Raccoons are also known as ‘Ringtail’ and belong to Procyon genus. They belong to seven species of nocturnal animals defined by their ringed tail with five to ten black bands, short legs and black ‘mask’ around their eyes.
North American Raccoons are the most popular type of raccoon and vary from Northern Canada to most of United States southwards in to South America. They are 75cm to 90cm long including a 25cm tail and weigh around 22 pounds, although, large male raccoons can weigh more.
The raccoons are found more in northern region and have coarse, grey– lack fur with brown overtones. Raccoons found in southern counterpart have silver toned fur.
What do Raccoons eat?
Raccoons use their quick paw skills to catch animals such as crayfish, pluck frogs and other aquatic creatures in water. On land, they grab mice, insects and raid nests for eggs.
They also feed on plants and fruits, including the ones grown in garden and farms, and often search garbage bins to find some food.
How to trap a Raccoon?
Raccoons seem like cute creatures but they can create havoc in search of food, carry infectious disease such as rabies and transmit them to you or other animals. Therefore, it is important to capture a raccoon as soon as they start creating problems.
To catch a raccoon is a pesky task. But with patience and having the right knowledge of how to trap a raccoon, you can succeed in your mission with ease.
How to Catch a Raccoon in a Live Trap : Step by Step Guide
1. Get a Raccoon Trap
Since raccoon is a large animal, large or extra-large sized traps that are around 33 to 44 inches are best suitable.
There are two types of door in a trap, as mentioned below:
- One Doors ensures higher security as there would be only one way available for the animal to get out.
- Two Doors ensures higher trapping rate as there would be multiple doors through which raccoon can enter the trap.
The different types of Raccoon Traps available in market are:
- Live Cage Traps is one of the most used traps as they are easy to set-up and use.
The raccoon is lured in to the large metal cages by placing food inside the cage. Once raccoon enters the trip pan placed at the rear of the cage, the cage door is shut automatically.
- Paw Hold Traps is usually used by fur trappers as this trap does not let the raccoon escape until the trapper comes by clamping down its paw.
- Grip Traps are not animal – friendly as it results in the unfortunate death of the animal. It is placed near the space or hole leading to an attic and as soon as he raccoon steps over it, it chokes it resulting in immediate death.
2. Find the appropriate location
Place the trap on a flat surface where the raccoon has either done any damage or is seen often such as terrace, fence, woodpiles, mulch beds and lofts.
3. Bait the Raccoon
Place some bait, i.e., food that attracts raccoons, at the back of the cage so that it has to get inside the cage completely, ensuring zero chances of harm and escape. Make sure that the bait is secured so that the raccoon is not able to knock over the bait and escape.
Raccoons are attracted to sweets, peanuts, bread and especially cat food and dog food.
4. Set up the trap
Carefully set up the trap as per its instructions and make sure that the door is facing an open position, i.e., the raccoon is able to smell the bait and enter the trap through the door.
5. Keep regular checks on the raccoon once trapped
Once the raccoon is trapped, it becomes quite scared and nervous. Therefore, it is important to keep a check on it and not trap it for a long period of time.
Before moving the trapped raccoon, cover the cage with a cloth and wear protective gear. Keep the cage at a safe distance from yourself and either drop the raccoon at least 5 miles away from your residence, or hand it over to authorities.
Since raccoons come at residents in search of food or shelter, it is important that you remove any food that attracts them and ensure that possible entrance for them such as broken windows or gates are repaired as soon as possible.
Before trapping any raccoon, it is important to be aware of your area laws in order to avoid any legal complications. Also, clean your garbage bins to remove raccoon food sources and wear protective gear while handling the trapped raccoon.
DIY Raccoon Trap : How to make a Raccoon Trap at Home
If you notice raccoons in your region, here is a simple way of making a raccoon trap at home with few tools:
1. Cut plywood according to the box size
Get a long plywood specifically treated for outdoor purposes and cut in to following sizes with the help of a handsaw:
- For walls: Two pieces of 12 inches * 24 inches size
- For bottom: One piece of 12 inches * 24 inches size
- For top: One piece of 12 inches * 22 inches size
- For back: One piece of 12 inches * 12 inches size
2. Secure two pieces of wood at the bottom to support it
Place one of your bottom plywood pieces on a flat surface and mark it ½ inches along the long sides.
Place the wood pieces of ¾ inch * ¾ inch * 22 inches size inside the marked lines.
Attach the pieces together with the help of screwdriver and three screw pieces (one at each wood piece).
Make sure that one end of the wooden pieces is flushes with one of the shorter sides at the bottom of the trap so that the door would be able to shut itself once the racoon enters.
3. Cut metal panels to size with an angle grinder
Wear protective gear for eyes and hands and start cutting metal panels using a metal cutting blade on angle grinder with the following dimensions:
- For door: One panel of 10 inches * 11 inches size
- For trigger that would spring the trap: One panel for 9 inches * 3 inches
Make sure that you smooth the metal edges on angle grinder before using it. Doing so will not harm the raccoon while it’s trapped.
