Experts Share The Best Response To A Raccoon Attack, And It’s Not What We Suspected

From a distance, raccoons look like the cutest little creatures. But that assessment might change pretty quickly if you ever find yourself up close and personal with one. They can be pretty vicious and dangerous sometimes. So, it’s important to know how to deal with a potential attack, and don’t worry: we’ve got you covered. If you ever find yourself in one of these scenarios, you’ll know exaclty what you need to do.

1. Raccoon in the attic

Picture this: you’re relaxing at home when a strange noise suddenly emerges from your attic. What could it be? Fingers crossed it isn’t a ghost or something! Yet after opening the latch, you start to wish that it really had been a ghoul. A raccoon has found its way inside through the roof vent. Now, you could try to catch the animal yourself, but there is a better solution...

Call for help

Yep, you might want to call animal control in this instance. The raccoon could be harboring babies up there, and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a mother’s attack: it’ll get ugly real fast! As chronicled on YouTube, a woman living in Toronto, Canada, had to do this when she found a den in her attic. Happily, Peter Nolan and Brad Gates from AAA Gates’ Wildlife Control were on hand to help. And after a tense encounter, they managed to safely remove the animal and her young.

Covering gaps

So, how could this scenario have been avoided? Simple: cover up any gaps that you might have on the roof that lead to the attic. For instance, if it’s a vent or something similar, invest in a sheet of metal mesh and secure it to the opening. Don’t give raccoons the opportunity to accept an unwitting invitation into your house, folks!

2. Too close for comfort

You’re outside in the evening minding your business when a raccoon appears. Instead of running off, though, it continues to get closer to you. What’s the deal? You could attempt to shoo it away with a nearby object if it doesn’t relent. Surely that should work?

Get big!

If the raccoon shows no signs of stopping, though, the following approach should get the job done. Pest control specialist Lisa Jo Lupo advised that you need to puff your chest out and broaden your stance. In other words, get big! Don’t be afraid to raise your voice, either; you want to appear as intimidating as possible. As an alternative, you could also throw water in its direction, too.

Mind your surroundings

By doing that, you give yourself the best chance of scaring the raccoon off. But how can you swerve these encounters in the future? Well, try to be mindful of your surroundings at night. If an outdoor area is known to harbor aggressive raccoons, keep your distance. Or at the very least, don’t do anything that’ll disturb or agitate them.

3. Looking for food

Things can get even more intense when raccoons start to stalk the outside of your house. It’s a scenario that lots of people have faced over the years: the critters are on the hunt for food and believe your property is their best bet. You might try to scare them off with a broom, or use the water trick we mentioned earlier, but here’s a better idea.

Take action

Yes, as per the Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control’s website, you need to move potential food sources away from the garden. So, try not to plant any produce in the soil that’ll draw raccoons in. The animal specialists also state that you could shield your outside bins to make it harder for the creatures to get into them. If there’s nothing to pick at, they should leave you alone.

The wrong idea

And here’s the thing: this is an issue that can be easily avoided. By leaving food outside your property, purposefully or not, raccoons can get the wrong idea. Suddenly, they’ll start to associate you with feeding time, and that can cause the animals to become more vicious. We don’t like the idea of facing down a hungry raccoon in the dark!

4. An open window

How about a raccoon that’s found its way into your bedroom? Imagine it: the critter manages to climb up a tree branch and jump through your open window. You could be tempted to lure it back outside with a helping of peanut butter. Or, you may fancy taking a more aggressive approach, going on the attack with furniture in hand.

Walk away

But according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, there’s a safer option. With the raccoon still in your bedroom, shut the door and walk away for a spell. Leave the animal alone so it can navigate an exit through the open window in peace. That way, you never have to touch it and can subsequently avoid contracting any harmful germs. Beats getting into a confrontation, right?

Get trimming!

If the raccoon doesn’t leave in a reasonable timeframe, though, you should contact animal control. As for how this problem can be swerved, Lupo advises to cut any tree branches that are close to your windows. Ivy is pretty climbable for the critters as well, so you might want to consider cutting that away, too. Oh, and maybe invest in a screen for each window. That’ll keep animals out!

5. The pet door

When it comes to intruding raccoons, pet doors can pose a problem too. It’s a scenario with plenty of real-life examples. For instance, as per website The Spruce, in February 2022 a raccoon in Limestone, Tennessee, crept through one such opening and went on to stay in the house for an entire day! The residents just couldn’t get rid of it.

Electronic option

Anyway, if raccoons continue to come inside via your pet door, here’s what you should do. Lupo advised that you’ve got to lock it up during the evenings. But if that can’t be done because of your animals, it might be an idea to invest in a door that only opens electronically via their collars. That’ll stop those pesky uninvited guests from invading the house!

The attraction?

Why are raccoons so drawn to pet doors, though? Well, if you keep your animals’ water and food bowls close to the opening, that can inadvertently attract them into the house. Ideally, all of that stuff should be as far away from the door as possible. It’s an easy mistake to make, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it’s happened to you.

