Raccoons can't be trapped or hunted without a license from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The Game department maintains a list of professional wildlife trappers available for hire. Visit their website or call their Wildlife Conflict Hotline at 855-571-9003 for more information.

Raccoons in your chimney?

Keep the damper closed and put a blaring radio in the fireplace. Then, put a bowl of ammonia on a footstool near the damper. Apply these deterrents just before dusk, and remember that it may take several days for a mother and her young to move. Once they're gone, install a mesh chimney cap with a stainless steel top to keep them from coming back.

Raccoons in the attic?

Leave the lights on, turn on a blaring radio and put rags soaked in ammonia around the attic. You can also add cayenne pepper around the attic and put a drop light over the nesting area. Once the raccoons leave, seal any entry holes.

Raccoons in dumpsters?

Place strong branches or wooden boards in the dumpster so they can climb out. Keep the lid closed to avoid this problem in the future.

Raccoons around the house and yard?

All food material, especially pet food left outside, will attract raccoons. Make sure all pet food is kept in a closed secure container. Also, keep tight-fitting covers on garbage cans around camps and homes, and keep the garbage area clean and odor free.

Raccoon habits and health concerns

Raccoons seen during the day are not necessarily a cause for concern. Although they are considered nocturnal, mother raccoons often forage for food during the day when they have nursing cubs. And coastal raccoons may take advantage of the tides in gathering food. Raccoons are omnivorous, eating both plant and animal food.

Raccoons may carry rabies or become ill due to the distemper virus. Caution should be taken with them as with any other wildlife. Avoid overly aggressive raccoons or any wild animal that approaches people without hesitation.

Raccoons showing abnormal behavior, such as partial paralysis, circling, staggering as if drunk or disoriented, self-mutilation, screeching or unprovoked aggressions should be reported to Animal Control or the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.


Remember that raccoons are indigenous to the area and fulfill an ecological niche, helping to regulate rodent and other pest populations. Under state law, they can't be relocated, needlessly killed or harassed.

Go online for more information about Virginia's raccoons.