How to Catch Raccoons: 3 Effective Ways

how to catch raccoons

Wondering how to catch raccoons? Dealing with these clever and resourceful creatures may require some strategy. Raccoons, known for their agility and adaptability, can be a challenge when it comes to capturing them. 

In this guide, we’ll explore humane and practical ways how to catch raccoons, ensuring a safe approach for both you and these mammals. 

How to Catch a Raccoon in a Live Trap

Place the Trap Strategically

Start by observing raccoon activity in your area. Identify key locations such as entry points, pathways, or areas where raccoons frequently forage for food. Placing the trap strategically increases the likelihood of capturing the raccoon.

Bait the Trap

Once you’ve selected an optimal location, entice the raccoon with tempting bait. Raccoons have diverse palates, so options like marshmallows, cat food, canned fish, or peanut butter can be effective. Place the bait at the back of the trap to encourage the raccoon to enter fully.

Table: best bait for raccoon trap

Bait TypeEffectivenessTips for Use
MarshmallowsHighSecure them well to the trap trigger.
Pet FoodEffectiveChoose a strong-smelling variety.
Fruits (e.g., apples)ModerateSlice or cut

Remove Competing Food Sources

Minimize alternative food options in the vicinity to increase the trap’s appeal. Secure your trash bins to prevent easy access and remove any potential competing food sources. This ensures that the raccoon is more likely to be drawn to the trap.

Set the Trap

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set the live trap properly. Ensure the door is securely open, and the trigger mechanism is in place. Confirm that the trap is stable and won’t accidentally close prematurely.

Monitor the Trap

Regularly check the trap to monitor for captured raccoons. Aim to check the trap multiple times a day to minimize the time the raccoon spends confined. This is crucial for the well-being of the animal and increases the chances of a safe release.


Once you’ve successfully trapped the raccoon, it’s time to relocate it. Choose a suitable release site away from populated areas, preferably an environment with ample food and water sources. Follow local regulations regarding wildlife release to ensure a responsible and legal process.

How to Catch Raccoons Without a Trap

Using a Bucket:

A simple yet effective method involves creating a makeshift bucket trap. Place a tempting treat at the bottom of a tall bucket, making sure the sides are slippery. Raccoons, lured by the treat, may venture in but find it difficult to climb back out due to the smooth sides.

Catching by Hand:

Catching a raccoon by hand should only be attempted by those experienced in handling wildlife. Approach slowly and calmly, wearing thick gloves to protect against bites or scratches. Keep in mind that raccoons can be unpredictable, and this method should be approached with caution.

The raccoon’s bite force, while not extremely high, can still lead to various injuries and diseases if it bites. It is important to exercise caution and seek medical attention promptly if bitten by a raccoon, as their bites may introduce harmful bacteria and increase the risk of infection.

Use of Blanket

For a less hands-on approach, you can use a blanket to gently encourage a raccoon to move in the desired direction. Approach the raccoon calmly and toss the blanket over it. This can help create a sense of security for the raccoon, making it easier to guide it towards an exit.

Use of Box

Similar to the bucket method, enticing a raccoon into a box can provide a simple trapping solution. Prop one side of the box with a stick, creating a makeshift door. When the raccoon enters to investigate the bait inside, carefully release the stick, allowing the box to close.

Use of Anesthesia

The use of anesthesia should only be considered by trained professionals. This method involves sedating the raccoon to facilitate safe capture and relocation. It is essential to follow ethical guidelines and legal regulations when considering the use of anesthesia.

DIY Raccoon Trap

If you’re feeling crafty, consider constructing a DIY raccoon trap using readily available materials. Design a box-like structure with a one-way entrance, allowing the raccoon to enter but making it difficult to exit. Place enticing bait inside to attract the raccoon.

Read the full article on how to create a DIY Racoon Trap

Professional Assistance

Professional assistance is often a wise choice when dealing with raccoon-related issues, especially if DIY methods prove unsuccessful or if safety concerns arise. Wildlife control professionals possess the expertise to assess the situation, employ humane trapping techniques, and ensure the raccoons are safely relocated in compliance with local regulations. The cost of professional raccoon removal can vary based on factors such as the severity of the infestation, the location of the property, and the methods employed. 

Average Cost for Professional Raccoon Removal Assistance

The cost to catch a raccoon can vary, but it generally ranges from $100 to $500, depending on factors such as location, method, and professional services.

Professional raccoon removal services often involve a two-visit process—initial setup and subsequent trap pickup. If all goes smoothly, the cost for such services typically hovers around $150. However, unforeseen circumstances, like the capture of other species such as opossums or skunks, might require additional visits incurring extra charges. In cases where the removal of multiple animals is necessary, the cost can rise, potentially reaching just under $250, contingent on factors like travel time. These professional services not only address raccoon-related challenges but also handle unexpected situations that may arise during the removal process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Catching Raccoons

Q1: How do I catch a baby raccoon safely?

A: Catching a baby raccoon requires a cautious approach. Create a small and secure trap using materials like a box or crate, ensuring there are no sharp edges that could harm the young raccoon. Use enticing bait like wet cat food or marshmallows, and place the trap near the raccoon’s known location. Once caught, handle the baby raccoon gently with thick gloves, keeping in mind that they may bite or scratch out of fear.

Q2: Why won’t the raccoon go into the trap?

A: Raccoons can be cautious and may avoid traps if they sense danger. Ensure the trap is well-camouflaged and blends with the surroundings. Use enticing bait, and consider placing a trail of treats leading into the trap to encourage the raccoon to enter. Additionally, avoid leaving human scent on or around the trap, as raccoons have a keen sense of smell and may be deterred.

Q3: Are there specific times of the day that are better for trapping raccoons?

A: Raccoons are nocturnal, so trapping efforts are often more successful during the evening or nighttime hours. Set traps before dusk to capitalize on their natural foraging instincts during the darker hours. Check the traps regularly to ensure the raccoon is safely caught and can be released promptly.

Q4: Can I use homemade traps to catch raccoons?

A: Yes, homemade traps can be effective if properly designed and set up. Construct a sturdy box or cage with a one-way entrance, enticing bait, and a secure door mechanism. Ensure that the trap is stable and won’t accidentally close before the raccoon enters. Homemade traps can be a cost-effective and humane solution when designed thoughtfully.

Q5: What should I do if I catch a raccoon but want professional assistance for removal?

A: If you catch a raccoon but prefer professional assistance for removal, contact a wildlife control professional promptly. They have the expertise to handle the situation safely and can relocate the raccoon according to local regulations. Keep the raccoon secure until the professionals arrive, and avoid direct contact to prevent injuries or the potential transmission of diseases.


In conclusion, understanding how to catch raccoons involves a blend of knowledge, compassion, and effective strategies. Whether using live traps, securing your property, or seeking professional help, the goal is to address the issue while respecting the wildlife involved. By adopting humane approaches, we can coexist with raccoons peacefully and responsibly.

About Tanya Garg 82 Articles
I'm Tanya, the dedicated raccoon enthusiast behind My mission is to share my knowledge about raccoons through insightful blogs, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for these intelligent creatures. Join me on a journey to learn more about raccoons, their behavior, and the importance of ensuring their safe relocation when necessary. Let's together create a world where raccoons and humans coexist harmoniously and safely.