How to Scare Raccoons at Night? (4 Effective Ways)

how to scare away raccoons at night

Are raccoons wreaking havoc in your backyard or garden every night?

Sure! They look cute with their unique mask-like facial markings, but they can become a nuisance if they enter your home. Not only do they leave a mess behind, but they also rummage through trash cans and even damage property.

Even worse, these mischievous creatures are hard to exterminate, especially if they find food, shelter, and water in your home.

But worry not!

This guide offers you several effective strategies to scare these pesky invaders away and reclaim your territory. But first, let’s learn a little about these animals.

How to Scare Raccoons at Night (4 Effective Ways)pin1

Brief Overview About Racoons

Raccoons are arguably the most tenacious, clever, and resourceful creatures. Like humans, these suburban pests are curious and have a knack for problem-solving. With their dexterous paws, they can explore and manipulate various objects with human-like coordination.

But wait, there’s more:

These characters exhibit a high level of adaptability. Most raccoons have successfully adapted to living in urban and suburban areas. It’s no surprise to see them navigating through neighborhoods or exploiting garbage cans.

On top of that, there are nocturnal. At night, their keen eyesight and strong sense of smell shine, allowing them to locate the nearest food sources and water with ease.

Besides that, raccoons are opportunistic omnivores. From fruits and vegetables to fish and leftover pet food, these creatures eat almost everything.

While raccoons might appear harmless, they can quickly become a problem for homeowners. Once they make their way into your homestead, raccoons can leave a trail of destruction, including:

  • Opening garbage cans and tossing out the trash
  • Eating fish from your fish pond or fountain
  • Emptying and destroying bird feeders
  • Leaving half-eaten fruits and vegetables
  • Damaging property by tearing through insulations or ductwork
  • Digging holes in your lawn

Raccoons are also social creatures and thrive in small family groups. If you see one raccoon on your property at night, rest assured several characters are lurking around.

Here’s something you didn’t know:

These nocturnal marauders are protected by law. You can’t just go trapping them without a license from your region’s Environment Conservation department. Because of this, it’s crucial to find effective ways to keep them away from your yard or garden.

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Potential Raccoon Entry Points

Raccoons are excellent climbers and super agile. As a result, they can access a variety of entry points in your home. Some of the most common points these creatures might exploit include:

  • Attics: Raccoons can access your roof by climbing a nearby tree, utility pole, or downspout. From there, they can squeeze into the attic via weak points in the roof structure, unsecured soffits, or gaps near vents.
  • Chimneys: Chimneys can also make excellent dens for raccoons, especially those with damaged caps or uncapped ones.
  • Roof Vents:  Raccoons can slip through roof vents and gain access to your home.
  • Crawl Spaces: These characters can take advantage of openings in foundations, damaged screens, or unsealed crawl space doors.

4 Effective Ways To Scare Raccoons Away at Night


Image Credit: wondermentphotography

1. Install a Motion-Activated Sprinkler

The motion-activated sprinkler has daytime and nighttime settings. Given the raccoon’s intelligent nature, where they can adapt to new habitats quickly, the sprinkler night setting ensures consistency, making it hard for the raccoons to avoid. The sprinkler is noisy, and it serves as a significant deterrent to the raccoons.

2. Use Smell Deterrents

Another effective way to keep raccoons away from your property is to use deterrents. More specifically smell based deterrents, including:

  • Hot Pepper-The raccoon’s keen sense of smell makes it super sensitive to certain scents like hot pepper. You can sprinkle some crushed hot peppers or spray hot pepper solution along common raccoon routes or entry points. The smell will irritate the raccoon’s nose, sending it back where it came from. Ensure you reapply the mixture twice a week to maintain its effectiveness.
  • Garlic and Onions:  Members of the onion family like garlic, chives, and leeks have an irritating smell. As a result, they make good raccoon repellents. To increase the potency of the ingredients mix them with hot pepper.
  • Peppermint Oil: Raccoons hate the smell of paper mint oil. So, spray a solution of peppermint around your vegetable garden.
  • Ammonia Solution: You can soak a cloth in ammonia and place it in areas where raccoons frequent. The smell of ammonia irritates these animals, and they will flee from your property.
  • Epsom Salt: Epson salt can deter raccoons successfully while serving as fertilizer for your vegetables. Just scatter the Epsom salt around your vegetable garden. You can also spread some in the garbage cans and food bins at your homes.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar has a strong sour scent that can linger around for a long time. Prepare a solution of vinegar and water and spray it on raccoons’ entry points, garbage cans, and yards to keep the pests away. Alternatively, you can soak cotton balls in vinegar and place them strategically in areas where raccoons like to roam. The smell will deter them from accessing your property.

