How to Get Rid of Raccoons [Top Proven Hacks]

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Get rid of raccoons, they said. It’s an old truth that bears repeating: getting rid of those pesky raccoons is not an easy task.

If you’ve tried different methods, you’ve probably lost track. The good news is the hacks we are about to share with you in this article take the cake.

Since I have faith that most of you reading this want to know the root cause of the problem, I figured it’d be useful to share.

Let’s dive right in.

How to Get Rid of Raccoons
How to Get Rid of Raccoons

Contents

What Attract Raccoons?

Raccoons yearn for basic needs such as food, shelter, and water. And your home is a heaven for those three human needs. 

That’s why you see them climbing fences and finding the necessary entry points that lead them to your home.

Most importantly, it is vital to think about what raccoons eat. That way, you’ll know the list of things that you need to remove from your compound or yard.

Unfortunately, raccoons are omnivores. That means, they eat everything they find lying around. Here are the few things that will attract raccoons to your compound:

Garbage and Rubbish

If you want to get rid of raccoons or even an opossum, you have to think like one. The first thing is having a clear picture of what they eat, which is garbage and rubbish. 

Raccoons love to scope the leftovers from the trash. Therefore, cleaning up the mess they left is enough to ruin your day.

I’ve learned a few things about raccoons that usually visit my yard. Raccoons are lazy and picky. They go through the nasty trash and are fully picky about what they find safe to eat. 

I’ve read in forums that one can use bungee cords but they keep getting stretched and falling. What has worked for me is this unique bin strap, ammonia, and cayenne pepper. All these worked amazingly to keep raccoons away.

Leftovers and Food

It’s no secret that leftovers and food attract all kinds of pests from pigeons, and possums to raccoons. The solution is to look for a way to avoid disposing or having leftover food in the garden or yard. 

Foods that raccoons find appealing are fruit trees that drop in the yard or garden, tortillas, big bowls of pet food, nuts, and many more. All these foods are delicious and get the attention of raccoons.

Bird feeders

Raccoons are agile and they enjoy doing somersaults to get their meal. This is why you need to ensure that all your bird feeders are away from trees. Bird Feeders provide an excellent standing ground or ladder for raccoons to reach your house or food. Ensure that your feeder pole is tall and climb-resistant.

Garden Beds

Everyone loves a beautiful garden. To most people, a garden is a relaxing place where they connect their soul with nature. The bad news is, that raccoons also love the place. They will go there to eat tulips, eggplants, and any other edibles. In other words, they can harm your plants. One thing you can do here is to mix the spice with soil during planting. Make sure that the spice doesn’t harm your plants.

Garage

A garage is a storage place where you keep your tab and equipment. Chances are, you are going to have wood piles and trash, and it could serve as a place where you keep your bird feed.

Since raccoons have a unique smell they’ll be interested in seeing what’s inside the garage. To keep them away ensure the door is secure and there are no open spaces.

How to Identify A Raccoon?

Raccoons are nocturnal animals, which means you can only spot them during the night. What you’ll hear during the night are sounds, tracks, raccoon poop, and the damage they cause.

They have distinctive rustling and scurrying sounds. Besides these noises, they also use a wide array of sounds to communicate such as chattering, pruning, growling, snarling, hissing, whimpering, screeching, and many more.

Raccoons leave their drooping behind. Their poop resembles tubes with blunt endings. It is usually black and can change depending on the kind of food they eat. These creatures like to create toilets once they find a good arena. 

You are likely to find raccoon poop on the rooftops, woodpiles, attics, and hay lets. The latrine will have a mix of old and fresh poop.

The best way of distinguishing a raccoon from any other pests is through its poop. Raccoon poop will have undigested food particles like wild berries. Finally, raccoon poop smells horrible and you can easily find it a few meters away.

When they come to your yard they’ll leave a five-finger paw that resembles a child’s hands. The front and rear paws will have finger fingers protruding on their c-shaped palms. Raccoons also have a unique walking gait.

Besides all that, you’ll find raccoons to have bandit-masked faces and bush-striped tails which makes them easy to spot. Raccoons also have thick, gray fur, and slightly round ears that resemble a panda. With these features, you can easily know if you have a raccoon or not. That said, let’s look at different ways you can get rid of raccoons.

How to Get Rid of Raccoons in the Attic?

