5 Scents That Attract Raccoons to Your Yard, Experts Say
You'll be welcoming them in with these aromas.
Raccoons might look cute from a distance, but they can pass harmful diseases onto humans, so it's best to keep them out of your yard and home. However, as Brad Woods, district manager at Trutech Wildlife Services, notes, raccoons are opportunistic feeders and have adapted to live near people—and they happen to have an excellent sense of smell. To keep yourself safe from these critters, you'll want to be aware of the scents that attract raccoons to your yard. Keep reading to hear more from Woods and other pest experts about how you can prevent raccoons from getting in.
Garbage is one of the biggest attractions for pests, and raccoons are no different. "The scent of garbage can lure them in from a distance," Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal, tells Best Life.
"If you want to stop them from hanging around your house altogether, you need to have them rule out your property as a potential shelter and [food] source," says Meg Pearson, training manager at Critter Control.
Therefore, use a tightly fitted lid on any trash cans. If that doesn't work, you can bungee the cans shut to further prevent invasion. Also, it's important to make sure any leftover food scraps are sealed and contained or picked up right away.
Fresh fruit and veggies
Raccoons are omnivorous, so they'll eat anything that's easily accessible. "They eat all types of fruits, berries, nuts, acorns, corn, and other types of grain," says Pearson. Oranges, cherries, plums, apples, or bananas are especially pungent and attractive to raccoons, she notes.
Clayton suggests using a strong and secure fence around your fruit or vegetable gardens, especially when the produce ripens.
Woods says that a raccoon's regular meals depend largely on where they live. For those in residential areas, unattended pet food is a big draw, as it contains ingredients like grains and corn, which are staples in a raccoon's diet that they can sniff out.
"Remove any pet food during the overnight hours," suggests Pearson. You can also use a raccoon-proof pet feeder, but it's best to keep the pet food inside.
Similar to pet food, bird feeders contain an abundance of seeds and nuts that raccoons can smell.
"Raccoons are nocturnal and most likely to raid bird feeders during the night," says Clayton. Woods adds that simply putting them up high isn't enough of a deterrent since raccoons are excellent climbers. The best option is to remove bird feeders at the end of the day and return them in the morning.
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If you live on a farm or happen to own chickens, the scent of the eggs they lay can actually attract raccoons.
Pearson says you can try deterrents around the area where your chickens live or lay eggs, but be mindful that they might be hit or miss. "Try things like peppermint oil, spicy peppers, garlic, vinegar, ammonia…but, again, these likely will only work in the short term, if at all," she says.