Recently, I went out on a service call in Brielle, NJ, for a homeowner who had an unexpected run-in with raccoons in his backyard. While he was getting ready for a late night cookout with his family, his grandkids saw a party crasher: a raccoon was sniffing around the backyard fireplace looking for some goodies. Kids aren’t the only ones who love s’mores! For this homeowner, the raccoon was too close for comfort, and he did not want these large, often vicious, animals roaming around his property. Free-range chickens are great; free-roaming raccoons are not!
I began a thorough inspection of the exterior perimeter of the home to determine if there were any exposed areas indicating that raccoons have entered the home. Raccoon moms are clever, strong and extremely determined when it comes to finding a den for their young. Attics are a favorite of raccoons, but they will also nest in crawl spaces, basements, and other out-of-the-way private spaces. They will not hesitate to exploit weaknesses in a structure to gain access into a home. Fortunately, there were no signs of raccoon entry into the home.
Since no raccoons had yet entered the home, this particular job is what we consider to be a free-roaming animal trapping scenario. When nuisance wildlife are actively using a yard, I will strategically place traps throughout the backyard to safely trap any raccoons before they do damage to the property.
Here, I first set up a placement trap near the fence in the backyard where the raccoon ran off to when it was first spotted. Often, with wildlife, especially raccoons, they can be skittish with traps. When they step into a trap and feel the metal flooring, they will back out and move on. For this reason, I like to place mulch in the trap leading all the way up to the trip pan to give the trap a more natural feel; that is until the trap door shuts!
I placed another placement trap where the raccoon was the first seen near the fireplace. Once again I placed mulch all the way up to the trip pan to disguise the metal flooring. This home also had a deck near the fireplace that would be an attractive nesting area and set a trap there as well. I scheduled a follow-up inspection to monitor the traps, and the homeowner will be contacting me immediately once a raccoon is captured. Once captured, I’ll relocate the raccoon to a more appropriate environment far away from human habitats.