The main reason a raccoon chose to live in the attic is that the female is about to give birth. And the attic serves as their den and nesting place. The attic is a conducive environment because it’s safe, warm, and dry to raise baby raccoons.

Besides that, the attic is the only place the raccoon will feel safe because it offers excellent protection from predators and the weather. Since most attics are close to food sources this gives raccoons more reasons to stay there.

To access the attics, raccoons usually climb the roof and squeeze their way in holes to get there. But that’s not all, they can chew through the woods and tear off shingles to create nice entry points to access the attic.

You’ll hear raccoons moving in the attic. Since they are large pests, expect a thumping sound when they are walking. You’ll also hear their sounds at night and dusk when they leave. Raccoons’ babies will be crying and whining all the time. There are some raccoons that are active during the day and so it will be easy to find them in the attic.

Signs of raccoons in the attic.

How much damage can a raccoon cause in the attic

An average raccoon weighs 11 to 14kg which is enough weight for the animal to trample and compress the attic insulation. The act of walking and running will damage the attic insulation. Most importantly, it will reduce its effectiveness. A well-insulated attic will keep your home warm during the winter and cool in the summer seasons.

Raccoon damage is likely to cost you thousands of dollars in inflated heating and cooling bills. Besides that, raccoons will damage ventilation and electrical systems that go through your attic. If you fail to repair the attic, the damage could cause fire, water damage, and the growth of mold in the future.

What’s even annoying is the fact that raccoons can make your attic a giant litter box. The amount of raccoon poop and urine produced by a single raccoon can create severe health problems.

But that’s not all?

It becomes a major concern when you have many baby raccoons in the attic. To protect your family from getting Baylisascans infection you need to get rid of raccoons from the attics.

Raccoons Attic Cleanup Cost

Perhaps the question you are asking yourself is how much does it cost to clean up an attic that has been infected by raccoons? It’s free!! You can do it yourself but I wouldn’t advise that because raccoons can spread diseases like a possum. There’s price varies from location and the type of company you are using.

Once a pest exterminator visits your home, they’ll be in a position to inspect the attic and give you an estimate on how much it will cost. The average you can pay for attic cleanup costs is $500 or more sometimes.

But that’s not all.

You will also have to fix any damage to the attic or buy new attic insulation which will cost you around $1,700 to $2,000. The worst thing about a raccoon living in your attic is that it can be difficult to remove the animal’s feces and urine. That said, raccoon attic cleanup costs are likely to go high.

Steps to get rid of raccoons  from the attic

Step #1: Get Raccoon Eviction Fluid

Raccoon eviction fluid is more human. It is a predator scent that warns that a boar male raccoon is present. The boar male raccoons will kill baby raccoons to stay dormant. When you place it well, it scares and encourages mother raccoons to move with their babies from the attic.

Step #2: Seal All the Entry Points

You can block or seal the entry using a galvanized steel vent cover. This prevents raccoons from getting into the attic. I love the design of this product because its wire pattern keeps everything out including roof rats, possums, and raccoons out.

Step #3: Apply Raccoon Eviction Fluid

Here you’ll apply raccoon eviction fluid at the main entry. Just use a tablespoon of eviction fluid.

Step #4: Place a newspaper at the main entry

Finally, you’ll need to place a wadded newspaper at the entry point. That way, you’ll know if the raccoons will have left your attic. It will take at least a few days for mother raccoons to remove their kits. If the newspaper has not been bothered, then chances are, you have no raccoons.

Do Raccoons Stay in the Attic During the Day

Raccoons prefer to live in areas where there’s plenty of cover like the attic, garden, full dense bush, forested areas, parks, and many more places. They do have an area they claim is called a “home range.” It is an area they operate which is often from one square mile to nineteen square miles.

Once a raccoon has found an area like the attic which is accessible to food and water, it then goes to make a den. In the urban areas, you’ll find raccoon dens abandoned vehicles, chimneys, attics, protected locations, or crawl spaces. 

During the day, a raccoon will be resting in its den in the attic. Or, it may be moving from one den to another, finding extra sources of food, or just being sick. A raccoon won’t move out of its de during the day unless it’s because of those three reasons.

How long will raccoons stay in the attic?

