What conditions bring raccoons to your property?

Raccoons are attracted to the homeowner properties by the presence of dependable food sources, water, and shelter.

Since raccoons are omnivores and eat almost any plant or animal-based food, reducing the amount of available food is probably the most important preventive measure to limiting the prevalence of the pest mammal. Typical food sources include garbage, fallen fruit from fruit trees, accessible bird feeders, and leftover pet foods. Since raccoons also eat mice and bird eggs, homeowners should work to limit conditions favorable for rodents and birds to occupy lawns or gardens.

Woodland environments are most commonly the natural habitats for raccoons, where there are numerous den sites the mammal prefers to inhabit, such as tree cavities and abandoned burrows of larger rodents and other animals. In suburban and urban environments, raccoons find shelter mimicking their natural shelter sites, like attics, chimneys, crawl spaces, and areas under decks. Raccoons enjoy the feeling of being “hidden away”, safe and sound, and thus more protected. Limiting access points to these attractive areas lessens the likelihood of these spaces as suitable homes and prevents raccoons from getting inside and nesting or occupying these locations.

Sources of water may be the most difficult requirement to control, but some simple things to do are remove or frequently empty any container that holds water, make sure rainwater does not “puddle” on the property, and downspout water into areas that are exposed to the drying effects of the sun.