It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare. After a hard day’s work, you and the family are relaxing quietly at home and all of a sudden you hear a loud growling followed by the sounds of clawed feet racing across your property. Raccoons, these nocturnal masked bandits have successfully penetrated your house. Not only are they probably carrying rabies and a whole host of other diseases, but they also have the potential to gnaw through wires, causing all sorts of damage and potential electrical fires.

How could this of happened? Was here something we should have done? Is it too late to call an exterminator?

Before this scenario becomes a reality, below are ten tips to raccoon-proof your home. Like the old adage goes, one ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

  • On garbage day, NEVER leave your trash out the night before. Not only are they nocturnal, but they’re also regular houdinis when it comes to getting inside your garbage.
  • Keep all your garbage in a locked garage.
  • Buy a repellent like Ropel that leaves a bitter taste in their mouths and will deter them from biting or chewing.
  • Keep your garbage cans and receptacles tightly shut with chains or bungee cords.
  • Invest in motion sensor lighting to scare them off at night.
  • If you are concerned about them hiding under your deck, spread mothballs on the surface and around the perimeter. Raccoons aren’t crazy about the smell.
  • Look for potential points of entry around your house. These include the chimney, attics and windows.
  • Cap your chimney, plug any holes and immediately fix any broken windows or doors.
  • Clean up any pet feces on your property. They will attract unwanted animals including raccoons.
  • Talk to a professional about installing a one-way door at a point of entry.

And most importantly – if for some reason, a raccoon gets into your house, don’t attempt to handle them. Open up and let them find the door themselves while you call for help.