4. Drill holes ¼ inch from a corner through each metal plate
Drill the holes slowly and apply rigorous pressure as you push the driller through metal plates.
The holes are made so that a trigger can be made for the trap when a wire is passed through them.
5. Attach the metal piece for triggering the trap to the bottom with hinges
Screw one or two sets of hinges on the bottom of the smaller metal panel and make sure the drilled corner is on the upper left or upper right corner of the panel.
Attach the hinges to the bottom so that it is 5 inches away from the rear wall.
6. Screw the top and side pieces on to your box trap
With the help of three of four screws per side, assemble the walls of the trap with a screwdriver.
Place the plywood panel for top of your trap in a way that it is flushes with the rear wall.
7. Cut a 20 inches PVC pipe in half along its length
Cut the pipe in half using an angle grinder or a circular saw. The PVC pipe will avoid the door getting stuck after being dropped.
8. Bolt the pipe halves to the walls and put the metal door between them
Place the pipe halves at the front and back of the trap in a way that its edges touch the wall.
With the help of three or four screws per pipe, assemble it with the wall pieces.
Make a door by inserting the metal door panel between the PVC pipes. Make sure that the drilled corner is at the bottom side of the door.
Experiment the working of the door and notice if there is any movement amongst the screws. If seen, tighten them to avoid any harm and test the door again.
9. Connect the two metal plates using a gauge wire
Cut a gauge wire ranging from 8 inches to 10 inches and loop it through the hole in the triggering panel and clasp it firmly. Rune the wire to the other metal panel so that it is extended by ½ inch.
Loop the wire through the hole in the 9 inches × 3 inches in the panel, and wrap it around itself so it clasps firmly. Run the wire through the hole in the bottom of the door so it extends out by 1⁄2 inch.
Hurray! Your home-made raccoon trap is ready for use.
How to catch a Raccoon without a trap?
One needs to be aware of their state laws before catching a raccoon as most states do not allow home owners to capture it unless they have proper license.
However, the states allow civilians to kill the raccoon and dispose it without taking it off your property. Without any paperwork, there’s no legal procedure to catch a raccoon and relocate it. Therefore, one of the best ways of catching a raccoon is hiring a professional.
Another tip is realizing what you’re getting yourself into as raccoons carry various infections like rabies which are fatal if not treated timely. Also, parent raccoons are extremely protective of their children and would severely harm any person or animal who they sense to be a threat.
Buyer’s guide for choosing the best Raccoon Trap
Not everyone has the time to go through each and every detail or product available in the market.
To make things easier for you, here is a buyer’s guide with list of critical factors to be considered while buying any raccoon trap:
1. Type of Trap
Live cage trap is the most preferred traps for raccoons as it offers humane solution of just trapping the raccoon without causing any harm or reducing its survival possibility. The cage offers clear visibility and one can keep a check on the raccoon’s condition by looking through the cage.
Paw grip trap is not suggested trap it offers an inhumane way of getting rid of the raccoon. It results in the raccoon’s death and has the potential to mentally scar people, especially children, because of the horrible view.
Similarly, electronic traps are banned in many countries and offer an inhumane way of trapping the animal.
2. Trap Size
Make sure that the size of the trap is neither too small nor too big. If the trap is too small, raccoon might not get trapped in the very first place or worse, get severely injured.
If the trap is too big, raccoon would be able to escape easily.
Majority of the raccoon traps come in a perfect size and you can always be sure of its size by looking at the product details. The optimal size of a trap door should be between 30 inches to 50 inches.
3. Trap Door
The two – door traps are preferred as compared to single – doored traps as they significantly increase the chance of trapping the raccoon. However, the two – door trap should be double the size of the single – door trap because in that trap, raccoon would reach halfway only before the door closes.
4. Trap Material
Raccoon traps are made of thick metal so that the raccoon is not able to chew it and escape. But you should always check if its edges are smooth or not as it might result in harming the raccoon. Also, check that rear mesh should not let the raccoon escape after they get the bait.
5. Extra features such as noise and hand–free feature
Apart from above features, you should opt for a trap which does not frighten the raccoon by its rattling or by the sound of door getting closed because a terrified creature is more harmful than a confused creature.
If you’re afraid that the raccoon might attack you once you release it, look out for hands – free traps that come with a timer and release the raccoon automatically.
Catching a raccoon or any other animal is a huge task and its result depends on various factors such as nature of the animal, features of the trap used, its effectiveness, and most importantly, how careful one was while doing that task.
One should not be disappointed if they were not able to trap the raccoon successfully in the first try. Try other traps, baits, or even professionals. But don’t opt for any inhumane way for catching any creature.