How to Scare Raccoons Off of Your Roof

Raccoons might look cute, and there are certainly charming, but if you own a home or any other property they can be a downright problem.


Raccoons are notorious for breaking into garbage cans and compost piles, and also for infiltrating attics, chimneys, and other parts of the structure from the roof.

Many homeowners arriving home after nightfall have seen the glint of raccoon eyes up on the ridge of their roof before they even get out of their car.

It only seems humorous until it happens to you. Keeping raccoons off of your roof is important to prevent them from getting inside your home where they can make a mess and cause damage.

In this article, we will share with you 11 proven ways for scaring raccoons off of your roof.

1. Male Raccoon Scent

Raccoons have an incredibly advanced sense of smell, far better than that of a human. They rely on their noses to find food, locate friends and family and find their way cautiously around the environment.

Most of the methods on this list will be scent-based to use the raccoon’s sense of smell against it, and we will start with one of the best: the excretions of a male raccoon.

The scent of a male raccoon, sometimes known as boar scent, is proven to drive away female raccoons, particularly those with young.

If you have raccoons getting up on your roof and trying to break into your house, chances are very good it is a female looking for a place to nest, so leading with male raccoon scent is a great option.

The reason why is pretty interesting. Far from being good fathers or uncles, male raccoons are fairly notorious for killing young raccoons, even their own, so females with young or females that are expecting instinctively avoid the scent of a male in the area. You can get the specialty product at pest control stores or online.

2. Black Pepper

Black pepper is a delicious seasoning for us, but a repulsive odor to a raccoon. Black pepper has the added advantage of irritating the delicate sinuses of the animal, further incentivizing it to head in the other direction.

Perhaps best of all, black pepper is extremely safe, environmentally friendly, and cheap.

Your best bet for using black pepper to scare raccoons off of your roof is to liberally season it all around areas where they are able to climb up or able to get into your home, particularly around soffit vents, attic vents, and chimneys.

Its effectiveness will be greatly reduced if it gets wet, so expect to replenish it after a rain.

3. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper works much the same as black pepper for our purposes, with the added benefit of the punch of capsaicin.

Capsaicin is the compound that makes spicy food hot, and is a known and severe irritant of mammalian tissues, including raccoons’!

Once raccoons get a whiff of this stuff it will probably start hurting, and will be highly likely to drive them away.

Like black pepper, it is quite cheap, environmentally safe, and widely available, but it wears out relatively quickly so you’ll need to replenish it periodically.

4. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is yet another kitchen staple that works wonders at repelling raccoons; only this stuff smells a lot nicer than the other things on our list.

The volatile compounds that give cinnamon its distinctive taste and flavor are absolutely revolting to raccoons and it might also be irritating if they inhale it.

You know the drill by now: sprinkle cinnamon powder all around the places where raccoons might be able to climb up to your roof or get inside your house.

With a little luck, once they run into this stuff they’ll get so freaked out they just run away and won’t come back. Don’t forget to re-lay your powder periodically.

5. Epsom Salt

Epsom salt might at first seem like an odd choice for raccoon repellent, especially when you consider that it doesn’t really have a smell. But surprisingly, Epsom salt does have a smell, at least to raccoons!

If you have an old box of Epsom salt in your medicine cabinet or bathroom closet that you aren’t using, this is the perfect way to use it up for a good cause. This stuff is irritating to raccoons, and they can smell it from quite a distance.

It is so cheap and the granules are so small is easy to spread Epsom salt all over the place for very little money, and in doing so it won’t bother you or your family.

You can spread the dry granules of Epsom salt around, or dilute it in water to deploy it with a sprayer.

Soaking the perimeter of your home and your roof line with Epsom salt solution should be more than enough to keep raccoons down and off of it.

6. Mothballs

The smell of mothballs is distinctive, and unpleasant, and mothballs get this smell from an ingredient called naphthalene.

You already know how mothballs make your nose wrinkle when you smell them, so you can imagine how much worse it will be for raccoons.

Mothballs are easy to place and can be used inside or out, but you’ll need to take care to ensure that they stay in place and don’t blow away.

I prefer to place these just inside attic openings and around vents to concentrate the smell and let raccoons know that they aren’t welcome.

7. Predator Urine

Raccoons, like most smaller prey animals, are highly sensitive to the presence or possible presence of predators.

