Raccoons are only active at night and sleep during the day. If you see a raccoon during daylight hours, do not approach it, it may be sick. Raccoons can breed anytime from December to June, but most breed around February. The gestation period is 63-65 days.

Most young are born in April or May. Litter size is usually two to five babies. At about eight or ten weeks old, the young usually leave the den and follow the mother to a new location. Young are weaned at about 12 weeks and disperse in the fall or early winter; or they may stay with their mother until spring.

What to Do If You Have a Raccoon on Your Premises

  • Never feed raccoons!
  • Be sure to eliminate all food sources including pet food and birdseed.
  • Put trash out the day of pick-up instead of the night before. Use metal or heavy plastic trash containers. If needed, secure the lids by using a bungee cord, or rope. If possible, store trash in a garage or a shed.
  • Keep BBQ grills clean or stored in a secure place such as a garage or shed.
  • When you see a raccoon in the yard, turn on the lights and run outside yelling and waving your arms to scare them off. Caution: Do not corner a raccoon, thereby forcing them to defend themselves.
  • Remove overhanging tree branches to cut off easy access to your yard or roof. You can also place an 18-inch cylinder of sheet metal around the trunks of the trees at least three feet above the ground.
  • Place motion detector or lights on your property.

What to Do If You Have a Raccoon in Your Garden or Fish Pond

  • Protective netting is effective to protect your garden and fish pond.
  • Design the pond so that it is at least 2 1/2 feet deep so the fish can hide. A raccoon will not be able to catch fish in deep water. Also, it is a good idea to give the fish places to hide, such as rocks piled up in the bottom of the pond.

What to Do If You Have a Raccoon Coming Through Your Pet Door

  • Lock and secure the pet door at night. Once the raccoon realizes they can no longer access your pet door for food, they will not want to waste time and energy coming to your house.

What to Do If You Have a Raccoon in Your Attic

  • Place a radio on a talk station in the attic. You can rig up a spotlight and aim it in the area where the raccoons have their den. Additionally, you can throw rags soaked with an ammonia solution. See the animal repellent section on this web site for the ammonia solution directions.
  • If there are no babies in the attic, use caution and scare the raccoon out. Just making your presence known will usually do it. Place lights in the attic. Shine the light on them and talk to them. A raccoon is not an aggressive animal. But if touched or threatened (by being cornered or feeling boxed in) they will defend themselves and they are quite adept at doing so.
  • If there are babies, it is best to leave the raccoons alone until the mother takes them out. Raccoons do not build nests, and they do not bring food back to the den. When the babies are about 8-10 weeks of age, the mother will start weaning them. She will then take them out of the attic and not return.
  • If you cannot wait, give the mother one to two nights to relocate the family, and use the above mentioned deterrents.
  • Block the entrance securely once they have moved out. Use mesh wire and plywood to close the entrance.

What to Do If You Have a Raccoon in Your Chimney

For firebrick chimneys:
  • Under no circumstance should a fire be built to evict any animal. Fires will only burn and/or kill an animal; not evict it.
  • If there are babies, it is best to leave the raccoons alone until the mother takes them out.
  • If you cannot wait, place a bowl of ammonia in the fireplace, and if needed, leave the flu open 1/8 inch. Most flues are not airtight. If you don't smell ammonia in the room where the fireplace is, then the flu is not airtight. This in itself usually works. Cover the fireplace opening with large plastic trash bags to make the opening air tight.
  • Place a radio in the fireplace. Tune it to a talk program. Do this during the day, and use it in combination with the ammonia solution. Give the raccoons two to three nights to move out.
For metal chimneys:
  • In metal chimney pipes, the raccoon may not be able to climb out on his own.
  • Take a piece of cloth, such as blankets or sheets (you may have to tie two or more together to reach the bottom of the chimney) or you can also use rope, tied in a knot every foot, but it should be at least 1inch in diameter.
  • Attach this at the top of the chimney. Raccoons are heavy, so secure it well. Drop the rest down the chimney; making sure it reaches the bottom. Tie something to provide weight to the bottom of the rope or cloth, such as a hammer or a pair of pliers, and lower slowly. This will help you to feel the bottom, especially if the pipe is curved. Also, it will provide stability when the raccoon climbs up and out. The raccoon will usually leave within 24 hours.
  • After the raccoon is gone, securely cap the chimney so this does not happen again. Fireplace caps can be purchased at your local hardware store. Most fireplace companies can also install caps.