Raccoons are opportunistic omnivores, eating almost anything they get their paws on. However, like many animals, they have some favorite foods. Designed to be irresistible to raccoons, raccoon baits, which are made from some of their favorite ingredients, help lure raccoons into raccoon traps. Special baits make the trap-baiting process straightforward, with no need to dig around the pantry for raccoon-friendly snacks. Commercial raccoon baits, designed for common trap types, come in various forms, including chum mixes, pastes, and pellets. Chock-full of raccoon-attracting ingredients, the best raccoon baits make it easier to catch these clever pests.
- BEST OVERALL: Fox Peak Outdoor Supply Coon Gitter DP Bait
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Mark June’s Lures Coon Chum Raccoon Bait
- BEST WEATHER-RESISTANT: Wildlife Research Center Hard-Core Raccoon Lure #1
- BEST FOR AREAS WITH PETS: Dobbins’ Lure Coon Candy
- BEST FOR DOG-PROOF TRAPS: FPS Bible’s Baits and Lures Raccoon Bait
Before You Buy Raccoon Bait
As omnivores, raccoons will eat almost anything. While plenty of pantry foods are suitable for raccoon bait, commercial raccoon baits often are a more user-friendly and effective choice.
Before setting any trap or bait, ensure that your trapping method and relocation plan are legal in your jurisdiction—rules can vary from area to area.
Consider a few factors before buying the best raccoon trap bait. It may be more convenient and affordable to try a few pantry ingredients, such as marshmallows, wet cat food, fruit, canned fish, corn on the cob, and bacon or other fatty meats, before buying a raccoon-specific bait.
If food isn’t working, you may be wondering how to attract raccoons. Reach for a raccoon bait, but make sure to consider other animals in the area. If neighborhood dogs, cats, or other wild animals frequently wander in the area, look for a bait that’s less attractive to these animals (for example, a sweet bait). Lastly, never use bait with poison—not only is this cruel to the raccoon, but it can be dangerous to other animals. The best raccoon bait for live cage-trap situations is one that is safe for other animals.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Raccoon Bait
Paired with a live cage trap, raccoon bait is an effective and humane way to catch these cute but destructive critters. Consider a few factors, including the type of bait, its scent, specificity, and its likely location, when shopping for the best bait to catch raccoon intruders.
Liquid vs. Solid
Raccoon bait for traps come in a variety of types, from solid pellets and chum mixes to liquid pastes and oil-based solutions. Combining a variety of baits can be more effective, so shoppers may want to consider multiple types.
Solid raccoon baits can be used on their own: Simply load the pellets or chum into the trap. Since these baits are easy for raccoons to grab with their dexterous paws, make sure to place the bait out of reach of the trap walls.
Place liquid baits on a scent dispenser, such as a cotton ball or a “coon grabber” (a product designed for use in dog-proof raccoon traps). They also can be spread on a food item like a slice of bread, marshmallow, or piece of fruit.
Like many other animals, raccoons use their sense of smell to look for food, so it makes sense that stinky baits would attract raccoons. Some baits smell worse than others. Fish- or meat-based baits usually have a stronger scent than sweet baits, such as fruit-based options, but all baits have some scent.
Raccoon baits are formulated to have a scent that’s attractive to raccoons. However, some smelly baits (especially meat-based varieties) also can be attractive to other neighborhood critters. Baits with a sweet scent are usually less attractive to certain animals such as cats and skunks, so they’re a good choice in areas where these animals also roam.
However, strong-smelling baits may be unpleasant to handle. Since many raccoon baits should be replaced every few days, users who are sensitive to strong smells may prefer a less smelly option.
Meat-based baits can attract dogs, cats, opossums, skunks, and some other pests. Unfortunately, this is a risk users must take when using raccoon traps.
To lower the risk of capturing more carnivorous animals like cats, sweet raccoon baits are a good choice. Along with bait type, trap placement also matters. Placing the trap where you’ve seen raccoon activity also helps lower the chance of catching another animal passerby.
The trap’s location is arguably more important than the raccoon bait type. Place the trap in an area with high raccoon activity. Choosing the right location, such as beside the entrance to the raccoon’s hiding spot, helps ensure the raccoon notices the bait. To encourage the raccoon to go into the intended trap, create a trail of bait from the outside to inside the trap.
The intended trap location also helps determine the best raccoon bait type. Raccoon traps should be placed outdoors (not inside an attic, for example). In rainy areas, a water-resistant raccoon bait is a smart choice. Oil-based liquid baits and weatherproof raccoon pellets, which typically hold up better to wet conditions, are available.
