Because of it's close proximity to the ridgelands, regional parklands, and creeks, Pleasanton is home to a wide variety of interesting wildlife. While living near wildlife is enjoyable for the most part, it can sometimes be a challenge to homeowners. Animal Services often receives calls from homeowners that are concerned about raccoons nesting on their property (under the house, in the attic, etc) or damaging the landscaping (pulling up sod, eating fruit from trees, etc). There are many things a homeowner can do to discourage raccoon activity on their property. Pleasanton Animal Services recommends that you call us for an on-site visit to your home.We can help identify problem areas and advise you on the use of "exclusion" methods to resolve a nuisance raccoon problem. Trapping may be an option in extreme situations. The specifics of trapping can be discussed with Pleasanton Animal Services.
What attracts a raccoon to your property?
- Cat / Dog food left outside provides a convenient food source for raccoons. (Kitchen's open - Come and eat!)
- Broken vent screens leading under your house or into a basement. Raccoons like a dark, quiet, dry place to sleep during the day.
- Openings that lead into your attic (often found where roof lines connect), open storage sheds, open garages (via pet doors), etc.
- Woodpiles, stored vehicles, dense brush, hollows in trees, can provide housing opportunities.
- Openings that lead underneath a deck.
How to get rid of a nuisance raccoon.
Eliminate their food sources. Do not leave cat / dog food outside after dusk. Feed pets indoors or outside only during the daytime. Pet food can attract large numbers of raccoons.
Treat your lawn for grubs (insect larvae that eat grass roots) at the beginning of summer so there will be no food available in late summer and fall when raccoons are most likely to dig in lawns. Beneficial nematodes are a good non-toxic way to kill grubs; see your nursery for advice. Use black or cayenne pepper on the lawn to discourage raccoons from even trying to find grubs. Fasten garbage can lids tightly, or keep your garbage can in the garage to keep raccoons from toppling the can.
Lock pet doors at night to keep raccoons from coming into the house or garage in search of food. Electronic pet doors are available which are designed to open for your pet only.
Keep ripe fruit picked; don't leave fruit lying on the ground. To protect fish in a pond, submerge a wire mesh horizontally around the edge of pond, leaving the center open. The raccoon can't reach past the wire and won't stand on the unstable wire surface. Provide rocks for fish to hide in.
Eliminate their housing opportunities.
- Keep screened vents in good repair that lead under your house or into the garage. Raccoons can grasp torn screens, enlarge the opening, and gain access under your house
- Keep pet doors closed at night
- Cap your chimney
- Keep your yard free of accumulated debris that would provide shelter
How to evict raccoons living in your attic or under your house.
Raccoons like a quiet, dark, dry place in which to sleep during the day and they venture out at night in search of food. Seal entrances AFTER THE ANIMALS HAVE LEFT for their nightly forays. If there are babies, wait until the baby raccoons are old enough (about 8 weeks of age) to join their mother on her nightly food search before closing the entrance OR use the exclusion methods listed below to encourage her to move her family elsewhere. A mother raccoon may need several days to remove all her babies, so be patient. Using these exclusion methods, rather than trapping, will ensure you don't end up with orphaned raccoons dying underneath your home.
A well positioned drop light will illuminate the raccoon's sleeping area and make it uncomfortable for the animals.
Place a loud radio, set to a talk program, near the raccoon's sleeping area. Their sensitive hearing will be offended!
Soak a rag ball with ammonia and toss it into the area where the raccoon is nesting. Their acute sense of smell will be offended!
Cover the ground in front of the entrance with a layer of flour so you can see animal footprints and monitor their activity. When you see that activity has ceased, securely cover the entrance to prevent further problems.
Call Pleasanton Animal Services at (925) 931-5100 if you have any questions or desire a visit by an Animal Services Officer to your home. We can help you identify problem areas and recommend solutions if you have nuisance raccoons living on your property.
You can also call Alameda County Vector Services for information and advice on wildlife issues. They can be reached at (510) 567-6800.