing as it's one of the most dangerous ones. It actually doesn't seem to affect humans too frequently, which is good news, but it can and does impact dogs a lot, according to studies. In humans, it can be particularly dangerous because the parasite has the potential to migrate to the brain, any of your internal organs, or even your eyes.
The roundworm itself is actually called Baylisascaris procyonis, and if you are infected, you are infected with Baylisascaris. It is quite common for raccoon youngsters to get infected, accidentally ingesting the parasitic eggs during grooming, but also whilst eating and out hunting and foraging for food.
Adults can also get infected in the same ways, but are more likely to contract the parasite by eating meat from other animals that have become infected — rabbits, other raccoons, such as raccoon young, and also some birds.
There are many diseases linked to wild animals and cases are, thankfully, rare. They are proof that interactions between humans and wild animals, specifically raccoons, are indeed dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. It is highly recommend that you seek medical advice if you find yourself feeling unwell after being in contact with raccoons or raccoon urine/feces, or if you suspect this might be the case.
There are a number of reasons why handling raccoon poop is a bad idea, and it's not exactly the kind of thing that many of us would expect to do on a regular basis. However, if you find yourself on the receiving end of a raccoon visit, raccoon poop is going to be just one of a very long list of problems that the animal brings with it. In the case of raccoon feces, also known as raccoon skat, the dangers also come as one big, long list.
Before you start any raccoon invasion cleanup, whether you're dealing with feces or not, make sure that you have as much protective equipment as you can get your hands on. Believe us when we tell you that we are not exaggerating when we say that you need a full suit, eye goggles, and a breathing or face mask.
It is advisable to have everything ready before you get started, rather than having to nip out halfway through and grab something. If you're working up high, such as in the attic or on the roof, we always recommend that you have a secondary person to make sure that nothing has the potential to go wrong. If you were to fall from the roof (although, we sincerely hope it doesn't happen), you'd need someone to call 911 for you.
You will need a number of things to physically remove the poop, but what you need might actually depend on the area you're cleaning up, and the kind of poop that has been left behind. Dry and dusty old poop might look harmless, but there could be disease spores still present that might then become airborne. In turn, that means you could inhale disease spores. There is evidence to support both sides of the argument as far as this is concerned, but raccoon roundworm cysts, often found in raccoon feces, are believed to become airborne and potentially still active when the poop has turned dry and dusty. A filter vacuum can help you to clean up the dry, dusty stuff, but you must make sure to disinfect and clean that properly too. Any disease threats left behind are then taken into your home, where your family can then come into contact with them, so this is not the time to be lazy or complacent.
Have bags ready to dump the garbage into, and be prepared to face destruction that you hadn't already spotted, such as chewed wires, attic insulation that needs to be replaced, and more. It might start out as a cheap job, but once you go investigating — looking for more evidence of raccoon activity — there is a good chance that you will find it. You might want to make sure you have a piece of paper and a pencil handy to jot down the inevitable handy-man jobs that are going to become necessary as a result of your inspection.
The Big Cleanup
Once all the messy stuff has been taken away, the cleanup operation is left. You will need to scrub any contaminated surfaces or materials to within an inch of their life, unless you can toss them out entirely. We actually recommend burning anything that the raccoon came into contact with, alongside the tools you use to clean everything up.
You must be cautious that you're not mixing cleaning chemicals together, because this can cause reactions that might even become deadly. You will want to look for products that have antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties. There are some essential oils that you could use, such as tea tree oil, that have antifungal, antibacterial properties, etc., but we recommend applying those AFTER you have used the cleaning agents.
Once you are done with the big cleanup, we actually recommend that you go over everything once more, just for good luck. And then, make sure the area is sealed so that the invasion can't ever happen again. What's the point in going through that once if you don't learn from it and stop it from happening in the future?
Finding anything other than water in your pool isn't a pleasant experience, and it's an especially awful experience when the thing you're faced with is feces left by a wild animal. What doesn't help, of course, is that the poop of some wild animals can look very much like the poop that your cat or (small/medium-sized) dog might leave in the back yard. Raccoon poop, also known as skat, is very similar to cat poop, and many homeowners are quick to blame their own or a neighbor's pet before they think to blame a passing wild raccoon.
If you have raccoon poop in your pool once, there's a good chance that same raccoon will be back, no matter how many times you shoo it away. It gets worse too; raccoons will tell their friends and family members where these cool places to hang out are. Mother raccoons will share warm and safe nesting/den sites with her own children, alongside the location of really good spots to find a good meal. Mother raccoons will also come together during the cold, winter months, and they will share these titbits with each other too.
By shooing a raccoon away, all you are doing is shooing it away for a brief period of time. A raccoon that poops in your pool once will do it again and again and again, and the reason for this is because you keep giving it the opportunity to do what it wants. Food will encourage the animal closer in the first place, and a warm, safe home will be the thing that keeps them hanging around, alongside that great source of food. They love to play in water, elegantly displayed by hundreds of videos that end up going viral across social media platforms, and when you have a shallow end or some steps that lead in, that's where you'll find the poop. They don't tend to do it so much in the deeper areas.
How to Stop a Raccoon Using My Pool as a Toilet
Step One: Food Removal
The first step is to eradicate all sources of food. Have a look in your garden and note down everything that the raccoon — an opportunistic hunter/feeder and a scavenger — could eat. This might mean trash bags, bird feeders, fruit trees, pet food bowls, fish food, chicken feed, vegetables and other plant life that you have growing in your back yard, etc.