Our Top Picks
Trapping an invasive raccoon can be tough, so the right bait can make the job easier. Set a successful raccoon trap with one of the best raccoon baits.
Made for versatile, mess-free application, Fox Peak Outdoor Supply Coon Gitter DP Bait is the best raccoon bait for most trapping situations. These raccoon pellets are a fuss-free choice for live cage traps, dog-proof traps, and dirt hole sets.
Application is easy. Sprinkle about a tablespoon or so of the pellets in and around the cage trap or fill the bait up to the trigger in a dog-proof trap. Since these pellets are dry, they eliminate the mess associated with using food and some liquid raccoon baits. The smell and taste of these raccoon-bait pellets entice adult and baby coons into the trap.
- Type: Pellets
- Ingredients: Unknown
- Stand-out feature: Easy application
- No mess
- Simple application
- Only a tablespoon or so is needed per trap
Get the Fox Peak Outdoor Supply raccoon bait on Amazon or Fox Peak Outdoor Supply.
Looking to set several raccoon traps? If so, reach for Mark June’s Lures Coon Chum Raccoon Bait. This chum-mix bait comes in a 64-ounce bottle, ideal for those who need to trap many raccoons.
This chum mix is made from a fragrant blend of crawfish, shrimp, and grain, resulting in a fishy concoction that tastes and smells irresistible to most raccoons. It’s also weatherproof, meaning it should stand up well to outdoor conditions. While this bait is designed for use in dog-proof traps, it’s also an effective choice for cage traps.
- Type: Chum mix
- Ingredients: Crawfish, shrimp, and grain
- Stand-out feature: Bulk size
- Bulk size ideal for large trapping jobs
- Fishy ingredients attract raccoons
- Ingredients also may attract cats and other critters
Get the Mark June’s Lures raccoon bait at Amazon, Bass Pro Shops, or Cabela’s.
Rain can quickly wash away some raccoon baits or turn them into a mushy mess. For a raccoon bait that holds up in wet weather, consider Wildlife Research Center Hard-Core Raccoon Lure #1. This raccoon bait is oily, so it doesn’t dilute in water or rain. It only needs to be topped up every 5 to 7 days to keep its intense and complex burning-sweet scent.
With no thickeners or fillers, this 100 percent pure raccoon-calling scent comes in a 4-ounce bottle. Use 10 to 20 drops per trap on a scent dispenser or piece of food, such as bread, marshmallows, or fruit.
- Type: Liquid
- Ingredients: Unknown
- Stand-out feature: Water-resistant
- Oily and water-resistant
- Intense sweet scent
- Can’t use alone; place on a scent dispenser or food
Get the Wildlife Research Center raccoon bait on Amazon, F&T Trading Post, or Wildlife Control Supplies.
All good raccoon baits should be pet-safe because a chance always exists that a pet or another animal could enter the trap. Sweet baits are unappealing to cats and may be less appealing to dogs and skunks. Dobbins’ Lure Coon Candy is a fruit paste-based sweet lure that’s effective on raccoons but less appealing to other neighborhood critters.
This very sweet lure is hard for raccoons to pass by without wanting a taste. Smear it directly on to trap parts, a small dispenser, or a piece of food.
- Type: Paste
- Ingredients: Fruit base
- Stand-out feature: Sweet lure
- Good for areas where pets roam
- Doesn’t appeal to cats
- Very sweet
- Sticky texture can be messy
Get the Dobbins’ Lure raccoon bait on Amazon or Wildlife Control Supplies.
Dog-proof traps are often used by hunters and fur trappers. These nonhumane traps have a narrow tube-like shape that allows raccoons to insert their paws while posing less of a risk to dogs. Made for use in dog-proof traps, FPS Bible’s Raccoon Bait is an excellent bait for hunters and fur trappers. It also can be used in cage traps and dirt hole sets.
Some baits are sweet, and others are meaty or fishy—this bait is both. The sweet, fishy smell attracts raccoons, while the fish taste keeps raccoons occupied until they trigger the trap.
- Type: Unknown
- Ingredients: Unknown
- Stand-out feature: Sweet, fishy odor
- Designed for use in dog-proof traps
- Sweet and fishy combo
- Can also be used on other trap types
- Fishy smell may attract cats
Get the FPS Bible’s raccoon bait on Amazon or Fox Peak Outdoor Supply.
Fox Peak Outdoor Supply raccoon bait is our top pick for the best raccoon bait because this pellet bait is effective and extremely easy to apply. For setting several traps, Mark June’s Lures raccoon bait is the best choice since it comes in an economical bulk size.