Raccoons will stay in the attic for a short period of time which is nine months. That means you’ll have to wait until the end of the summer. That’s when they will leave the attic on their own. By this time, the adult raccoons will have known how to forage for food and protect themselves from predators. 

If you want to get rid of them, you can buy the products we mentioned or hire pest control experts to help you.

Mother raccoons will also leave the attic. However,  there’s a big chance that one of her young ones may choose to remain in the attic. And when it becomes pregnant again, it may want to use that attic. Bear in mind that mother raccoons may come back to the same attic again if she is pregnant.

How long does it take to remove raccoons from the attic

8 to 10 weeks is the perfect timetable to get rid of raccoons from the attic. In other words, it’s going to take 9 months for a raccoon to stay in the attic and another extra two months to remove it from the attic. That only applies if you want to let the raccoon give birth in the attic, let her cabs grow until they’re mature to leave.

You can imagine the number of latrine deposits, urine, tearing of dry walls, and other problems associated with raccoons. Chances are, you also won’t know the exact time, she is giving birth so that you can begin counting months. 

Well, if you can hear her babies, at least you have a clue of their stages. Young raccoons tend to make kitten-like mewing sounds while adult raccoons tend to make loud thumping and snarling noises.

Can Raccoons Break through Ceilings

Raccoons have strong little hands that can grasp and lift tiles enough to break through the ceilings. If you have drop ceilings, chances are, a raccoon will break through it. That’s because drop ceilings are fragile and can’t support the weight of the raccoon.

Since an average raccoon weighs about twenty pounds and some weigh even forty pounds. My best guess is that a raccoon can break through drop ceilings anytime. Most drywall and building materials can support the weight of a raccoon, but if the critter was romping and took a tumble, that’s enough to break the ceiling.

Although this is an unlikely scenario, it’s one you can’t rule out. That said, you need to have that critter removed.

How to Get Rid of Raccoons in the Yard

Food will attract raccoons to your yard. They’re omnivores and they’ll feed on everything from plants to human waste to pet pellets to bird feed. For instance, if you leave your bowl that holds pet food outside, it will tempt raccoons to forage for food in your yard.

But how do you identify them?

Raccoons will always leave their tracks in the yard. They have long skinny toes in the print which are not too hard to point out. Other signs will include scattered trash, and trash cans that have been kicked over. If you have a fish pond, you’ll find missing fish. Other tell signs will include ransacked pet food bowls, broken bird feeders, missing or broken eggs, and battered chickens.

What Attracts Raccoons to Your Yard?

There are so many things that attract raccoons to the yard. These spots are vulnerable to raccoon invasions. Here they are:

Garden beds- Raccoons are omnivores which means they eat all kinds of plants and animals. They will mostly feast on berries, grapes, melons, and a variety of garden vegetables.

Trash cans- kitchen waste appeals to them a lot. That’s why you find them scraping for meat, fish scraps, and other leftovers from the kitchen. When a raccoon finds a source of high-value food in the trash cans, they will come often. Their best sport is knocking over garbage cans and scattering all the non-edible things away like plastic.

Bird feeders- Bird feeders have nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and suits which are mostly high-calorie food. These foods will attract raccoons to the yard especially during the winter when their sources of food are scarce. In most cases, raccoons will knock the feeder to the ground and break it.

Fish ponds-  a lot of homeowners create small fish ponds to enjoy the soothing sounds of water while relaxing to watch the fish swim back and forth. Fresh water and small koi fish will attract raccoons to the backyard and to the fish pond. An adult raccoon will eat all the fish in the pond in a single night. Most importantly, they will also eat frogs and other fish feeds.

Fruit trees- Chances are, your yard has fruit trees. Raccoons love eating sweet foods, especially ripe fruits like apples, peaches, and plums. They will also eat apricots, cherries, and mulberries.

Racoon in the backyard at night

Racoon in the backyard at night

Steps to Getting Rid of Raccoons from the Yard

Step #1: Irritate their sense of smell, taste, and touch

Raccoons have a good sense of smell. They are things that they don’t like. Raccoons don’t like the smell of peppermint, garlic, onion, and red-hot pepper. You can make a homemade repellent that consists of these things and spread them around the yard.

One issue we have with smell repellents is that they are not effective. That means you need to reapply them. Use them together with other methods.

