Are You Smarter Than A Raccoon?

[Ben] has a raccoon problem. It seems that it’s not uncommon for him to come face-to-face with a pesky raccoon in the middle of the night, in his living room. We think most people would solve the problem by preventing the raccoon from entering the home. But [Ben] just seems hell-bent on catching him. Most recently he’s added motion-sensing to a live trap which he installed…. in his living room.

So [Ben] has cat’s which that to roam at night. They have free range thanks to a cat door which the hungry pest has been exploiting. Apparently the masked robber has a taste for cat food and that’s what keeps him coming back. [Ben] has been using the cat dish as bait but up to this point the live trap hasn’t worked. You see the raccoon isn’t going inside to get the food, but reaches through the cage and pulls pieces out one at a time. The solution is to put up a solid surface around the cage, and hope that the motion sensor will get him this time. Although we’ve linked the most recent post above, you’ll want to page through his blog for the whole story.

Wouldn’t it be better to install some kind of automatic lock that only lets in the kitty?

[Thanks Rick]

63 thoughts on “Are You Smarter Than A Raccoon?

    1. I like the way you think!
      But a shotgun makes too much noise, a small 22LR with a supressor.
      Nobody will hear what you just dit.
      And it is much more fun to nail the dirty bastard right between the eyes.

      1. “Richie loved to use 22s because the bullets are small and they don’t come out the other end like a 45, see, a 45 will blow a barn door out the back of your head and there’s a lot of dry cleaning involved, but a 22 will just rattle around like Pac-Man until you’re dead.”

      1. jimchienandalusia: There’s no “s” after the apostrophes in hadn’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t, don’t, I’ve, isn’t, I’ll, we’ve, you’ve, and a great deal many more words.

    1. I think its supposed to be ‘So [Ben] has cat’s witch hat to roam at night.”. I think he is referring to some sort of magical device to let people see in the dark.

    2. Firearms are dangerous. A .22 can shoot a long way, or ricochet and injure yourself. Plus they’re noisy. A pellet rifle is a much better choice. The Benjamin ‘Trail NP’ .22 gas piston pellet rifle, are very quiet due to a shrouded barrel. It has easily enough power to kill a raccoon, and is safer to shoot inside a house, as long as you manage to hit the raccoon.

  1. Low tech solution: _LOCK_THE_CAT_DOOR._ Also works great at keeping the cat out when he thinks he’s the baddarse hunter and starts to brings in disembowled rodents. Easier than scrubbing rat blood off the new carpet.

    Racoons are best dealt with by someone with a Dirty Harry complex, or professionals. The rest of us would be wise to steer clear if at all possible.

  2. Or metal window screen tied down to the outside so it has no way to reach in at any angle but can still see and smell. I’d expect the racoon to still be dumb and try and reach in over the plastic panels and the archaic motion detection will then get triggered.

    There are lots hacks out there for identifying pets from pests at a pet door. Probably better than just catching it… What are you going to do with the raccoon once you catch it? It doesn’t solve the problem, just stops this particular raccoon from getting in.

  3. Take the easier softer route – lock the cat door and train the cats – In by bed time or out all night. And yes, you can train the cats! I have more than you can count on two hands, and I live in the woods. They all know the whistle that means last chance to get in. You will not out smart the raccoon. Also, if it is brave enough to come into the house, it is probably a very hungry mother nursing a number of babies (it is that time of the year). If you trap it and move it, the babies will likely starve.

  4. From TFA: ” The computer that was supposed to record ‘the big picture’ had helpfully shut down for Windows Updates an hour before the event”

    Why people keep using Windows is beyond me..

    1. You know, you could have just suggested the racoon-o-pault project, or the smaller version that works on squirrels.

      The only real drawback to flinging a racoon over a city block away is the likelihood that he’ll not only land uninjured and unphased, but that he’ll bring his band of friends back to ride on it as well. I mean, they’ll gang up on badgers and pelt them with insults. I think the only thing they fear is fire, and perhaps chevy chase.

  5. No, I’m not smarter than a raccoon, with those little hands and all, they’re ingenious! How about you hook up some fruit (cats can’t taste sweet so they don’t give a f–k about fruit) to an air horn trigger, one nibble on the fruit and the rocky get’s the s–t scarred out of him and moves on.

  6. The trick to catching raccoons with a cage trap, indoors or outdoors, is to put the bait UNDER the trap at the trigger end. This way, it is out of reach of grabbing paws, and the bandit is almost sure to eventually go inside to investigate.

  7. ive got the same problem. but my cats keep taking off their collers so i cant use the rfid system i made. i was told to use marshmellows in the trap. cats dont like so they will not go in, only the midnight bandet.

  8. I think the usual MO is to tag or collar the pets and/or children with rfid collars, and then assume that anything that moves but is not properly tagged or chipped is a target.

    You might want to call the state DMV, as I think they’ll be implementing this for drivers in the near future.

