Introduction: How to Remove a Raccoon From Your Attic - the Humane Way

Picture of How to Remove a Raccoon From Your Attic - the Humane Way

Finding out a raccoon has made a home in your attic can be a frustrating experience.  You cannot leave the raccoon up there and hope it makes its way out eventually.  Raccoons are clever and will hunker down and stay until evicted.  In the meantime, they will make a mess of your attic, tearing up insulation and urinating everywhere.  Fortunately it is possible to get rid of one yourself in a humane fashion.  Here is how you do so...

Step 1: Supplies Needed

Picture of Supplies Needed

Here are the supplies you will need to remove a raccoon:
Metal Cage / Animal Trap - found at most hardware stores
Spray foam
Pinecone
Peanut Butter
Wire - floral wire works great
Newspaper
Long sturdy pole - such as the end of a shovel

Bonus fun supplies:
Video camera that you can monitor remotely

Step 2:

Locate where the raccoon is getting into the attic.  You will need to seal off this area before you do anything else, otherwise your efforts to trap the animal will be unproductive.  

Look for any gaps in vents or soffits, particularly around the gutters and around attic fans or lights.  The hole they are getting in may be smaller than you think is possible.  Fill in any gaps with expanding spray foam to completely seal them off.

Step 3:

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Ready the trap:

Take the pinecone and coat thoroughly with peanut butter.

Next, cut off a piece of wire about 12-18 inches long.  Take the wire and wrap it around the pinecone a few times, getting it securely in the pinecone's grooves.  Take the loose ends of the wire and secure them to the metal cage.  Placement of the pinecone is very important.  Attach the pinecone towards the middle-to-back of the cage, hanging from the top.  Do not put it directly against the side or else the raccoon will be able to reach it from outside the cage.  You need to incentivize them to enter the cage.  The pinecone must also be far enough back that the raccoon has to enter the cage far enough to set off the pressure sensor, which will spring the cage's door shut behind them.

A pinecone is recommended because it can be tightly secured inside the cage.  Loose food is easy for a raccoon to grab and run with, and they will not stay inside the trap long enough for the trap's door to close.

Step 4:

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Take the cage into the attic and position in a clear area away from wires or other objects.  Spread out newspapers underneath the cage.  You want to do this because once the raccoon is trapped, they will make a mess, especially if trapped for a few hours.  Newspapers give you an easy way to clean up urine and feces that go through the cage.

Step 5:

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Leave the cage in the attic and wait.  Now that the raccoon is trapped in there with no way out, they will eventually make their way over to the cage.  It might take a couple of hours, or a couple of days for them to decide to check it out.  The raccoon should eventually enter the cage, and once it does it will set off the pressure sensor and the door will spring closed behind it, trapping it inside.

If you have a remote viewing camera, put it in the attic where you can keep an eye on the cage without having to enter the attic yourself.  The more you go into the attic, the longer it will take the raccoon to work up the courage to approach the cage.  One note, if you are not using a camera to monitor the cage, be sure to check on it a couple of times a day.  You don’t want the raccoon to be trapped in the cage for too long, as it could start to get dehydrated or start injuring itself trying to get out.  You don’t want the animal to suffer.

Step 6:

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Success, the raccoon has been caught in the cage!  Now that you have the raccoon trapped, it is important to use caution when approaching the cage.  Raccoons look very cute, however they can be vicious (especially when trapped and threatened) and will try to rip your face apart.  Do not get too close to the cage. 

Use a long pole, such as a shovel end or a boat hook, to lift up the cage.  This keeps a safe distance between your body and the raccoon.

Step 7:

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The final step is to transport the raccoon far away from your house.  Aim to go 10+ miles away.  Release the animal in a wooded, non-urban area away from traffic if possible.  Be mindful of any local laws regarding trapping, transporting and releasing wildlife.  Raccoons are very smart, and if you do not release it far enough away from your house, it can and will try to make its way back – particularly if it had a nest or babies.

Comments

DavidQ19 (author)2016-03-20

If you have raccoons in the attic, you may want to contact a professional animal trapper. http://www.animalremoval.com

KarenZ11 (author)2016-01-31

So I've already got 4 raccoons out of my attic by trapping them and relocating to a wooded area not by me. But, I have at least 2 more b/c I hear them fighting viciously and have not been able to cover hole in roof b/c not sure if their all out. We have a low ceiling attic that is dark and can not stand up in but goes the length of house. They r making me crazy and of course I want to b humane about it, but they gotta go. A couple we trapped already were extremely upset to say the least. This is the first year for this and have lived here a long time. They have already put a hole in our roof and ruined our soffit. Animal control was no help and trying to do this w/o spending a lot of money since repairs already need to b made. Any other suggestions, these last ones are onto the trap. Any help would b appreciated.

davidn999 (author)2015-04-19

That was the great and commendable idea on how to capture raccoons. But the worst part is, i don't have enough time to spare it for these attempts. I have more than 5 raccoons and 2 skunks inside and on my garden, i have called a professional animal wildlife control Haweye-The Bird & Animal Control Specialist from mississauga to remove these notorious creature off away from my house. ope for the best

JamesL22 (author)2015-04-08

I like how the method entails giving bait to the raccoon. It would seem like most pests can be removed humanely if people are educated on how to do it. Also, it is probably a good thing that there are services out there that can help with things like that. http://www.vawildliferemoval.com/services/raccoon-removal/

walrusking13 (author)2013-08-08

True final step check for rabies if no rabies kill and eat :)(

AndyGadget (author)2013-06-05

 
I logged on to Instructables last night and saw this just after I'd spent half an hour getting a mole out of a piano. Maybe I should write an Instructable about that.  

(The cat brought the mole in unharmed as a 'present' for us and let it go.  I've found out that moles can be quite fast when they want to be, but (thankfully) can't climb well.  No raccoons in the UK so I think I'm safe from your problem #;¬)

foobear (author)AndyGadget2013-06-09

A mole in a piano. that is so funny!

foobear (author)2013-06-09

Congrats on catching the little rascal! We have a little family of them that feast on our compost pile regularly. Luckily they are not in the house! by the way, they will do *ANYTHING* for a marshmallow. Maybe some marshmallow creme smeared on a pine cone would work as well.

Cowboy_fromHell (author)2013-06-05

What if I have like 7 of them up there?
But seriously, cool post!

Johenix (author)Cowboy_fromHell2013-06-05

Ma Coon and the six little bandits?

lolll

kretzlord (author)2013-06-04

one suggestion, wrap pinecone then smear the peanut butter on it

nunyacinco (author)kretzlord2013-06-04

Great idea - keeps the fingers much cleaner!

Johenix (author)2013-06-04

My self, I prefer the chemical method of moth balls and an amonia soaked rag in a non aluminum pan. (Amonia will eat through aluminum.) They can't stand the smelland leave. It also works on skunks under the house.

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