Raccoon Bait

I'm guessing you're here because you have some sort of a raccoon problem, you want to trap it, and you want to know what kind of bait to use to catch raccoons in a trap. The short answer is: anything. Raccoons are omnivores. They will scavenge almost anything they can find. They are very common in urban areas because they eat out of garbage cans and restaurant dumpsters and from pet food dishes, etc.

Raccoons will eat bread, chicken, rice, dog food, sweet corn, muffins, bananas, scrambled egg, pork, candy, ham, pancakes, sardines, french fries, bacon, oranges, hamburgers, fresh salmon, cheese, ice cream, pancakes, croissants, smoked or canned fish, broccoli, bologna, buns, donuts, crayfish, salt, onions, wet cat food, tomato soup, cupcakes, strawberries, caviar, fried okra, pizza, steak, honey, hard boiled eggs, lemons, sugar, rotting burritos, coca-cola, yams, sausage, beer, apples, peanut butter, leftover turkey, watermelon, tacos, carrots, dry pet food, milk, cucumbers, pineapple, hot dogs, and macaroni and cheese.

Marshmallows. If you must know one best bait, it's marshmallows, for a variety of reasons - raccoons are drawn to round white things, like eggs, they like sweets, this bait is easy to set, etc. But bait is really only 1% of the equation, if that. Type of bait doesn't matter. I have some very important things to say about raccoon trapping. Also, it's very important that you identify the type of raccoon problem, because different problems MOST DEFINITELY require different approaches. It's not as simple as just laying down a cage trap on the ground, and then voila, your problem is solved.

Click here for my full guide on raccoon trapping tips and learn 8 factors more important than bait!

NOTE: I have received so many requests for professional help with raccoons, that I have spent hundreds of hours compiling a complete United States directory of people who can help. Click here for a complete listing of hundreds of professional raccoon removal experts serving every city in the USA.

So go ahead, use pet food, dog food, fried chicken, white bread, vegetables, meat, candy, whatever you want, but bait does not matter. What kind of bait do you use in a trap is irrelevant. You can use any kind of food to put in a cage to catch raccoons, or even a number of scents and professional liquid baits. Trapping technique and properly addressing the situation at hand is far more important than a mere lure. I'm going to outline a list of articles below, which you should read before simply setting a trap with bait.

What brand of cage trap is best? Should you use a nose cone? Is a single-door or double-door trap better? Is exclusion without trapping an option? Read all about it on my raccoon trapping supplies page, featuring photos and analysis about different brands from Havahart, Tomahawk, etc.

Article about Raccoons in the basement.
Article about Raccoons in the crawl space.
Article about Raccoons in the house or home.
Article about Raccoons in the wall.
Article about Raccoons in the ceiling.
Article about Raccoons in the attic.
Article about Raccoons on the roof.
Article about Raccoons in the chimney.
Article about How to Make a Raccoon Trap.
Article about How to Hunt Raccoons.

You may also want to read about raccoon poison.
If you do catch one, read about raccoon relocation.
Read more about What attracts raccoons?

Click below photos for more examples of trap sets by professionals:

Cage shy raccoon - If you've got a raccoon that refuses to enter a trap, bait is not usually the piece of the puzzle you need to solve. There are a number of reasons why a raccoon might be dubbed “cage shy”. The animal may have had a previous experience with a cage trap. Raccoons have fantastic memories, and if this is the case, you’ll have to do more than just bolt the trap to the outside of your roof. Before you go to extreme measure to catch the animal, make sure what you’re seeing is really an animal that is cage shy. Sometimes amateur homeowners have inappropriately set or placed traps, making the suspicious. It’s not really the animal; it’s the way the trap has been set. A raccoon will almost never enter a trap just set up on the attic floor. That’s your first mistake. They will also avoid a trap set on uneven ground that wobbles or makes a suspicious noise. Cage traps that are open on both ends are more likely to catch an animal because they feel there is an exit route. Perhaps your cage isn’t set in the animal’s travelling path. A raccoon will usually trek the same way to and from your home. If the trap is out in the middle of the yard, you’re probably not going to catch the raccoon. You can try different bait, but most of the time, type of trap and trap placement are far more relevant.

Raccoon trapping sets regardless of bait - Raccoon trapping sets usually refers to the type of trap set out in the woods for the purpose of fur trapping. A homeowner with a nuisance issue is better off using a cage trap or calling in a professional. Raccoon trapping sets come in two different varieties: holding sets and body gripping sets. The holding sets will latch on to a leg of the animal and firmly hold them in place until the hunter returns to the location. Body gripping traps are always lethal, killing the quarry through crushing or localized pressure. The key to setting any trap, at home or in nature, is to know where to set it and how to set it. You want to place the device in the animal’s path of travel. This means doing some research before you go out into the woods. You will also need to make sure the trap is concealed as naturally as possible or the raccoon will know something is up. With cage traps, you do not want to cover the trap with an excessive amount of sticks or leaves. Cage traps, if baited, will work fine as long as they are on level ground. If the raccoon goes to step in and the cage wobbles, it will scare the animal. A cage-wary critter is always more difficult to catch.


Actual Situation: Hello David, I hope you can help me, I'm at my wits end. I have an animal literally tearing up my back yard. I am 99.9% sure it's a raccoon. I have seen raccoon tracks on my back patio; I am familiar with what their tracks look like. Every so often I will see a raccoon in the back of my home. (I live in Florida just outside of Daytona Beach. I live next to a canal, and have woods beyond my property line in the back.)
I've tried mothballs, but as I just read in your article these don't work unless it's in an attic. I learned that the hard way after spreading 6 boxes all over the back yard and still having my yard dug up.
I have spread a mixture that I bought at my local Lowe's that is supposed to kill bugs in the dirt. I know the coons are digging for bugs to eat. That does not stop them from digging.
I also bought another mixture I spread that is supposed to repel a long list of animals including raccoons for up to 2 months. The second night after spreading it I had more new holes dug in my lawn. It didn't work.
I recently bought a Havahart trap. The first night I put cabbage leaves in it (of course, always beyond the trap trigger). The next morning the cabbage leaves were still in there, the trap door was down, but no animal inside. The next night I put a piece of Parmesan cheese in the trap. Next morning no cheese, and the trap door was not even down. Last night I put another piece of Parmesan cheese in the center of the area beyond the trap trigger with an X cut partway down into the cheese. I tied the cheese to the cage floor sinking the string into the X to secure it, and tied it with a square knot. Next morning, no cheese, string uncut, trap door down, no coon. Is there another bait that I should be trying?  Will they only go after grubs in the ground?
Like I said before, I'm at my wits end. Can you offer any help, please? Thank you. Sincerely, Colette

My response: I don't think you'll be able to kill all the bugs in your dirt that the raccoon is going after. Your best bet, for a raccoon that habitually engages in a destructive behavior, is to trap and remove and relocate the animal. Trapping is honestly not very simple. The type of bait doesn't matter, but MANY other factors do. Your best bet may be to hire a pro, such as the guy I have in Daytona Beach, from looking at my directory.