    Coons are fiendishly clever (as humans, we often fail to realize that clever isn’t the same as knowledgeable) and can be very dangerous once they reach a certain size.

    By the time a racoon is in the 35lb+ range, they will generally kill animals. It’s not very common, and people will say that they never top 20lbs, but I beg to differ. The weight ranges we can look up are the weights of coons eating their natural diets. When they grow up on garbage, protein and hormone laden feed, all bets are off.

    “explicit description of horrible and slow deaths suffered by several large dogs who messed with the wrong racoon goes here.”

    I’m leaving the details out, because the story will stick with you, and if you’re a pet owner, you won’t like it. Nope. Trust me.

    It’s basically Dien Bien Phu meets old yeller, with the vietnamese under Giap playing the role of the racoon. 4 of 7 hunting dogs played the role of the isolated french army forces, who thought they were going to wipe the racoon from the face of the earth. 3 of the dogs just stayed out of range and harried the racoon from a distance- I suppose they would be the american contract pilots in this story.

    There was a lot of blood, and while they eventually brought the racoon down, it was only because 7 dogs weighing around 80-135 pounds each have a certain amount of damage to inflict.

    I point all this out for one reason:
    They can be very vicious. If you rig something up and capture the racoon or temporarily incapacitate it, be prepared to get bitten and slashed.

    Mind you, very young racoons can be more or less tamed; I have relatives who kept a couple of tamed racoons (and one which hung around a lot with the tame ones, but would invariably turn around and bite you after you petted it), but all of them became very nasty and dangerous with time.

    As for bullets vs. sprinklers: I would like to suggest the trebuchet and bowling ball method, as all of the engineering has been done long ago and the build was documented on film by an experienced customer of the ACME catapault company.

    You will need to supply the white paint to mark the X, and some sort of safety hat, but it might be better than some of the other ideas floated so far.

  9. Here’s what we did in college whenever we wanted to trap squirrels (so we could let them loose in the neighbors house).

    Peanut butter might as well be wild animal crack. Once they get some, they’ll be coming back for more without regard for the consequences.

    We did a lot of things in terms of traps that we thought were “smarter than the animal” but ended up with the simplest thing that worked every time:

    Get one of those large Rubbermaid storage bins with a lid. Put the lid on the floor/ground upside down with the bait in the middle. Prop the bin up with a stick so that it’ll fall close and shut with the lid. Tie a string to the stick and run the string through a door/window/whatever and wait.

    They’ll come (it’s crack, believe me). When they’re grabbing the bait, pull the string. Your capture is in a nice tidy box with handles ready for transport. It doesn’t hurt the animal either, so it’s ready to be positioned in a girls bathroom, or McDonalds during rush hour.

    Video tape the reaction because it’s HILARIOUS.

  10. For those suggesting the 22 solution, believe me, it will not work unless you use 22 mags or empty a whole box in the skull. I know this from experience.

    Also, I seem to have missed the part that explains why he hasn’t put the cage outside (maybe right by the door to distract the coon from going inside?) or over the kitty door (with something heavy to hold it in place) so the coon goes directly into the trap.

      1. My cousin caught one that had gotten into the rabbit hutch. Luckily, the rabbit was inside because it was winter. He emptied his .22 rifle into the skull point blank then got the .22 mag rifle and emptied it into the skull. The coon was still growling and lurching for us. The only thing that killed it was a couple rounds of buckshot. I didn’t stick around for the cleanup. That was nasty!

      1. When I was young, I did stupid things. One was to buy a 10 Ga shotgun and several boxes of 10 gauge slugs from the estate of a dead (cancer) neo-nazi biker. The price was right.

        I never shot it. However, a friend of a friend borrowed it and used it to de-materialize a woodpecker into component molecules.

        Apparently this was like magic, so they promptly spent a box of shells punching holes in an engine block (mixed results). Then they saw … the racoon. They missed it twice.

        On the third try, as they had gotten to within 15 foot of that bad boy, the racoon was acting nonchalant.

        The third shell ruptured the barrel (a huge gaping crack!) and winged the racoon, who ran away into the woods. They went on and on about how they’d nearly been killed by “my” shotgun, blah blah blah. I always thought of it as “the” shotgun, but it wasn’t until after the movie fight club came out I understood why.

        Chuck Norris only fears combat with one animal, and with very good reason: He knows the biggest secret of the seventies – It wasn’t heroin that killed Bruce Lee. It was a racoon.

  11. How about a raccoon hand trap? Also known as a raccoon egg trap.
    Box with a hole in it baited with something that won’t fit through the hole, yet big enough for the raccoon to grab. Often racoons will refuse to let go of the prize to free themselves.

    Insert Dune reference here. Just hope your raccoon isn’t the Kumquat Haggandaz.
    Or rabid.

  12. Uhhh simple answer: Goto a farm supply store or order a squirrel trap. This does not require a hi-tech solution, although that’s what makes this kind of task fun.