3. Use Predator Urine

Alternatively, you can use urine from raccoon predators such as coyotes and wolves. Once the raccoon gets a whiff of the predator’s urine, it will stay away from your garden, chicken coop, or trash cans. The smell of the urine communicates the presence of a predator, which translates to danger.

How To Effectively Use Predator Urine to Scare the Raccoons?

  • Hang the plastic urine dispenser bottle on a tree near the area you want to safeguard.
  • Reapply the urine frequently to maintain the fresh odor that repels the raccoons.
  • Pair the urine with other deterrents, such as electric fences.

4. Use Traps to Catch Raccoons at Night

Raccoons are usually more active at night. So the best way to capture them is to set numerous traps in prime areas where raccoons mostly visit, like the area under decks, attics, or basements.

Traps are more humane because they don’t cause harm to the raccoons. To trap the raccoons, use baits that raccoons like, such as peanut butter, bacon, cat food, fish, bird seeds, and fresh fruits.

Check the trap frequently to see if a raccoon has been trapped. If so, move the trap to a safe location, without direct sunlight. But remember to wear gloves because these creatures can expose you to pathogens, like bacteria and viruses.

But before setting up check your local laws and regulations. In some regions like US and Canada, it’s illegal to trap raccoons unless you have a license.

So, consult a wildlife control professional to learn how to get a certificate and the most effective raccoon removal methods. The expert will also help relocate the raccoon to a safe habitat far from humans.

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Tips to Prevent Raccoon Infestation

1. Remove Food and Water Sources

If you often leave pet food outside for stray cats or dogs, it might be the culprit behind your nightly raccoon visits. Once raccoons learn there is food somewhere, they will frequent that place.

To prevent this, always keep food and water sources covered. Alternatively, you can move the food indoors but seal them into airtight plastic containers, as raccoons can figure a way into your house.

2. Seal your Trash Cans

Raccoons can feed on food in trash cans. Therefore, keep your garbage bins sealed with a bungee cord, in a garage, or behind closed doors. If you have the bin outside, sprinkle some animal repellant around the object. Also, spray liquid animal replants onto the trash cans or trash bags.

3. Dismantle Raccoons Nesting Areas

By destroying the raccoon’s nesting areas, you can eradicate the raccoons as you will stop the littering process. Raccoons nest in latrines, chimneys, sheds, attics, or crawlspaces. Ensure you regularly clean these areas to clear any nests raccoons could make. It helps to locate possible entry points to these locations and seal them up too.

4. Install an Electric Fence

Building an electric fence along the garden perimeter can protect your fruits and vegetables from raccoon damage. If a raccoon tries to touch the fence, it will get zapped with a jolt of electricity.

However, these animals are clever and they might dig below the fence. So, ensure the fence is buried 3ft in the ground to deter the raccoons from digging.

5. Cover the Chimney

You can deter raccoons from entering your home by covering the chimney with a chimney lid or cap. The lid will ensure predators such as rats, birds, raccoons, and squirrels don’t access your house. And if the cap is damaged, consider repairing it.

Diseases and Pests that Associated with Raccoons


Image Credit: photography_sam.huber

Raccoons are suitable carriers of diseases and pests that are fatal to humans and other domestic animals. Below, we’ve highlighted a few:

1. Rabies

Rabies is one of the deadliest viral diseases. It’s usually transmitted through infected mammals’ saliva.

Since raccoon act as rabies reservoirs, coming in direct contact with their body fluids and feces can expose you to this fatal disease.

According to the CDC, only one person has ever died from rabies caused by raccoons. Nevertheless, if you get bitten by a rabid raccoon, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical assistance.

2. Distemper Virus

The distemper virus is among the leading causes of raccoon deaths. The distemper virus is contagious and can spread through infected raccoon feces, saliva, blood, or urine. While the virus cannot affect humans, we can’t say the same for your dogs or cats.

3. Salmonella

Raccoons infected with salmonella can transmit this bacterium to you. That’s if you accidentally touch their body fluids and waste. Once infected with salmonella, you can develop a high fever and vomit or diarrhea. Luckily, the condition is easy to treat.

4. Roundworms

Raccoon droppings can contain roundworm eggs, which can get ingested by pets and humans accidentally.

5. Ticks

Wild animals such as deer, raccoons, birds, squirrels, and lizards can carry ticks that spread to animals on the homestead, posing a health risk to them.

6. Fleas

Raccoons are usually infested with fleas, which can spread to your cat and other pets in your homestead.


Raccoons are clever, resilient, and persistent animals, which makes it hard to get rid of them. However, you can scare and keep these mischievous characters from your garden, lawn, or attics with the help of these effective strategies.

But if they continue to be a nuisance, seek professional wildlife control help. Wildlife experts will provide your advice on appropriate preventive measures to ensure the safety of both parties.

That marks the end of our piece. In case of any queries, tell us in the comment section.

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