In this article, we’ll answer the question:
“What attracts raccoons?”
First, you’ll find a short summary of the common sources that attract raccoons to your yard and house, then get a detailed list and explanation of those things as they relate to the two primary types: food and shelter.
Raccoons are medium-sized mammals in the family Procyonidae under the order Carnivora. These omnivores are native to North America but are also distributed across mainland Europe, the Caucasus, and Japan.
What Attracts Raccoons?
Raccoons are attracted by food and shelter sources such as garbage cans, pet food, bird feeders, goldfish ponds, chicken coops, compost piles, gardens, attics, chimneys, crawl spaces, decks, and sheds.
Food Sources That Attract Raccoons to Your Yard
One of the main things that attracts raccoons is food. Raccoons have a varied diet that includes fruits, nuts, seeds, insects, worms, fish, frogs, eggs, birds, rodents and even garbage.
Raccoons will eat almost anything they can get their paws on, and they have a keen sense of smell that helps them locate food sources.
Some of the common food sources that attract raccoons are:
Raccoons are notorious for raiding garbage cans in search of leftovers, scraps and other edible items. They can use their nimble fingers to open lids, tear bags and scatter trash around.
To prevent raccoons from accessing your garbage cans, you should keep them in a secure place such as a garage or shed until the morning of trash pickup day. You can also use metal or plastic cans with tight-fitting lids and straps or locks to deter raccoons.
Raccoons love pet food, especially wet cat or dog food that has a strong smell and taste. If you leave pet food outside overnight or in an accessible place, you are likely to attract raccoons to your yard.
To prevent this, you should feed your pets indoors or remove any leftover food after they finish eating. You can also use elevated or enclosed feeders that raccoons cannot reach or open.
Raccoons are attracted to bird feeders that contain seeds, nuts, suet or nectar. They can climb poles, trees or fences to reach the feeders and eat the contents or knock them down.
To prevent raccoons from raiding your bird feeders, you should hang them high enough that raccoons cannot reach them or use baffles or guards to block their access. You can also bring the feeders inside at night or use feeders that close when a heavy animal lands on them.
Raccoons are attracted to goldfish ponds that contain fish, frogs or other aquatic animals. They can use their paws to catch and eat the fish or drink the water.
To prevent raccoons from invading your goldfish pond, you should cover it with a net or wire mesh that raccoons cannot break through or lift up. You can also install motion-activated lights or sprinklers around the pond to scare away raccoons.
Raccoons are attracted to chicken coops that contain chickens, eggs or feed. They can use their strength and dexterity to break into the coops and kill or eat the chickens or eggs.
To prevent raccoons from attacking your chicken coops, you should make sure they are sturdy and secure with locks or latches that raccoons cannot open. You can also use electric fences or wires around the coops to shock raccoons.
Raccoons are attracted to compost piles that contain organic matter such as fruit peels, vegetable scraps or eggshells. They can dig through the piles and eat the decomposing material or spread it around.
To prevent raccoons from accessing your compost piles, you should enclose them in bins or containers with tight-fitting lids that raccoons cannot open. You can also avoid adding meat, dairy or cooked food to your compost piles as these attract more raccoons
Raccoons are attracted to gardens that contain fruits, vegetables or corn. They can eat or damage the crops or dig up the soil in search of grubs or worms.
To prevent raccoons from destroying your gardens, you should fence them with wire mesh or electric wires that raccoons cannot climb over or crawl under. You can also use repellents, scarecrows or noise makers to deter raccoons.
Shelter Sources That Attract Raccoons to Your House
Another thing that attracts raccoons is shelter. Raccoons need a safe and warm place to rest, sleep and raise their young. They are adaptable and can use various natural or artificial structures as their dens.
Some of the common shelter sources that attract raccoons are:
Raccoons are attracted to attics that provide insulation, protection and space. They can use their claws and teeth to tear through shingles, vents, soffits or siding and enter the attics. They can also use trees, poles or wires to climb onto the roofs and access the attics. Once inside, they can make nests, leave droppings, damage wires or insulation, and cause fire hazards or health risks.
