Raccoons may look cute, but they can cause a lot of problems for your home.

Not only will they tip over your garbage cans, they can also cause property damage and nest inside your house. Raccoons seeking shelter can pry up roofing tiles and enter your attic. Once inside, they can leave urine and feces behind. 

While raccoons are generally not aggressive, they will defend themselves if they feel threatened. Children and pets can be injured if a raccoon attacks them. Raccoons also carry potentially dangerous diseases, including rabies, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.   

Here are four steps you can take to keep raccoons out of your house and yard.

Secure Your Garbage Can

When your trash cans are easily accessible, they will attract raccoons. If possible, keep your garbage cans in a secure place, such as inside your garage. If you must keep them outside, secure them with locking lids. Trash cans with non-locking lids can be secured with cinder blocks or bungee cords. You can also try spraying your trash bags and garbage cans with a liquid repellent. 

Keep Pet Food Inside 

If you have raccoons around, avoid leaving any pet food outside. Raccoons will help themselves to anything that’s edible. Bring your pet’s food inside before dark to keep the raccoons from eating out of your pet’s dish. If you have a bird feeder, place it somewhere that’s inaccessible to raccoons and spray the pole with liquid repellent. The repellent will deter the raccoons without affecting the birds. 

Gather Fallen Fruit

If there are fruit trees in your yard, clean up any fallen fruit as soon as you can. Raccoons are particularly attracted to sweet foods. They won’t just eat the fruit on the ground; they’ll also climb trees to eat the fruit on the branches. Try installing a motion-activated sprinkler at the base of your fruit tree to dissuade the raccoons.  

Seal Your Chimney

Your chimney is a preferred nesting place for raccoons. Make sure that you keep your chimney covered with a chimney cap. Secure the cap tightly to keep raccoons from pulling it loose and entering the chimney. 

While the tips discussed here can help if you have raccoons in your yard, the best course of action is to seek help from a pest control professional. An expert will have the tools and experience necessary to remove the raccoons from your property safely.