6. Daytime encounter

How’s this for an unnerving scenario? You’re out and about during the daytime, enjoying the surroundings. Then, in the corner of your eye, something appears. It can’t be, can it? Yep, it’s a raccoon. You may feel the need to get closer to scare it off, but that’s a very bad idea!

“Something isn’t right”

Instead, it’s highly advised that you walk away from the raccoon: it really is that simple. As Jarrod Yasenchok of Jarrod’s Pest Control Solutions told the WTVM news station in December 2022, “With raccoons, they’re nocturnal. So if you see them during the daytime, something isn’t right. They can have rabies.” And you don’t want to run the risk of catching that via an attack.

Get your phone out

After walking away, it also might be a good idea to contact animal control about what you’ve seen. Why’s that, then? Well, other people could find themselves at risk by approaching the raccoon, unaware that it’s probably sick. Plus, the situation can be made even more hazardous if the animal has babies nearby: they’ll likely have rabies, too. Play it safe and give the proper authorities a call.

7. Compost issues

Anyway, let’s head back to the garden for the next scenario. Much to your annoyance, a raccoon has started to get comfortable around your compost bin: it keeps jumping in and out of the pile you’ve built up. You could just empty the bin and put it away. After all, you don’t want to go through the drama that a homeowner in Langford, Canada, experienced in 2020 when a small raccoon got trapped in theirs, as described by local newspaper the Goldstream Gazette!

“Raccoon-proof” bins

But there’s a simpler solution to the issue: when sorting through the waste to dump in your compost bin, put food to one side. You see, that stuff should only be placed inside “raccoon-proof” bins, or closed-off containers. Once it’s out of the original compost pile, the animals should lose interest and move away from that spot in your garden.

What a mess!

So yes, you’ve probably gathered how this particular problem could’ve been avoided: don’t leave food waste in the compost! It’ll draw raccoons, and a host of other pesky animals, into the yard. And they won’t just eat what you’ve dumped into the pile, either. The critters aren’t shy in leaving a mess behind, using your bin as a bathroom. Yuck!

8. Pet attacks

You could have more worries if you’ve got a dog or cat at home. It’s a scenario that all pet owners dread: your beloved animals are coming under attack by an aggressive raccoon when they leave the house at night. What can you do? Could you scare the critter off somehow? Well, here are some ideas to ponder...

Protect your furry friends

Lupo suggests that you should try to stop letting your pets out at night. But if they absolutely can’t stay in the house once the Sun goes down, invest in a comfy crate or den that they can relax in outside. The raccoon won’t be able to get to your animals then, so hopefully it’ll scurry off into the darkness. Say goodbye to those attacks!

Why do raccoons attack?

But why do raccoons get violent with our pets? According to Lupo, it’s all about intimidation. The critters jump at cats and dogs when they feel under threat. And that can come at a great cost to those animals. To give you an example, as per NBC a pooch in Henrico, Virginia, had to be placed in quarantine after a rabies-fueled raccoon attacked in January 2023.

9. BBQ aftermath

This next scenario might be all too familiar for folks who love cooking outside in the summer! Yes, after you’ve enjoyed a barbecue in your yard, a raccoon then takes a keen interest in the grill. You could attempt to shoo it off with water, but the following solution should nip the issue in the bud.

Get scrubbing!

Quite simply, you’ve got to scrub your barbecue down as soon as you’re done using it. That means wiping up all the grease and burnt fat left behind on the grill. It isn’t the nicest of jobs, yet it beats dealing with a hungry raccoon that’s drawn to the smell come night-time. With no mess to feast on, it’ll leave the cooking equipment alone.

They won’t say no...

On that note, you’ve no doubt guessed it. This problem can be averted by leaving a clean barbecue in the yard. Never leave a dirty grill outside, as raccoons won’t need a second invitation to chow down on the leftovers. The charred, greasy remnants caked into the equipment certainly aren’t appetizing to us humans, but the same can’t be said for them!

10. Home sweet home

In this scenario, you’re not quite sure why the critter has taken a liking to the outside of the property. But its continued presence makes stepping out really hazardous once the Sun goes down. What can you do here? You can’t just throw in the towel and give up!

Bright lights

Well, the Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control website offered up an idea. The animal specialists suggest that you should invest in motion-sensor lighting outside the house. Now, that might seem like an extreme measure at first, but raccoons absolutely hate bright lights. The constant flashing at night will likely drive them away for good. And that’s not the only solution to the problem.

Home-made repellents

If you don’t want to splash the cash on new lighting, you could create a simple repellent in your kitchen. Just mix up some cayenne pepper, garlic, and water and you’ll be set! Yep, raccoons despise those scents, plus a bunch of other spices. We’re talking black pepper, cinnamon — that kind of stuff. Oh, and a sprinkling of hot sauce around certain parts of your yard will get the job done, too.