Step #2: Never leave food out

Food attracts raccoons to the yards. Therefore, you should not leave pet bowls outside. Alternatively, you can feed pets inside. Besides that, you should ensure that your yard is clean and free from any food particles.

Step #3: Use light and sound

It’s no secret that raccoons are nocturnal animals which means they prefer to walk and look for food during the night. In other words, they are suspicious of spooked light and noises. One way to deter them is to use motion-activated securing lights in the yard. I personally like large bright ones like this one on amazon.

I have also found success by playing a radio near the raccoon entry point. Raccoons are spooked by loud noises.

Step #4: Adjust the bird feeder

As we have stated, raccoons feed on the bird feeders. One way to prevent them from foraging is hanging your bird feeder on high-thin poles that have baffles. A shepherd hook pole like this one will make it impossible for raccoons to climb the pole.

What’s more, you can add a raccoon baffle(this one worked well for us. This is the first torpedo-type raccoon baffle that I’ve tried.) The device will prevent raccoons from jumping and eating your bird’s food.

Step #5: Close Entry Points

If you realize that raccoons keep accessing your yard or garden. You need to close or seal the entry points. Otherwise, it will be a matter of time before the female raccoons move in with their cabs. For her to move the cabs and start terrorizing your garden, it takes only two to three days. An electric garden fence will deter raccoons from coming close to your yard.

Like most people, we have also seen success using this type of electronic fence. What really stood out for us when using these electric fences is, that the ground is everything. The deeper, the better. With dry soil, you’ll still complete the circuit but a little bit of dampness is even better. If you stepped on dry soil and wore a shoe you may experience some insulation. But once you take off the shoe expect to be electrocuted. The good news is raccoons don’t wear shoes.

How to Get Rid of Raccoon on the Roof

It’s worth repeating that raccoons are excellent climbers like possums. That’s why they can reach your roof fast. It’s no surprise that you’ll see them ascending to the corners of many houses.

The natural survival instinct of a raccoon is to find an excellent place that’s above ground level. That prompts them to find a place on the roof. On the roof, raccoons can hide from pets such as dogs and other predators. Most importantly, they’ll find insects and other foods to depend on. Raccoons will also use the roof to build a nest.

Raccoon Roof Damage: The Damage they Cause

Steps to Getting Rid of Raccoons on the roof

Although raccoons are excellent climbers you can still get them out of the roofs. Here are the steps you need to keep them away:

Step #1: Trim Trees

Chances are, raccoons are getting to your roof through trees. If you have tall trees, you may need a chainsaw to cut the long branches. You can also use hand shears to prune branches that are between one to two inches thick. My point is, never give raccoons a chance to access your roof through a tree or its branches.

Step #2: Keep plants, vegetables, or fruits in shorts

Ensure that all plants, vegetables, and fruits grow near your home in short. That way, raccoons won’t use them as ladders to access your roof.

Step #3: Eliminate food sources

Any food sources that can make a raccoon/tempt a raccoon to access your property needs to be kept away.

Step #4: Install metal sheeting

Install metal sheets around your roof and the base of the tree. That way, raccoons won’t make it to your property. Metal sheets will make it impossible for raccoons to climb.

Step #5: Install an electric fence

You can put an electric fence on top of any fence. Earlier on  I gave you my story about how this type of fence has been a success for us. I had extensive raccoon problems for 3 years. After installing the electric fence seven raccoons were electrocuted and this stopped raccoons from getting inside our roof.

How to Get Rid of Raccoons in the Garage

Between the months of January and September, raccoons will visit your garage often to settle in. That’s because they are trying to find an excellent place to build a nest and care for their babies. Raccoons are aggressive creatures if they feel their babies are being threatened, they will damage the garage.

Raccoons will use the garage for a shorter period until their babies become independent. After that, their mother will move out with them. That said, you can choose to let them stay in your garage until they are ready to move.

Step by Step to Getting Rid of Raccoons in the Garage

Step #1: Keep the garage door closed

One way to deter raccoons from entering the garage is to close it at all times. The garage serves as an ideal place for them to hide away from predators.

Step #2: Turn on the garage light

Since raccoons are nocturnal creatures they don’t like bright lights. Before you close the garage door make sure that all lights are on. You can use mechanic light or motion sensor lights

Step #3: Seal all the possible entryway

First, identify their main entry points. Then you can seal it using a galvanized steel mesh. After that, you can apply the area with a raccoon eviction fluid.