How to Make a DIY Raccoon Bait
Raccoons in the wild eat a varied diet that can include plants, seeds, eggs, fish and shellfish, fruit, and nuts. In urban areas, raccoons also rifle through garbage and eat all kinds of human food. Human food is safe and easy to use in raccoon traps, and many items that are likely to attract them are already in your fridge or pantry.
In human food, the best items to use in raccoon traps are high in sugar or fat, such as marshmallows, fruit, sweet corn, veggies coated in sugar or honey, bacon, fish, and cooked fatty meats. Use these foods alone or mix some together to create a DIY raccoon bait. Raccoons are also drawn to wet cat food. Human food also can be mixed with raccoon bait products to create a potent lure. Load the chosen bait into the trap according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
How We Chose the Best Raccoon Baits
When choosing the best raccoon baits, we first considered why shoppers might need raccoon bait, especially since many human foods often work. However, a good raccoon bait can offer benefits not available in human snacks, including effectiveness, ease of use, and concentrated formulas or bulk sizing. We used this criteria to narrow down the best bait for raccoons.
An excellent raccoon bait must live up to its intended use—attracting raccoons. To find the best raccoon baits, we considered the bait smell and/or ingredients list, looking for baits with sweet, fishy, or meaty scents and ingredients. Ideally, baits also should be easy to use, so we considered the manufacturer’s directions for each bait, choosing user-friendly options.
Users that need to set a lot of raccoon traps may find concentrated or bulk-size raccoon baits appealing because they typically are easier to apply and take up less storage space than human food.
Tips for Baiting a Raccoon
Choosing the best bait for raccoon trap use is only one part of setting up a successful trap. Also consider the trap’s location and the placement of the bait.
Wear gloves when handling and baiting the trap to avoid leaving your human scent on the trap. Before even attempting to trap the creature, acclimating the raccoon to the trap can help lead to a successful catch. Place the trap in an area with high raccoon activity and prop or tie the door open so that the trap can’t be triggered to allow the raccoon to snack on the bait without repercussions, creating a false sense of security.
When it’s time for the real deal, the bait’s placement is just as crucial as using the best bait. Make sure to place the bait in a spot that forces the raccoon to enter the trap fully (tail included!) and step on the trigger. The more the raccoon interacts with the trap trigger, the more likely it is to go off.
Strategically placed bait can encourage the raccoon to spend more time in the trap, increasing the chances of triggering its closing mechanism. Also make sure the bait isn’t too close to the trap wall, or the raccoon could swipe the bait from outside the trap.
Combining baits, whether with human food or different raccoon bait types, also can make the trap more attractive. Change or top up the bait every couple of days for best results (old bait can lose its smell), and check the raccoon trap at least daily.
- Use gloves when handling the raccoon trap and bait
- Consider acclimating the raccoon to the trap by leaving it open with bait inside
- Pay careful attention to bait placement
- Combining baits can yield better results
- Change or top up the bait occasionally
Plenty of advice about trapping raccoons is floating around the web. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, grabbing raccoon bait can simplify the trapping process. Raccoon baits are specifically formulated to be enticing to raccoons, making it easy to set traps without fussing with human food or canned cat foods. We’ve compiled some frequently asked questions and answers on baiting and trapping nuisance raccoons.
Q. What is a raccoon’s favorite thing to eat?
Raccoons will eat almost anything, but some of their favorite foods are sweet, fatty, and fishy foods. Some popular raccoon bait items include marshmallows, sweet corn, sweetened veggies, fruit, canned cat food, canned fish, bacon, and fatty meats.
Q. How do I trap a raccoon with food?
Paired with a raccoon trap, plenty of human foods can be used to attract raccoons. Choose a raccoon bait product or a food that appeals to raccoons and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for baiting and setting the trap.
Q. How long does it take to trap a raccoon?
It depends. It can take anywhere from less than a day to several days to trap a raccoon. The trap location, bait type, and bait location all play a role in raccoon trapping. If the trap isn’t successful in trapping the raccoon in a week or so, consider switching the bait or trap location.
Q. How do I catch a smart raccoon?
Raccoons are intelligent animals, and it’s not uncommon for them to become wary of traps. Familiarize the raccoon with the trap before setting it for the catch. Leave the trap open with bait inside, so the raccoon can freely walk in and out and become acquainted. Once the raccoon is less suspicious of the trap, it’s more likely to walk inside.
Q. Will coffee grounds keep raccoons away?
Raccoons typically don’t like coffee grounds, so spreading them on a yard or garden can help deter raccoons. However, for many situations, it’s more effective to trap and relocate the raccoon to get it away from your home.