To prevent raccoons from entering your attics, you should seal any openings or gaps that raccoons can exploit. You can also trim any branches or wires that raccoons can use to reach your roofs.
Raccoons are attracted to chimneys that offer warmth, security and height. They can use their paws to climb up or down the chimneys and use them as their dens. They can also block the chimneys with their bodies, nests or debris and cause smoke or carbon monoxide problems.
To prevent raccoons from using your chimneys, you should install chimney caps or screens that raccoons cannot remove or damage. You can also use metal flashing around the base of the chimneys to prevent raccoons from climbing them.
Raccoons are attracted to crawl spaces that provide darkness, seclusion and moisture. They can use their strength and agility to access the crawl spaces through vents, windows, doors or holes. They can also dig under the foundations or walls and create their own entrances. Once inside, they can make nests, leave droppings, damage pipes or insulation, and cause mold or odor problems.
To prevent raccoons from entering your crawl spaces, you should close any openings or gaps that raccoons can exploit. You can also use hardware cloth or wire mesh to cover the vents, windows or doors.
Raccoons are attracted to decks that provide cover, comfort and proximity. They can use their paws to lift up boards, lattices or skirting and enter the spaces under the decks. They can also dig under the decks and create their own entrances. Once inside, they can make nests, leave droppings, damage wood or wiring, and cause noise or nuisance problems.
To prevent raccoons from using your decks, you should seal any openings or gaps that raccoons can exploit. You can also use hardware cloth or wire mesh to enclose the spaces under the decks.
Raccoons are attracted to sheds that provide shelter, storage and accessibility. They can use their fingers to open doors, windows or latches and enter the sheds. They can also chew through wood, plastic or metal and create their own entrances. Once inside, they can make nests, leave droppings, damage tools or equipment, and cause theft or vandalism problems.
To prevent raccoons from accessing your sheds, you should lock any doors, windows or latches that raccoons can open. You can also use metal flashing around the base of the sheds to prevent raccoons from chewing them.
What Attracts a Raccoon to a Backyard?
Raccoons are attracted to a backyard by food, water, and shelter. Food sources that can lure raccoons include fruits, nuts, pet food, bird seed, garbage, compost, and vegetables. Water sources that can entice raccoons include ponds, pools, fountains, and hoses. Shelter sources that can appeal to raccoons include hollow trees, logs, burrows, decks, sheds, attics, and chimneys.
What Smell Attracts Raccoons?
Raccoons have a keen sense of smell and can sniff out food from a distance. Smells that can attract raccoons include anything sweet, meaty, or fishy. Some examples are fruits, nuts, honey, peanut butter, bacon, tuna, and cat food. Raccoons may also be drawn to the smell of garbage or compost if they contain food scraps.
What Is a Raccoon’s Favorite Food?
Raccoons are omnivorous and can eat a variety of foods, but they have some preferences depending on the season and availability. In general, raccoons favor foods that are high in fat, protein, or sugar. Some of their favorite foods are eggs, insects, crayfish, frogs, fish, birds, rodents, corn, grapes, cherries, and persimmons.
Learn More About Raccoons
Now that you know more about the things that attract raccoons, you may also be interested in these other educational guides on these mammals:
- What do raccoons eat?
- What eats raccoons?
- Are raccoons dangerous?
- Are raccoons friendly?
- What attracts raccoons?
- What repels raccoons?
- What kills raccoons?
- What are raccoons afraid of?
- What gets rid of raccoons in your yard?
- What to put in a raccoon trap
- What to do if a raccoon is in your garbage
- What smells do raccoons hate?
- What can raccoons not climb?
- Where do raccoons live?
- Who catches raccoons?
- Raccoon in the house (What to do)
- How do raccoons get into attics?
Things That Attract Raccoons Summary
You now know what attracts raccoons to your yard and house.
As you discovered, there are two primary sources that attract raccoons: food and shelter, and by removing the most common things raccoons seek out, you can prevent these mammals from entering your property.
I’m the lead editor and writer for Animal Answer Guide. I enjoy sharing expert knowledge on the various characteristics of common species within the five distinct groups of animals: amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.