Raccoon Traps – Why you shouldn’t attempt a DIY solution

Traps, when combined with habitat modification and exclusion, are an effective method to help control raccoons. However, trapping raccoons is normally not a job for homeowners. This is because:

  • Trapped raccoons may expose the homeowner to bites and scratches.
  • If previously exposed to traps, raccoons may become jittery when around traps, a condition known as trap shyness. The homeowner might not recognize trap shyness and may continue doing the same thing and not know why their traps are not working.
  • Trapping effectiveness depends on placing the trap in the right place, properly setting the trap and using attractive bait. Your pest management professional ensures that baits will be replaced and kept fresh, plus use his or her experience to properly position and set the traps.
  • The homeowner may not understand all there is to know about the raccoon’s habits and habitats, all of which are crucial to effectively and efficiently trapping the problem animal.
  • The homeowner may not know all of the legal requirements of trapping and humane treatment, and may not know how to avoid disease transmission.
  • The homeowner may not know the legality of placing traps. Is it legal to use traps in their local jurisdiction?
  • The homeowner gets a service agreement that is a warranted from their pest management professional.
  • Their pest management professional is experienced so their work will reduce the possibly of catching pets or other non-target animals.
  • The PMP will know what to do with an animal once it is trapped and the legal requirements for disposal.
  • The PMP will recognize whether the adult female raccoon has young and know the time of year when young will most likely be in an attic or crawl space nest.
  • The homeowner should let the experienced pest management professional do the necessary ladder work and not be exposed to the risk from falls and other accidents.
  • The homeowner should let the pest management professional clean up the mess caused by raccoon feces, urine and damage.

Homeowners who experience problems with raccoons often attempt to use traps to capture and remove the animal. Much of the time this results in:

  • Personal injury from setting or moving traps
  • Treating a raccoon inhumanely and causing it to die in the trap
  • Questions about what can legally be done with a trapped raccoon. Should it be released on site, relocated or killed?
  • Trapping a female raccoon with young, and the offspring dying without her care.

If raccoon problems arise, the use of traps by your pest management professional (PMP) will help reduce the occurrence of the above issues. So, what will your pest management professional do?

  • Provide information on the types of traps that can be used, how they work and the likelihood of each kind of trap’s success in controlling the problem raccoon(s).
  • Use the type of traps, baits and trap placement that reduce the capture of non-target animals such as pets and increase the chance of capturing raccoons.
  • Check traps daily or more often if required by local humane regulations.
  • Most homeowners find it very difficult to follow regulations regarding the movement and handling of trapped raccoons. For example, many states require humane euthanasia of trapped raccoons rather than release on site or relocation to another area. This requires access to procedures and equipment that is available to your pest management professional, but not the average homeowner.
  • Take the time to explain the trapping plan, plus any other information that is pertinent.
  • Be properly equipped, bonded and licensed to deal with the raccoon problem.
  • Explain the possible risks from the presence of raccoons and ensure you know about the precautions taken to avoid raccoon-associated diseases.
  • Provide experiences and outcomes of raccoon trapping and control problems that were similar to the issue you are facing.
  • Provide a service warranty and stand behind their promises.