One of the most obvious tells that a predator could be in the immediate area is the scent of its urine. If you don’t mind a gross solution, it could be just the thing to send raccoons packing.

Lots of animals will kill and eat raccoons, foremost among them wolves and coyotes but bobcats are another possibility.

You can usually get predator urine by ordering it online or looking up hunting supply outlets in your area.

Be warned, however, because predator urine smells pretty nasty no matter what species that comes from and you want to take care to avoid letting that odor get in your home.

8. Owl Decoy

Sometimes showing the raccoons that a predator is present, or what they think is a predator, will scare the bejesus out of them and convince them to flee the area.

Since you probably aren’t going to put a caged predator animal on your roof, you’ll need a decoy.

One of the most commonly available and effective decoys for the purpose is a large owl.

Great horned owls in particular are fantastically successful, common predators and they do prey upon raccoons, particularly small adults and young.

The sight of a convincing owl decoy lurking on or near your roof will probably be enough to get rid of the raccoons, though you’ll need to take care to reposition them every so often to maintain the charade.

9. Metal Reflector

Sometimes a strange or spectacular sight is enough to keep animals at bay, even ones as curious and intelligent as raccoons.

There is some evidence to suggest that those twirly, metal lawn decorations that spin in the wind might give raccoons enough pause to convince them to stay at a distance or look elsewhere for a nesting site.

It certainly stands to reason that they don’t see anything like this in nature!

Keep in mind, though, that raccoons are highly adaptable and intelligent, and if they linger in the area they will eventually learn that the strange spinning thing is no threat.

Try using this as a temporary countermeasure while you get something more effective in place.

10. Loud Noises

Most small animals will retreat from loud sounds, so if you have raccoons milling around on your roof or making their way up, you might try creating a commotion, yelling, banging pipes together or some other method of startling them.

But just a little bit of luck, they will retreat off of the roof to get away from you. However, if they have already been inside your home they might just head inside!

11. Bright Light

Raccoons move around a lot at night, and being in broad daylight makes them nervous.

Spotlighting raccoons with a powerful flashlight could convince them that they are in danger and hopefully get them to retreat.

If you notice raccoons moving around up on your roof, get the most powerful flashlight or spotlight that you have available and light them up. Maybe they will jump down and run for it.

2 thoughts on “How to Scare Raccoons Off of Your Roof”

  1. ive had a coon trying to dig thru my roof twice! its caused $300.00 worth of damage so far! ive taken your good ideas and them some! i have two led porch lights that are motion activated, and light up the entire back yard and parts of the roof where theyve been digging. but WAIT! THERES MORE! I bought 3 motion activated solar powered spot lights (garden land scape light style) for 16.00 each, strapped 2 of them on to fixtures outside in the back, and aimed on the roof, and the other screwed into with the base included in the purchase onto my mud room facing the roof as well. these things light up and turn on even if a bug flies by! STILL not done! we got two owls, as u suggested. We put one in the front (after about 15 seconds at 4pm, out front, you couldve heard a PIN DROP! birds stopped chirping, ALMOST immediately lol, course the squirrels got a bit too use to the owl in front and started playing around the tree where it WAS hanging. (we ve definitely been moving them more frequently, that has fixed those little squirrels.. lol) the one in back we strapped onto what my wife calls her whirly gig, (its a clothesline that that has the extends like an umbrella, yeah, those kind) i turn the clothesline 180 degrees every other day. Still not done! ive thrown 4 or 5 moth balls in the attic crawl spaces. WAIT WAIT!! THERES MORE! i have an ace in the hole! i have TWO tipman paintball pistols loaded with pink paintballs. (i unloaded the the riot balls and pepper balls, im not a monster lol) both paintball guns are waiting for action and on the dryer as you go out the back door.. maybe, juuuuust maybe ill get to use them! so far, no! 🙁

  2. Not exactly the same problem… I had squirrels eating the edges of anything plastic on my patio–chairs, storage boxes, etc. I mixed a lot of cayenne powder into some clear outdoor paint and painted the edges of the items. It seems to work, and it seems to last longer than just sprinkling, as this is rain proof. Obviously my white chairs look ridiculous with the tinted paint job, but at least the edges are no longer being gnawed. Not sure if it would work for critters on the roof as an odor deterrent.

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