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Defence against raccoons

How can I protect myself from damage caused by raccoons?

Is there a weird scratching sound coming from the chimney, strange holes in the lawn or have your waste bins been tipped over? If these things have been happening around you, then you most likely have a raccoon living on your property. It is probably feeling rather comfortable living with you and will have made itself at home. You don't need to indulge the little bear, for you are already offering him everything he needs. Alongside a sufficient supply of food, he has a dry roof over his head and can raise his young in safety or sleep throughout the day. Many people find it hard to believe at first that the noises they hear or damage happening to the roof insulation could be caused by a raccoon.

A few facts about the behaviour and way of life for raccoons can be found here. Only those who are familiar with the little bear can successfully keep it away! We also present to you the various protective measures we have available for making your property secure from raccoons!

Problems with raccoons

The spread of raccoons seems to be unstoppable. Some animal lovers are delighted by this development and are thrilled when they catch sight of one of these little creatures in the wild. For others though, raccoons are a real plague. When raccoons set up a home in chimneys or between the floors of the house, they start pulling apart any building materials they can touch, leaving damage that is expensive to repair. Tipped-over waste bins, churned grass or fish ponds that have been emptied of all the fish. These are some of the great annoyances that occur.

Residents are also increasingly concerned about possible diseases that the animals may be carrying. These concerns are not entirely unfounded. Only a few raccoons are infected with the much-feared rabies, but many of them are carrying the problematic raccoon roundworm. This roundworm can lead to severe illness in humans. Fortunately, cases of the roundworms being transferred to humans are exceptionally rare! Despite this, a cautious approach should be taken. Raccoons are clean animals and like to use elevated areas as a toilet, such as stacked firewood or in the attic. It is these latrines that are the source of danger, as roundworm eggs are found in the faeces. Children and pets in particular should be kept away from these sources of infection to avoid them getting ill.

Caution:
Fresh faeces is generally safe. However, after about 2 weeks the roundworm eggs will become highly infectious. Should you come across a raccoon latrine, single-use cleaning gloves, single-use cloths and hot soapy water must be used (unfortunately, disinfectants have no effect on the roundworm eggs). Dispose of the faeces and the cleaning materials in a plastic waste bag and seal it.

There's one thing that does it for most people: The massive amount of noise that is made during the night. Loud rumbling, scratching and scrabbling noises. Most people will only decide to start taking action against the initially cute raccoons once they have gone night after night without a wink of sleep.

How can I be certain that my problem is due to raccoons?

Before taking the appropriate measures for deterring raccoons, you should first make certain that it is indeed a raccoon that is making trouble rather than mice, rats or martens.

The following are indicators of a raccoon:

  • Typical damage appears in the space between floors, in attics and in hutches. The little bears will put together a comfy place to sleep by tearing apart dry wall, insulating materials, electrical wiring and old boxes using their sharp teeth and powerful claws.
  • Raccoons get into buildings by deftly using their front paws to move loose roof tiles and increase the size of any small openings. Even closed skylights, sheetrock or lead lining in chimneys do not present a problem to raccoons. Look out for the typical bite and scratch marks.
  • Noise disturbances generally occur at dusk and dawn. Scratching and scrambling noises, low rumbling, but also yowling and squeaking noises are typical of raccoons. These noises can get a little louder throughout the day during the breeding season from April to July.
  • Toppled plant pots, ripped open bin bags or holes in the lawn where they have been looking for earthworms are indicators of raccoon activity in the garden. Raccoons will happily help you to pick fruit from the trees. During the night they help themselves to plums, cherries and mirabelles. Small animals such as chicks, fish and rabbits are also not safe from these predators.
  • Raccoons will generally use the same place for their toilet activities, preferring elevated areas such as tree stumps, stone piles or attics. Their faeces resembles that of a small dog, but with a less unpleasant smell.

This distinctive paw prints of the raccoon will also be easy to recognise. This paw print looks like the hand of a small child, but with claws visible on each of the fingers.

Tip:
putting some sand down around the house and adjacent buildings and trees can help make raccoon tracks easier to see. If the weather is dry and there is no wind, then flour or sawdust will also work. In the winter, you can look out for raccoon trails in the snow to see where they are going.

How do I protect myself from raccoons?

To avoid coming into contact with raccoons in the first place, you should make your property as unattractive for the little furry creatures as possible. In the first instance, this means not providing the raccoons with a source of food or shelter.

