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Raccoons Facts and Prevention Tips

VPRS Toronto would encourage all pet lovers to be “raccoon aware”.

Please ensure that your garbage is completely secure to discourage raccoons feeding and populating your area. Please keep your pets in at night (dusk to dawn), feed them indoors and use screening on any available fish ponds. Encourage your neighbors to be “raccoon aware” and discourage anyone from purposely feeding them.

There have been reported instances to our office of raccoons attacking and injuring dogs, cats and other animals and discouragement of their habitation will reduce these occurrences and increase the safety of your neighborhood.

The following information has been gathered from several British Columbia animal related websites, which we hope you will find useful.

General Information:

Raccoons prefer hardwood forest areas near water. They den in hollow trees, ground burrows, brush-piles, barns and other buildings, dense clumps of cattail or rock crevices.

In suburban areas raccoons most frequently seek out attics, garage rafters, crawl spaces or sundecks as isolated, safe places to have their young. By mid-June, when the young are old enough to climb, the family will seek a den closer to a food source; when weaned the young will begin foraging.

Raccoons are omnivorous (eat both plant and animal foods). One litter of 3-5 young is raised per year. Most litters are born in April-May, but some females may not give birth until June, July or August.

Raccoons are nocturnal. They do not truly hibernate, but they do “hole up” in dens and become inactive during severe winter weather. While raccoons are not normally aggressive and rarely injure people, they can be dangerous when threatened or cornered. They are wild animals and should be treated accordingly.

Raccoons are in the bear family and eat mostly vegetation, insects, mice and rats. Mothers will protect their babies to the death. They have been observed trying to protect all baby raccoons from harm even if they are not their own. They are wonderful, loving, intelligent animals, and they deserve to live. The average weight of adult raccoons is between 8 and 10 pounds, or about the size of a house cat. They are often attracted to pet food and seeds left out at night. The mother and babies will come out to eat in the daytime if they cannot get enough at night.

If you don’t want them in your yard – remove any possible food sources. For example, don’t put your garbage out until the pick-up time. Use bungee cord restrainers on your garbage can lids.

Raccoon Damage and Prevention:

Raccoons can cause considerable damage to vegetable gardens, particularly sweet corn. Freshly laid sod lawns are often rolled up in search of earth worms and grubs. In all of these cases, the best method of prevention is to deny them entry. Keep raccoons away from poultry with tightly covered doors and windows in buildings or mesh-wire fences with an overhang surrounding poultry yards. Raccoons are excellent climbers and can climb conventional fences or bypass them by using overhanging limbs.

Raiding garbage cans: Keep smelly garbage in plastic bags indoors, or build a garbage shed. The lids on garbage cans should fit tightly. They can be secured with rubber straps and hooks, but these items should be removed before municipal employees collect the refuse. Putting a half cup of household ammonia in garbage bags also helps.

Raccoons in buildings: Raccoons cause damage or nuisance problems around houses and outbuildings when they try to enter attics, crawl spaces or chimneys. In extreme cases, they may tear off shingles or fascia boards. To keep them out, cover possible access points with heavy wire screening. Also, tree access to rooftops should be eliminated by pruning overhanging limbs and by placing a piece of tin loosely around the trunk, flaring it out like an upside-down funnel.

Fish Ponds: Raccoons will eat fish in ornamental ponds. Wire screening is the best protection.

General Comments: Do not put out food for raccoons or other wildlife and never leave pet food where wildlife can get to it. Keep pets indoors at night. Dogs are not an effective method of keeping raccoons away as many raccoons will not hesitate to proceed in a fight with a dog.

The use of poison to kill any wildlife is illegal. Persons experiencing persistent or serious problems with raccoons should consider obtaining assistance from a professional pest control company to remove the animals. These companies are listed in the yellow pages of your telephone directory.

Discourage raccoons from your area:

Suggested Steps:

  1. Check the areas around your home and clean up all the garbage, paper, food, berries that fall from trees, etc. Totally clean the area.¬†Then, after it’s spotless, walk around your home again and do a double check.
  2. Once you are totally satisfied that the area is “clean”, a further suggestion would be to purchase metal garbage cans with lids that stay tight and stay attached.
  3. Place heavy weights on the lids when there is garbage, food or water in these trash cans.
  4. Keep the cans smelling clean by washing them out with the hose when needed and tip them upside down so they don’t store water for raccoons to drink.
  5. Always place garbage inside the cans and replace lids immediately otherwise the raccoons will smell it and come to eat out of your trash cans.
  6. Make sure that any lawn chairs or tables, and anything outside does not even have a crumb on it when you retire for the night.
  7. If at all possible, store the trash cans indoors or somewhere inside if you are gone for a long time or if you see animals around in the neighborhood.
  8. If you have meat or very tempting food in the trash, always double plastic bag it before throwing it away in the cans and place a little bleach or strong cleanser on the bag outside before depositing it in the can.
  9. Remember: If you leave food and water or even leave the hose dripping water, you will most always find wildlife around your home.


  • Raccoons can be scared away by flashing a light on them or making a loud noise.
  • Trapping is not an effective method of wildlife control because it doesn’t address the problem of the availability of food and shelter. Trapped wildlife can suffer severe self-injury in their attempts to escape and this is more probable as their confinement in the trap is prolonged. Furthermore, relocation of the captured animals adds to the stress of being in an unfamiliar territory, increases the potential for transmission of infectious diseases and increases conflict between the animal and its environment. Trapping and relocation of adult animals (especially during the spring and summer) in many instances separates mother from babies and will result in the death of dependent offspring. In addition, the Ministry of Natural Resources studies show that 60% of relocated raccoons will die.

To summarize:

If you don’t want them in your yard – remove any possible food sources. For example, don’t put your garbage out until the pick-up time. Use bungee cord restrainers on your garbage can lids.

Do not put out food for raccoons or other wildlife and never leave pet food where wildlife can get it.

Keep pets indoors at night, from dusk until dawn.

Your Yellow Pages directory lists local pest control companies that provide humane removal and relocation (up to one kilometer away) of nuisance raccoons.

To discourage raccoons in your area, the use of motion activated ultrasonic animal repellent devices which use high pitched noises to scare off the raccoons may prove effective. There are several products available at retail stores or for order on-line.

The use of an electric perimeter alarm or outdoor motion detector security lights also may help keep raccoons away.

Other methods proving effective in discouraging neighborhood raccoons are the use of products such as “Coyote Urine Spray” available for purchase at local greenhouses and plant nurseries.


The Raccoon Guys remove critters, like raccoons and squirrels, and provide preventative services in Toronto, Ontario.


VPRSTORONTO has been of service to thousands of clients in and around GTA for 15 years. We humanely relocate pigeon problems with a variety of solutions that include trapping, making the area inaccessible with mesh, net, angle guard, needle guard, spikes or other appropriate means.

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Scarborough, Ontario
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