How to Trap Raccoons (With Live Traps)

how to trap raccoons

Quality raccoon traps, if used correctly, will give you high success rates.

In this post, I’ve discussed how to trap raccoons. Check these racoon facts.

Caution: But check with the local authorities if raccoon trapping is legal or how to do it humanely.

Related: How to control Racoons

How to Trap Raccoons

Step 1: Select a Raccoon Trap

Raccoons are adaptive wild animals. They host pests like roundworms and spread rabies, and will forage in your garbage bins. Killing or hunting raccoons is illegal in some states.

You can trap and then relocate them. Raccoon traps are a humane way to remove these fur-bearing wild animals.

Exterminators recommend getting raccoon traps that are either extra-large or large-sizes (with its length measuring roughly 32 to 42 inches).

Raccoon traps will come with 1 or 2 doors – from which you’ll select the one that serves your specific purpose.

  • One-Door Trap Model: This model is a favorite among raccoon exterminators and provides superior level of protection on the trap bait. Allows faster and simple enter/ trapping of the raccoons and other wild animals.
  • Two-door Trap Model: Allows double entry allowance and thus provides improved raccoon catch rate. Also, since it’s a see-through traps, the raccoons will be calmed.

Step 2: Decide on the Trap Placement Location

First, set up the trap around areas that you’ve seen raccoons frequent or where there is evidence of their damage. Place the raccoon trap on a flat surface.

I had tried trapping some raccoons (around a creek that had animals tracks, near barns/ houses) for about a month but they kept eloping me. However, raccoons will generally love location such as:

  1. Mulch beds
  2. Attics
  3. Woodpiles
  4. Hollow Trees
  5. Porches
  6. Along walls
  7. Below structures
  8. Fence lines
  9. Sheds

Related: Best Raccoon Traps

Step 3: Bait The Racoon Trap

I noted great success with using trap baits like penut butter, marshmellows, sardines, cat food, fish oil spray, and vanilla. Ensure you put wool at the bottom as it’ll hold the scent of the liquid for longer.

Raccoons, like most wild animals, definitely love sweet snacks and food such as watermelon and marshmallows.

However, keenly place the bait in the right position of your raccoon trap. This should be in a location that’ll allow the raccoon to fully enter the trap.

Notably, some nasty wild animals like raccoons may knock over the trap as they target to steal your hard sourced bait. Further, place a brick or weight on the trap – this will secure the trap is safe.

Related: Do Moles Have Eyes?

Step 4: Finally, Set the Raccoon Trap

Now, it’s now that you keenly set the trap’s door or doors in the raccoon traps ready to trap the nasty wild rodents. Do this keenly on a flat or even surface.

Check the trap usage instruction in the manual for different requirements. After setting the trap, now, it’s time to test-drive the trigger-and-close systems through pressing down the provided trigger plate.

However, if you’re setting the trap in hard surfaces such as concrete, first lay down a protective surface like plywood to protect the animal’s paws when attempting to dig its way out of the tar.

Related: How to Trap Raccoons

Rules for Using Raccoon Traps

1. Open Trap Doors only at Night (Raccoons are Nocturnals)

Raccoons are very cunning wild animals (rodents for that matter). Therefore, recent research shows that the back of the raccoon trap must be covered using a half-inch wire mesh to ensure that the raccoon won’t steal the bait from outside the trap.

Definitely, the rodents will attempt to get the bait via the trap bars. However, because raccoons are nocturnal, you should only open the traps during the night. This’ll prevent the trap catching animals such as cats or rats.

2. Place Bait Trap leading to Trap Door

Next, place the bait in a manner that it’ll leave a trail that leads to your raccoon trap. For example, one piece of the raccoon bait must be positioned around the raccoon trail.

Also, you can place it around places food was located. This will trap the raccoon as it attempts to get back to where it ate the food last time.  But first, ensure you remove the food.

3. Practices for Humana Raccoon Trapping

For human treatment of the Raccoons, you should put 1-2 tennis balls in the raccoon traps and thus allow the large rodents to release its frustration and energy. Further, for the smaller animal, you can offer some piece of wood.

Related: Best racoon baits

4. Put on Gloves

Notably, since raccoons have some sensitive nose, you’ll need to put on some gloves when you’re setting up the rodent trap. Further, was the new raccoon traps using vinegar and water as this will eliminate animals oils.

Further, was the new racoon traps using vinegar and water as this will eliminate animals oils. Next, create a mist around the raccoon trap using a spray of aromatic vegetation (or fir needles) and water – this will help conceal the smell of human beings.

5. Fix the Racoon Cage Securely

Lastly, by any possible way, ensure you fix the raccoon cage securely. But why? Well, raccoons are relatively heavy – weighting anything from 5-25 kg.

Therefore, with some simple manoeuvres, the wild animals can flip the cage and flee. Further, fixing the cage properly avoid cases where the raccoon would tilt the cage and easily pick the bait.


  1. Trap-Vaccinate-Release Program to Control Raccoon Rabies … – NCBI
  2. Best Management Practices for Trapping Raccoons in the United States 
  3. Trapping Nuisance Wildlife | Purdue Extension Forestry & Natural

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