Raccoons are in your yard for a reason: food, water, shelter, or simply a travel route. If there is any possibility of removing features of the landscape that make it less attractive or unattractive (e.g., spilled pet food, unsecured garbage cans, holes in fences), this should be considered a first step in your raccoon management plan.
There are several methods for managing raccoons. Exclusion with non-electric barriers can be effective, but they must be designed keeping in mind a raccoon’s ability to climb. Gardens and yards can be protected by an electric fence, but the cost, safety concerns, and legal barriers may make this approach impractical for many.
Other methods to discourage or frighten raccoons include the use of noise makers, lights, and radios or other constant, irritating sounds.
Moth balls have been suggested, but this is an illegal pesticidal use and probably ineffective. These devices will, at best, work for a very short period of time, measured in hours or days, due to habituation.
Raccoons are very comfortable in urban areas and readily grow accustomed to new items in their environment. In the case of an especially troublesome raccoon, the use of a cage or other legal trap and subsequent legal disposal of the animal may be the only solution. Raccoons are a protected species in most states (but not all); check with a local Department of Natural Resources conservation officer regarding procedures for trapping and removal of fur-bearing animals.
Finally, we would suggest developing tolerance. If buildings and food are secured from raccoon use, then most raccoons will just pass through the yard on their way to somewhere else. If the raccoon is using your yard as a toilet, be sure to visit our raccoon roundworm information to learn how to properly respond to this potential threat.