To limit the sources of food, observe the following points:

  • Only put big bags out on collection day.
  • Do not dispose of any leftover food on the compost heap or use a plastic composter that can be securely closed.
  • Waste bins should be kept somewhere inaccessible. Keep bins secured with a strap and place them at least half a metre away from walls, fences and other things they could climb on.
  • Do not leave any pet food or bird seed lying around in the garden.
  • Make sure to pick any fruits once they are ripe and do not leave any fallen fruit lying on the ground.

You should close up any access points to your building to prevent the raccoon from finding shelter there.

  • Loose roof tiles and broken windows can be easily closed off using boards, metal sheets or mesh wire fencing. Be aware that raccoons are powerful animals and are adept at using their front paws to get into your house. They will try all the roof tiles looking for one which is loose and then move it aside. They will even have a go at small openings with all their might to make the opening bigger and gain entry.
  • Cut back any adjacent trees and hedges to be at least 1 m away from the building. Any wall climbing plants should ideally be completely removed.
  • Drains pipes are also popular ways to climb to up to the gutters. Once the raccoon has reached the gutter they push up on the roof tiles or covering panels and gain access. This route of entry can only be effectively sealed off using an electric fence. (See electric fences for defence against raccoons) please link
  • Raccoons also like to make use of chimneys as a way of getting in or even to use as somewhere to sleep. Cover the chimney using a metal grate.

If you've already received a visit from a raccoon, you must ensure that it is no longer in the house and has not left behind any babies before closing off its access. Take particular care to check thoroughly during the breeding season from April to July. There's nothing worse than shutting out the mother, leaving her young to painfully starve to death. To scare the animals from the house, go into the roof space and make some noise. It is also worth installing an ultrasound repeller. You will find out during the night if there are still any raccoons present. From dusk until dawn, the animals will wander up and down their territory looking for food. You should therefore undertake work to secure your house during this time.

If there is already a raccoon in your building, then it will be much more difficult to keep it out. The raccoon knows that your building is a comfortable place to be and will do everything it can to get back inside, even when the original points of entry have been closed off. Its sharp teeth and powerful claws may well be used to cause even more damage than before! If this is the case, then you will need to resort to additional protective measures!

How to get rid of the raccoon

Two worthwhile methods are recommended by experts for getting rid of a raccoon: The animals can be either scared away or blocked out.

Repellers

To scare the raccoon out of the building, you can use a repeller. Repellers make use of various methods intended to make the raccoon feel less comfortable in its hiding place. This can be done by using strong-smelling materials spread around the raccoon's hiding place, for example. Raccoons are even more sensitive to noises. Creating noise is therefore highly effective at scaring the animals away. Setting up a radio or irregular thumping around on the roof will disturb the animals and may look for a new place to sleep. Experiments have shown that these methods tend to keep the animals away for a short period of time and can, over time, get used to radios or odour deterrents like urinal cakes, dog hairs or ammonia.

The use of ultrasound repellers is a more reliable option! These emit constantly changing ultrasound frequencies that have a deterrent effect on the animals. It takes significantly longer for the animals to get used to them, if at all, and the raccoon will have usually long since sought out a new hiding place before then.

Unfortunately, we again and again see ultrasound repellers on the market that fail to live up to their promises. Scientific investigations have determined that only devices with a sound intensity above 100 db and a frequency between 20 and 40 kHz makes for effective defence against raccoons. The repellers from weidezaun.info have an intensity up to 120 db and output an ultrasound frequency up to 24 kHz. This is perceived by the animals as highly unpleasant and reliably scares them off. (Articles in our shop.: 45200, 45341, 45343)

Please note that these short ultrasound frequencies are only effective when deployed in the open air, e.g. on a open roof top or in the garden. Walls and other building materials block the ultrasound signals. Even thin objects like boxes and such can dampen the sound waves. The area that is to be covered by the ultrasound should therefore be tidy and as uncluttered as possible. To secure a larger area, several devices can be set up at the same time.

Shutting out

On the whole, shutting out a raccoon is very difficult if they have already got into the building. It's not only the raccoon who was already in your house who will try everything to get back in. The scent marks they leave behind will attract other raccoons who will attempt to get in via any means possible. Experts are therefore agreed that the only way to permanently keep raccoons away is to use an electric fence! Ultrasound repellers have also proven to be useful in scaring away raccoons (see above).

You can find out how to best install an electric fence for defending against raccoons under the info point Anti-raccoon fence.

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