Step #4: One-way doors

A lot of pest control companies recommended a one-way door that allows raccoons to get out but not get in. This is only great between the months of October and December when the newborns are not present. Between January and September, using one-way doors can exclude the mother raccoons and leave the babies trapped inside. You are only allowed to use this tactic when baby raccoons are old enough.

Step #5: Live trapping

Use a cage trap to remove any raccoons that may be remaining in the garage. Most pest control experts recommend that you only use this method if raccoons don’t have a baby.

How To Get Rid of Raccoon in the Chimney

Most people would want to burn a raccoon in the chimney. However, it’s not a great idea to burn the entire animal family. A raccoon is coming to your chimney because the chimney resembles a hollow dark tree that’s safe. 

If you start a fire, you could burn the mother raccoon and its babies. What’s worse, out of fear the raccoon may jump out of your fireplace. Before you know it, you’ll have angry critters roaming around your home.

Most raccoons give birth during the spring. So they take their time to look for places to raise their families during the winter. It’s important that their babies remain secure and safe until they are grown. 

If you can’t do that, you will need to contact the human-wildlife control experts who will force the mother out of the chimney and collect the nest and babies. They will be stored in a heated reunion box until the time the female raccoons come to relocate them. Raccoons in the chimney can tear the shingles and make the ceiling leak.

Steps to Getting Rid of Raccoons in the Chimney

Step #1: Make Your Presence Known

It’s no secret that raccoons like to live in a safe place away from predators. That’s why they’re convinced that a chimney is a safe place. You have to convince raccoons that the chimney is not safe. You bang the chimney with your hand. 

Alternatively, you play a loud radio near the chimney 24/7. That alone may convince the mother raccoon that your chimney is not a safe place. Once the mother has moved away with the baby make sure you cap the chimney with a steel cap like this one

Step #2: When loud noises don’t work

If the loud noise is not working for you. You can get the scent of a dormant male raccoon. Female raccoons know that male raccoon will kill their young ones.

Step #3: Wait

If the two methods don’t work, you can just wait. Another option is to call the pest control experts (Tulsa Pest Control) to come and assist you in getting rid of raccoons from the chimney.

How To Get Rid of Raccoons Out of Chicken Coop

Raccoons like to get into the chicken coop, kill the chicks, kill the chicken, and sometimes eat the eggs. They do kill the chicken because they’re hungry. What’s more, sometimes a female raccoon will use the coop as a training ground for her babies who want to learn to hunt.

It’s even worse when the raccoon has babies. A mother raccoon is so fierce and protective. Therefore, she will kill anyone who is a threat including chickens to her babies. That said, you need to raccoon-proof your chicken coop.

Steps to Get Rid of Raccoon from Chicken Coop

Step #1: Invest in an excellent coop apron

A chicken coop apron will prevent animals like raccoons, squirrels, and possums from digging under the coup and feeding on the chicken.

Step #2: Instead of chicken wire invest in a hardwire cloth

One disadvantage of using a chicken wire is that predators with sharp teeth like raccoons, squirrels, and possums can tear it. The chicken wire is designed to keep chickens from getting out but not predators. 

My friend on a chicken farm found success when they used this type of hardware cloth. At first, my wife wasn’t sure if the hardware cloth would hold. She found out that the “word” is deceiving. The hardware cloth is strong and flexible. Most importantly, there was no chance that those dinky ground raccoons could get her chickens and eggs.

Step #3: Place deterrent lights

Raccoons are nocturnal creatures who like to roam at night when no one is watching. That said, the only way to deter them is to place a predator guard in the coop. A pair of these flashlights will scare and signal them that the area is not safe.

Step #4: Use a guard dog

Dogs are some of the best protectors against raccoons. Most animals like possums, coyotes, and raccoons fear the scent of a dog. That alone will make them leave your chicken. The only drawback of having a dog is that it may start playing with chickens. The chicken will feel stressed and will be killed by the dog.

How to Get Rid of Raccoons Home Remedies

Raccoons on their own are not harmless. However, they can do a lot of damage when not controlled. Instead of killing them, you can look for natural home remedies to get rid of them. Here are the most asked questions about raccoons’ home remedies.

