In all honesty, you could probably put ANYTHING in a raccoon trap and the raccoon will check it out. Well, actually, that isn't quite the case, because there is such a thing as a trap-shy raccoon, but the actual bait itself is one of the least important parts of the entire raccoon trapping business. Read more about How to trap a raccoon
Raccoons eat garbage. They eat bad food that people throw out. They eat leftovers. They'll even dead animal carcasses if they are lucky enough to find one. A scavenger and an opportunistic hunter, very little is off-limits as far as food is concerned.
We have compiled a list of the 10 best (and some of the worst) raccoon bait ideas for traps:
10 – Cat or dog food: Raccoon seem to love this, but so do cats, dogs, rats, opossums, skunks, and other animals. You'll probably end up with one of the neighbor's cats in the trap, or some wild animal that you weren't targeting.
9 – Meat products: Human meat products aren't a bad idea, but they'll go bad quick and likely attract all sorts of other animals, including the neighbor's cat, once again.
8 – Fresh fruits & veg: These will last a couple of days in the trap, depending on what kind of food you're using. Fresh food will obviously turn bad quicker than processed foods will, but if you have some leftovers, you could throw them in the trap to work as bait. As we've said, raccoons will eat anything.
7 – Sweet foods: Jam, strawberries, anything that is really sweet will attract raccoons, but it might also attract flies, wasps, bees, and other insects, which can be a problem all of their own in large enough numbers.
6 – Leftovers: Whatever you're just about to throw in the garbage could probably be used as bait. The raccoon will tear your garbage bag open to get to your leftovers overnight anyway. You might as well save them the trouble.
5 – Eggs: These are probably going to be okay for a day or so before they need changing out, and raccoons will actually take the time and effort to break into a chicken coop and fight off chickens to get to the eggs inside. The only problem with eggs, of course, is that they are rather messy.
4 – Fish: This will come under the same restrictions and check-requirements as fresh meat baits, but raccoons do love to feel around in the waters of rivers, lakes, and streams in order to get to the marine life there.
3 – Raccoon bait: You can buy "special" raccoon bait in some stores and online, but there is no evidence to support the theory that it works better than anything you might already have in your kitchen. In fact, you would probably have more success with something out of your actual garbage can.
2 – Marshmallows: Raccoons seem to really love marshmallows, and we can't exactly blame them. They are delightful, especially on top of a hot chocolate on a cold winter's day. Heat may cause the marshmallows to turn gooey, but if you put them on top of something, it shouldn't cause a problem with the workings of the trap. Again, this is a sweet treat so may also attract ants and wasps or bees.
1 – Bread: You can't really go wrong with bread, but it can sometimes attract rats and mice. If the trap is outside of your home and your home is correctly sealed, you won't have too much of a problem.
In the grand scheme of things, bait really isn't that important. The placement of the trap is important, as well as the size of it, mechanisms within it, how camouflaged you have tried to make it look, and much more besides. In all seriousness, the bait really is the last thing on the agenda — you could grab most things from your kitchen and have equal success.
Go back to the Raccoon Removal
page, or learn tips to do it yourself with my How to Get Rid of Raccoons
guide. You may also want to read What happens to a raccoon after a rehabilitator traps it?