Have an animal nesting or using a space that you would prefer they did not? Humane Harassment is a process used to disturb an animal to such an extent that it decides to leave its den and move on. These techniques are used to spare the life of the animal and avoid needless trapping. When it comes to raccoons try these tips.


If in spring or summer, it’s probably a mom with babies. Raccoons move around and use different den sites. If tolerance is impossible, harassment can work – socks with vinegar, bright lights at night and loud talk radio. One way doors or an L-shaped barrier will prevent future denning, but it is imperative to make sure no babies are left behind first.


Care should be taken when using harassment during breeding season, March-October. Leave all lights on and radio blaring (rock music), vinegar doused rags around the attic. Apply deterrents just before dusk – mothers may not move cubs in daylight. Be patient, it may take a few days. Once ALL animals are gone, seal entry holes. To make sure animals are gone, stuff holes with newspaper, if it stays in place for three days, the family has moved and it is now safe to repair holes.


Keep the damper closed and put a blaring radio (rock music) in the fireplace. Put a bowl of vinegar on a footstool near the damper. Apply these deterrents just before dusk, as mom will not move babies in daylight. Once the raccoons are gone, it’s best to call a company to clean the flue and install a chimney cap.


Chili powder is a nontoxic irritant that affects all mammals and when used regularly will deter. Sprinkle chili powder anywhere wild animals are frequenting or wherever animals are digging. Vinegar is also offensive. Place vinegar soaked rags or spray directly onto areas wildlife finds attractive. Reapply daily for best results.


To discourage animals, mix kitchen garbage with soil or wood ashes before burying it in the hot center of your compost pile. Do not put any food scraps in open compost piles, but if you must, bury them under at least eight inches of soil and then place a wire mesh barrier over the top held in place with a heavy object or two.

Putting your compost pile in a pest-proof container is another way to prevent tampering. Compost bins with wire tops or sealed lids work well too.


When it rains, grubs come to the surface and animals can smell them and will begin digging. Once the lawn dries out, the digging should cease. Natural products like Milky Spore can be applied to the lawn to reduce grubs. Cayenne pepper can also be sprinkled on more localized digging for a temporary repellent.


Maintain a high water level (at least three feet deep) and stack cinder blocks, large rocks or ceramic pipes in the bottom of the pond so the fish can escape and take refuge.

If you have additional questions or concerns please call our Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at 412-345-7300 ext. 500.