Will Vinegar Keep Raccoons Away

It’s no secret that raccoons hate the taste and smell of apple cider vinegar. The caustic smell is a mixture of acetic acid solution which overwhelms their senses. Raccoons are not the only ones that hate vinegar-based natural deterrents.

  • Step #1: Soak a piece of rag in apple cider vinegar
  • Step #2: Place the rag on a pole, tree, or near the entry
  • Step #3: Once they come, the raccoon will be reluctant to stay. You can combine this method with motion sensor lights.

Besides that, you can also spread the apple cider vinegar around raccoon nests, garage, and near the trash cans. You can also spray around the house. Ensure you are using a vinegar-filled bottle.

Will Tea Tree Oil Get Rid of Raccoons

Tree Oil has a strong scent that can keep raccoons away. Once you have tree oil you can sprinkle it around the raccoon entrance whether it’s at the attic, roof, garage, or around the yard. That should keep raccoons away. When you get the oil, the first thing you need is to dilute it. For every one cup of water, you can add 11 to 16 drops of tree oil.
We found success using this type of tea tree oil from amazon. Raccoons hate it. My grandma used to have a raccoon problem. They were trying to build a nest in the attic. Last spring we bought a tea tree oil. What we like is that it has a strong scent that doesn’t dissipate quickly like other essential oils. With one dose you are able to keep raccoons away for 3 weeks.

Will Peppermint Oil Keep Raccoons Away

Raccoons don’t like the smell and taste of peppermint. Adding diluted drops of peppermint in your yard, garage, roofs, eaves, and attics will deter raccoons while making the place smell nice. The reason why raccoons hate the peppermint oil smell is that it irritates their sinus activities.

I am so happy and peppermint oils!!!. I used to have raccoons that were eating my tomatoes in the yard. A friend of mine suggested I use a 4oz container and make a wick. I also added 6 cotton balls and water to retain the moisture. I kept the ball around my small tomato garden. As usual, raccoons came to eat but they stopped three feet away. In the morning, I saw their paw print far away.

Getting Rid of Raccoons with ammonia

The smell of ammonia will inform raccoons that the area has been compromised or they’re a predator around. The ammonia used is ammonia hydroxide. It is toxic when ingested and should be kept away from kids and pets. Raccoons are smart creatures, sometimes they can remove the rag that has ammonia. That said, ammonia is not 100% raccoon repellent. But it’s worth a try, maybe it may work for you. Also, keep ammonia away from plants and vegetables.

Does Blood Meal Repel Raccoons?

Blood meal can keep out raccoons and opossums because their smell is associated with predators. For blood meal to be effective it needs to be reapplied often. That’s because it may be washed away by rain or water. This method is only effective if you have one or two raccoons who are just passing by in your area. Bear in mind that resident raccoons are smart and they will adapt to the smell.

Does Irish Spring Soap Keep Raccoons Away

There’s no scientific evidence that shows Irish spring soap will keep raccoons away. However, studies show that it can repel deer. Keep in mind that many smells that keep deer away also keep raccoons away. Therefore, it’s safe to say that Irish spring soap may keep raccoons away. 

Irish spring soap has a distinct smell like candle fragrances.  There’s no guarantee that Irish spring soap will repel raccoons. Things that smell good to us like mint, garlic, and Irish spring soap will often be warning signs to raccoons and other rodents.

Does Epsom Salt Keep Raccoons Away

The smell of Epsom salt irritates raccoons’ nasal cavities and you can use it to keep raccoons away. You can spread Epsom salt around the yard, garden, fish ponds, or near a bird feeder.

Epsom salt is a mineral found in water. It’s used for bathing to relieve the body from the pain and aches. In other words, it soothes injuries and soreness. We found that the best Epsom salt you can buy is Epsoak’s Epsom salt magnesium sulfate. It’s effective at keeping raccoons away according to research. Most importantly, you can use it to relax your muscles after a bath.

Be careful when applying. If it rains, the salt dissolves which means you’ll have to apply it again. When you don’t feel the smell, just know you need to reapply. The salt is also great for those that have gardens.

Conclusion

In this article, I have tried to give detailed information on how to get rid of Raccoons in various places. I have also discussed, how different natural and other products can be helpful to repel raccoons from the places, important to you. Hope you have got enough knowledge to repel raccoons.

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