  13. Just upgrade to a smart cat flap. One that checks the chip of each cat trying to ente (i assume your cats are chipped!). The racoon will try to enter, get scanned and the door wont open. Simple.

    Even if he catches this one racoon it could happen all over again with another. And what’s he plan to do with the racoon? It hasn’t done anything wrong other than seek out food!

  14. My dad had a raccoon problem in south Florida for almost a year a family of raccoons was getting into his garbage, Many of nights he would wait up for those raccoons I even found him under a window in the freezing rain hiding out of sight of the raccoons area once. Found tools of all shapes and sizes hanging from a tree in the front yard that he threw at them. But the best way to get rid of a raccoon is to leave used cat litter around your trash bins, and a special animal urine spray around your doorways. it makes the raccoons think it isn’t safe as a predator is around. They stop coming around after that.

  15. I’ve had raccoons inhabit my attic. The first one, I incented to leave via an opened soffit vent that it could not get back into. The second one could not be enticed to leave. It needed trapping.

    I got the live trap, set it in a likely spot put some wet cat food inside and checked back the next day. The food was gone and the trap was not sprung.

    Two more days of this and I decided to try something else. I got an infrared security camera so I could see what was happening. Sure enough, the coon was reaching in between the cage wires and pulling out the food. A plan formed.

    I got some finer mesh wire and wrapped the cage in it, being careful to keep the trip mechanism unimpeded. And… watched the raccoon go inside and get the food without tripping the trap anyway. I took a small victory in reassuring myself that the raccoon was becoming less wary of the trap.

    So, armed with a camera and knowing approximately when the beast was going for the food, I ran a sting to the trip level down through a hole in the wall to where I could watch the TV monitor. Patiently waiting, the raccoon entered the trap one last time and I yanked that string so hard it broke and left burns on my hands. It worked.

    Now I had an angry raccoon with unknown pathogens, ready to scratch my eyes out, in a trap in an awkward to get to place in my attic. What I decided to do was to carefully slip the trap back into the box it came in. No, I did not return it to the store. :-)

    Being the nice guy I am and really just not wanting to dispose of a raccoon corpse, I took several miles away and released it into a forested area, sealed up my attic and have since been un-plagued with raccoons.

    BTW, if this happens to you in the months of Feb-May or so, beware that there may be a passel of baby raccoons near where the mama, if it was a mama, was nesting in your attic. I’m jes’ sayin’

    1. A proper coon trap has smaller mesh in the bait area so they can’t pull it out the side though a baby will still try and get it’s hand caught. I trap a dozen off my property yearly with a havahart coon trap. I chain the trap to something cause the babies will still reach in the side then drag the trap all over. In the house I would check every 1/2 hour cause they will destroy everything they can reach from inside the trap! EVERYTHING. They will pull up every bit of sod, eat every bug, vomit/crap all over. I have to get up at 4am to check and outdoor trap. They are most active at 1am for me. Inside, I would check nearly constantly to avoid damage inside the home from the trapped animal. Also wear thick gloves and protective clothing. They carry a multitude of diseases easily passed to pets and humans alike. If you have raccoon feces especially it can contain worm eggs which are hard to destroy. Here’s hoping you only have one raccoon!

  16. Or do what I do for the raccoons that get in the garbage, sprinkle liberally with chilli flakes…

    I you just cover the food with cayenne pepper or something after a time or two they will learn that it is unedible…

    1. Hi, I just use a bungie cord and strap the lid on super tight to the handles. No Raccoon probs, although a Bear got pissed off he couldn’t open it and carried it away never to be seen again…

  17. I was recently dispatched, by my boss to get rid of a raccoon.
    Mind you this was after it was shot with a large caliber rifle 2x both pretty major body shots but not deadly enough to kill the thing.

    So i tried to use a pipe with a noose on it to corral the thing back out of the attic it was too heavy and wide to pull out of the soffit so I released it to regroup.
    It decided it was coming after me instead of retreating, so I used the pipe to push it away from me while I retreated back out of the attic in the process I hit the light bulb with the other end of the pipe it burnt out and then IT WAS ON!!
    I proceeded to beat that thing senseless (it wasn’t senseless I was..) which didn’t seem to faze it much honestly so finally I held its face down in the ground paper blown in insulation which suffocated it…

    Felt kinda bad afterwards..

    The tail broke when I tried to carry it over to the 5 gallon bucket which it filled plus 3 inches over the top yes big MOFO.

    The next big animal I killed was a ground hog with a 9mm head shot from 15yds learned my lesson thanks..

  18. Raccons are extremely dangerous because they OFTEN harbor a microscopic worm-like parasite which is probably a cause of a great deal of undiagnosed illness and mortality.

    Please read up a bit on the emerging zoonosis (animal borne human disease) *Baylisascaris procyonis* and the substantial risks of transmission to humans posed by the eggs which are shed by infected raccoons. (Most raccoons are infected with this parasite)

    Do not let raccoons into your home!

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.