What to do with a raccoon after you catch it
So you’re looking to a caught raccoon, or have already caught one, and want to know what the next step is. There are three options: release it on-site, relocate it, or euthanize it. However, not all these options are viable, and some are better than others. There’s also the possibility that your captured raccoon has kits waiting for her, which makes things more complicated. You’ve caught raccoon that’s been causing problems, now what do you with it?
What to do with a captured raccoon
The first thing you should do (if you hadn’t done it before setting the trap) is to check the regulations for handling caught raccoon with your local state laws. The state regulations will have a significant influence on your next step. Most states don’t allow raccoon relocation. Instead, you may find that you’re required to perform either an on-site release
(set it loose back into your yard) or on-site euthanasia. Whatever your most viable option is, you don’t want to leave the raccoon in the cage for long. The animal is scared and will become dehydrated.
Be very careful when handling the trap; wear gloves, and don’t put your fingers through the cage. Check the underside of the raccoon for swollen teats; if present, then she also has babies.
You’ll need to find them as well and either put them where the mother can find them (if you release her on-site) or take them to a wildlife rehabilitation service (if you relocate or kill the mother).
Read on to learn more about your options.
Releasing raccoons on-site
Releasing the raccoon on-site is potentially the most humane (and legal) option. When all the appropriate precautions are in place, this is the best solution when removing raccoons.
Before releasing the raccoon, repair any holes that it was using, or could use to return to your property. You’ll need to make these repairs regardless of how you handle the trapped raccoon; otherwise, another animal will move in to replace it. Once you’ve fixed or covered the holes with steel flashing, you can release the raccoon back into your yard to find a new home.
Wear gloves anytime as a precaution to get from diseases that you are handling the cage. When releasing the raccoon, stay behind the cage with the door pointed away from you. Aim the door towards foliage or a garden so that the raccoon has somewhere to run and hide.
Relocating raccoons isn’t as good an option as it may sound. Raccoons have a set territory within which they know where to find food, water, and shelter. Relocating the raccoons puts them in a new environment where they will have to compete with others already living in the area. The reality is, even though you may think you’re giving them their best chance by relocating them back to their “natural environment,” most don’t survive the transfer.
It’s also illegal in most states unless you are a licensed wildlife removal or rehabilitation agency. So if you really want to take this route, you’re better off taking the raccoon to a professional.
Killing the raccoon
As with relocation, check your local state laws. Some states list it as one of two options for dealing with trapped raccoons, but others prohibit it. If you are going to kill the raccoon, do it humanely; make sure that it’s quick and efficient.