There are a lot of DIY pest control methods on the internet.
Some of them range from reasonable, like using a slinky on a bird feeder to stop squirrels from climbing it, to nonsensical—like bathing in Coca Cola to prevent lice.
A lot of these methods don't have much science behind them, but there is one which does: using ammonia to drive away raccoons.
Getting rid of a raccoon problem in your home can be difficult. Many people don't want to resort to deadly poisons or bloody, inhumane traps.
To avoid these, you can use ammonia—it acts a deterrent rather than a poison, since raccoons won't eat objects coated in the chemical.
First, Some Basic Facts About Raccoons...
Raccoons are intelligent mammals which live in almost every environment in North America. These small, furry creatures have distinctive black markings on their faces and tails, making them a snap to identify, even in the darkness.
Raccoons are comfortable in urban and rural areas and are extreme omnivores that eat foods like bugs, berries, fruits, small animals, and human creations like pizza and crackers. They'll eat anything they can find, as explained in this video below.
Where Do Raccoons Live?
Raccoons can live in the countryside, suburbs, and even major cities. Humans provide a lot of potential food sources for these omnivorous mammals, so some like to stay close to where there's a guaranteed source of food and shelter.
Most raccoons will create a den for themselves and their young—usually in safe places away from predators. It's not uncommon to find raccoons living inside people's homes in untouched locations like an attic, basement, or even an unused chimney.
However, they might not stay in a single den for long. Raccoons are opportunistic and those without familial attachments will switch location every few days or even every night to avoid predators. The ammonia trick only really works if you have a stable raccoon den somewhere on your property, so be sure to check before investing in this method.
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Why Are Raccoons Around Your House?
Raccoons like to live around humans because they throw out lots of edibles. These animals have dexterous hands and can get into trash cans. Although they prefer fruits, vegetables, and meat, these mammals will also eat foods like pizza crusts, crackers, casserole, and junk food like snack cakes.
If you have lots of raccoons around your house, then you are (unknowingly) probably providing a consistent food source for them! If this is the case, you should try to locate it and then take steps to end it. For example, if your trash can stays open, then you should get a tight lid for it.
Can You Use Ammonia To Remove Raccoons Around Your House?
This is a DIY raccoon removal method which has circulated the internet. Here's the main idea: the smell of ammonia will drive raccoons away, since it mimics the scent of something they don't want in their dens.
Some bloggers swear by this method, but does it work?
What is Ammonia?
Ammonia is a colorless gas which occurs normally in nature. The human body converts ammonia and uses it in urine, which is generally the first thing that pops to mind when people smell it. Raccoons have a similar process in their body, and therefore dislike the smell.
This original scent from the gas can also be found in products used around the house. The ammonia found in cleaning chemicals is ammonium hydroxide. It is toxic when ingested and should be kept away from children and pets. Ammonium hydroxide is a liquid which has a similar smell that can be used to your advantage.
Why Does Ammonia Get Rid of Raccoons?
Raccoons are fastidious creatures. They like to keep their dens clean and will leave a home if they believe it is soiled. Because ammonia smells like urine, the raccoon will be tricked into thinking the den is dirty and will leave.
To do this, you need to cover mothballs or another object with ammonia and leave it near or in the raccoon's den. This method is NOT the most effective, but is a humane way to eliminate raccoons without needing to purchase a trap.
Where to Find Ammonia
You can find liquid ammonia and ammonia cleaning supplies at most general and hardware stores. Online retailers like Amazon and eBay also sell them, so it's a breeze to get your hands on this product.
How Much Does Ammonia Cost?
Though the exact price varies, one variable stays common: ammonia is extremely cheap.
You'll never be stuck paying an exorbitant amount of money for a simple bottle of ammonia. Also, this product is versatile and can be used for a multitude of different cleaning projects around the home, so purchasing a large bottle is probably in your best interest.
Check your local hardware store for exact prices, or grab a bottle like this: James Austin Co 50 Multi-Purpose Colorless Cleaning Liquid.
Will Using Ammonia For Raccoons Hurt Your Pets?
Cleaning ammonia is toxic when ingested, but most pets will avoid products covered with it.
Well, for starters, their noses are their friends—they probably won't go chewing on something that reeks of pure poison.
You should only be concerned if you dog, cat, or other animal actually ingests the chemical. If this happens, contact Poison Control in your area immediately or seek veterinary attention.
Ammonia And Raccoon Removal Final Thoughts...
Using ammonia can be an safe way to remove raccoons without resorting to killing the animal or trapping and releasing it in a separate location. In addition to these added benefits, it's easy to use and inexpensive compared to other chemical options.
Don't let raccoons encroach on your territory. Eliminate them in the simplest way possible: by activating their neat-freak tendencies.
Other Raccoon Guides
Curious about other raccoon related guides? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.