Insecticides will help to keep insect populations low in your lawn and other garden areas, and these can help to stop raccoon invasions. You may not wish to use this approach if you are opting for something all-natural. Ponds are another source of food for raccoons. Where possible, cover over fish ponds at night (raccoons are nocturnal).
Step Two: Area Obstacles
When you know that raccoons like to poop in the shallow areas of the pool, you could try to cordon that area off. You may just find, like other homeowners, that sealing off the steps/shallow area of the pool from the raccoon works to keep the animal out of the pond period. They are quite lazy animals really; they won't work too hard when there's an easier option somewhere close by.
Making it difficult for a raccoon to get to a specific area is a really great way to discourage the animal from coming closer. A fence around the perimeter of your land will go some way to keeping larger wild animals at bay and, therefore, away from your pool.
Step Three: Raccoon Repellents
Repellents aren't a great idea because of the majority of them simply do not work. You can try using lights, ultrasonic noise devices, granules and liquid-based deterrents, but these have proven themselves to be mostly ineffective. Some homeowners do swear by them, but we personally can't endorse them.
There is just one type of repellent for raccoons that we would recommend you try and that's wildlife eviction fluid. This all-natural repellent is created from various fluids that come from male raccoons and other males animals, such as foxes, coyotes, etc. These males are predators to females, not for them; for their youngsters. Male raccoons, plus both sexes of other predators will attack and consume young raccoon kits in the den, especially if they have been left defenceless by a mother who has gone out to find food.
Step Four: Wildlife Removal Experts
Known by a string of names, including wildlife rehabilitators, pest control officers, and wildlife technicians, these removal experts have a plethora of tricks up their sleeves, usually accumulated over years of safely and humanely removing wild animals from residential and commercial properties. A problematic raccoon or a raccoon that seems to be sick may need to be euthanized. Wildlife rehabilitators are usually the only individuals who are permitted to this, depending on the state or area. In some places, raccoon removal requires rather specific methods, with permit and license acquisition beforehand too.
There are a few different ways that you could look at the removal of rogue raccoons from your property. You could attempt to do the job yourself, using a variety of methods. Repellents rarely work and are likely to leave you twice as frustrated as when you first started, and with a lot more damage to repair too.
You could try to trap the animal yourself, using either live cage traps or kill traps. Of course, using the latter — kill traps — comes with a brand new set of problems, including legalities surrounding what kind of traps you use, how you kill the animal if the trap doesn't do the job, and also timing. You might need a permit. You might not be legally permitted to release the animal you're trying to remove from your property humanely.
One of the best methods of wildlife removal, including raccoons, is to employ the assistance of a wildlife rehabilitator. Alongside having a greater knowledge and understanding of how the laws work (in your specific state/area) regarding wildlife removal and release, they will also have all of the right tools for the job. In some instances, such as when a raccoon gets stuck in a chimney, the only way to then remove the animal is to use something like a snare pole. This isn't something that you'll have just lying around in the shed, and it's also a tool that requires a certain amount of knowledge before you can attempt to use it.
As well as having the right knowledge and tools for the job, wildlife rehabilitators will often have many years of experience behind them, giving them the upper hand when it comes to hunting out those secret hiding hotspots that you probably don't know about yet, within your home. They'll know which weird and wonderful food items are known to be the best bait (with raccoons, it's actually very simple — marshmallows), and they'll also know which are the best repellents to buy and which ones are just going to be a total waste of your time. The reason they know this stuff is because they have been doing the job for sometime. They've already tried all of the repellents you could think to buy on the internet, and most of the time, to no avail.
A quote from a wildlife rehabilitator to remove a solo raccoon will usually be somewhere in the region of a couple of hundred dollars, providing there isn't a vast amount of damage to repair. This might sound like a lot of money, but you must take into consideration everything that YOU will need to ensure the job is done safely, not just for you and the animal involved, but also for the other people who spend any length of time in that building.
Raccoon feces and urine is known to carry just as many dangerous diseases as the animal itself can and, in some cases, even more. You will need rather specific safety equipment to ensure you are not putting yourself in the direct line of disease fire, and this will include eye protection, breathing masks, coveralls or body suits, and even protectors for your shoes. That's on top of the high-strength cleaning equipment and products you'll need; the buckets, sponges and brushes that you'll need to burn or throw away once your done; and garbage bags, fire pit, etc. You might need to repair some stuff — chewed drywall or drywall that you have had to cut out of your home in order to reach the animal or nest of animals. This will add to your at-home raccoon removal efforts, as will any repellents, traps, or materials you'll need to get rid of the animal and then make sure it stays out.
In the majority of cases, hiring a wildlife rehabilitator to come and remove the animal is usually the cheapest approach, and some will also offer cleanup and repair additional extras too. Again, letting the professionals do their thing is usually cheaper than having to buy everything you need to do the job yourself safely and effectively.
If you are faced with a rogue raccoon on your property and you want to get rid of it sit down and weigh up the cost of everything you would need to buy, and then get a few quotes from local wildlife rehabilitators. The DIY option isn't always the cheapest option, and it usually only proves to be the cheapest option when everything goes according to plan. You can guess how often that happens … (Not very.)
For more 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 job blog - learn from great examples of raccoon jobs I've done.
Should I 'Save' a Wild Baby Raccoon?
Baby Raccoons: What to Look For
Raccoon Damage & Insurance
Raccoon Eviction Fluid: The ONLY Raccoon Repellent That Works
Pest Control & Raccoons: Can They Handle It?