Raccoons in the Attic

What is the Best Bait to Catch Raccoons?

Bait: Raccoons will eat almost anything, but marshmallows may be the best. But wait! Bait doesn't matter! It's trap location that is key!

Raccoon Bait - What is the Best Bait to Catch Raccoons?

Raccoons are sometimes easy to trap, and sometimes very difficult. But when it comes to the matter of bait alone, there are no problems. Raccoons are omnivores. They like a variety of foods. You can use several types of baits or foods to catch raccoons in a cage trap. Any meat-based bait, like cat food, or grain-based bait is fine. But I personally recommend marshmallows because sweets won't attract stray cats or skunks as easily.

But here's the deal: when it comes to trapping, bait is the least important concern. With raccoons in the attic, the most important thing is to get the correct target raccoons, not every last raccoon in the neighborhood. You want to find out how the raccoons are entering your house, through some hole, and mount a trap right on that hole. No bait required! Trapping is about a lot more than just bait! Bait is the least important part of the equation. Read more about raccoon trapping for tips and proper techniques.

Raccoon Bait - What is the Best Bait to Catch Raccoons?

Raccoons Like Marshmallows

Marshmallows are my favorite bait because raccoons are drawn to the shape and color (like eggs), they like sweets, and this won't catch stray cats or skunks.

Reece's Cups? Why Not?

Once again, sweet baits minimize the catch of non-target species. But I'll say over and over again - bait is really the least important aspect of trapping.

Fresh Fruit

A lot of foods will catch them. But the bait does not matter a whole lot. Read my raccoon trapping guide for advice.

Baby Raccoons

If you want to catch a mother raccoon in an attic, no bait in the world works better than her own litter of young, set in the back of a cage trap.

Information About Raccoon Bait - What is the Best Bait to Catch Raccoons?

Raccoon Bait – What Is The Best Bait To Catch Raccoons?
Because of the incredible amount of damage that raccoons can cause to your property and the risk of disease spread through their droppings, it is important to get raccoons off your property or out of your home as soon as possible. When you notice raccoons living in your attic or another area, contact a professional right away or start preparing your raccoon trap to resolve the issue yourself. As with trapping any other type of animal, bait is an important component, although it is not the most crucial. Find out what baits work best for trapping raccoons.

How To Skip Bait
If you use the right type of cage or opt for a one-way exclusion device instead, you won’t even need any bait to take care of your raccoon problem. For that to work, you have to put the cage over the entrance that the animals use to get in and out of your attic. Simply mount the cage to the exit and the next time they leave, they will find themselves inside a cage. This can be a bit complicated, however, particularly with raccoons in the attic since these animals weigh as much as 30 pounds so the cage must be attached firmly enough to support their weight. You can also skip bait and put a one-way door other exclusion device over this exit instead of a trap. Neither option requires bait since the raccoon would go there anyway.

Raccoons’ Favorite Baits
The good news is that raccoons are opportunistic when it comes to their diet so you can use almost anything as bait and see similar results. Even so, they do have some clear preferences, such as sweet items and those that are round and white like eggs. This combination means that marshmallows are the preferred bait of professionals when it comes to trapping raccoons. If you don’t have marshmallows on hand and don’t want to go buy some, you can really use nearly anything you have on hand. Pet food, particularly canned pet food, is also an excellent option, but raccoons will also be attracted to candy, vegetables, white bread, chicken, or nearly anything else. After all, they are known for digging through people’s trash to find their next meal.

Bait For Mother Raccoons
In the case of mother raccoons with a nest of babies, the young themselves will be the best bait. When the mother leaves to get food, put on a good pair of gloves and grab the baby raccoons, placing them in the back portion of a cage. When the mother returns, she will go right into the cage to get to her babies.

Baits To Avoid
While baits like chicken and wet pet food work well for raccoons that are in your attic or inside your home, you should not use them to catch a raccoon that is outside or anywhere other animals may be. This type of bait can very easily attract local domestic cats or other animals you don’t want like skunks or opossums. Therefore, if you are setting up the trap outside, try to stick to marshmallows or white bread.

What Matters More Than Bait
As mentioned earlier, raccoons do prefer some baits over others, but the type of trap you use and where you place it are more important. This is part of the reason that hiring a professional is the best idea if you want to successfully trap the raccoons in question. One of the most important things they will check is that they are using the right trap. You need a live cage trap that can easily fit a raccoon without causing damage, ideally 32 inches long at a minimum. The trap also has to be set up perfectly with the right pan tension and the entire thing must be stable. If the trap isn’t stable, the raccoon may not go in at all, since it will be much more likely to notice it.

It is also crucial that you put the trap in the right spot, something that can be more important than the bait you use. Make sure that the raccoon actually explores the area where you place the trap or better yet, put it in an area you know the animal typically walks by. You also need to bring the raccoon’s attention to the trap, ideally through a trail of bait. Therefore the way that you set up the bait is as important as what you choose. Ideally, you should set up a small trail of bait leading to the trap and then place the majority of it in the extreme back of the bait. This way, the raccoon will need to step on the trip pan to reach it.

Before you think about using bait and trapping a raccoon yourself, you need to carefully think about everything. In most areas of the country, it is not actually legal to trap a raccoon without a special permit. If they do allow you to trap the animals, they require you to kill them in a certain way. Only licensed people can relocate raccoons after trapping them, which is another reason to hire a professional.

The Bottom Line

Raccoon Bait - What is the Best Bait to Catch Raccoons? Remember, a trap bolted to the exit hole is more effective than a cage trap set on the ground or even the roof. No bait needed! But if you're using a cage trap, set it in the right locations, bolted to the roof or fascia boards, and in the shade, and bait it with marshmallows. If you want to hire someone to do this, read more about how much does raccoon removal cost.