Being told I have to take captured raccoons 5 miles+ away or else they return. Say what?

So, had some raccoons take up residence in my attic. Got a trap, put some marshmallows in, and started catching them and taking them to a greenspace over 2 miles away, across an Interstate.

I cannot believe the number of people who insist that I am not taking them far enough, arguing that they will come back if I don’t take them 5 miles or further away.

Um… OK. Perhaps I am missing something, but I take the coon in the cage, put it in the trunk of my car, then drive the animal (who, being in the trunk is not mentally marking off landmarks, street signs, etc), then release him about 2.5 miles away. How, exactly, is that animal going to find his way back to my attic?

Perhaps I am missing something, or raccoons have a magic ability to navigate using memories of turns made while stuck in the trunk of a car… or perhaps my friends are full of shite. Or all 3.

Anyway, what’s the straight dope? Am I really at “risk” (for varying values of risk) of having them return? What have been your experiences?

'Coons like marshmallows? Didn’t know that! Seems like you are Raccon whisperer, clearly you know best. I have known people with raccoons in the attic they never could catch them, so they finally had to put rat poison out and murdered them. Really though 2 miles seems far enough, to me.

Obviously you need to tag them before you release them, then see if any of the tagged ones come back. If they do, then you need to release them further away next time. Repeat until you have your answer.

I have a friend who suffered a plague of squirrels. So he started trapping them and transporting them to a park about 1.9 miles from his house.

Despite numerous trips to the park, the population didn’t seem to be changing. So he took to spraying a spot of green paint on their tails before releasing them. He soon had a bunch of green-tailed squirrels capering around his yard and raiding the bird feeders.

How they navigated their way back from the park is a mystery. But his impression was that it typically took less than a day.

You don’t murder a rabies carrying pest.

I saw a racoon documentary a few years ago, can’t remember the title. It showed raccoons have a very large roaming territory, with many ‘dens’ to sleep at, that can take several days to circuit the route. If you dropped them off anywhere in that territory, then they’ll recognize it and eventually make the circuit back to your place for tasty tasty marshmallows.

The best trick I’ve heard is to throw the marshmallows over your neighbors fence.

I trap raccoons in our barn and take them to my business, roughly 7 miles away. I’ve never had one return (after trapping our barn remains empty for a good while). Raccoons love marshmallows, and you don’t accidentally catch cats like you do if you use sardines.

On the other hand, I photographed a black bear in my yard a few years ago. There was a white tag on the animal’s ear. Enlarging a picture, I was able to read the tag. According to the PA Game Commission, that bear was a nuisance animal that had damaged someone’s pool liner. He had been trapped, tranked, and relocated 70 miles away. it took the bear 3 months or less to return.

Given some thought to putting a dash of spray paint on their tails, but didn’t want to as, if the animal turns, the paint might get in her face. Any thoughts about how to tag them?

Edit: just saw Xema’s post. Spray paint it is!

I also caught a skunk. Was able to transport and release it without getting sprayed, thank God.

If you capture than and take them many miles away* they mostly die. *

So no need to move them far. Trap, seal up the attic, and let them go.

2 miles is well within their already-established roaming area, and they will know exactly how to get back to your place. 5 to 10 miles away, there is a better chance for them not to get their bearings.

Couple years ago, green 'coons were bringing $5 each on the fur market … more if you stretch, clean and dry them … just saying …

It is more humane to kill them right in the trap than to release them into a foreign place where they will starve, die of exposure, or be killed by the animals occupying that niche already.

Trap and release is a way to pretend that you are being humane because the cruel painful results of your efforts are out of sight.

I recommend gassing them with carbon monoxide.

and die.

I took raccoons 7 miles + crossed a river and skunks 5 miles and both were always off the mountain. ( moved dozens of skunks, never got sprayed using the sheet/blanket method )
Still had a few make it back.
I was feeding so as to get pictures. Only moved the trouble makers.
After a year or so I only had good critters.
My feed place in the yard was like a desert water hole, many strange combinations side by side and some with our cats & local dogs during the day. Even the coyotes behaved.
Armadillos were the only critters that were terminated if they got into the wife’s flowers or garden.
Location for this was central Arkansas. 2004 to 2013 or so.

Here is the way to get rid of the raccoons.

Before you release the raccoon, check your pockets for your cellphone and your ATM cards.

I don’t know for sure because I’ve never tried it but I’ve been led to believe that of the animals in North America that are considered varmints…raccoons are considered pretty good eating. Probably depends on how old they are and what they’ve been eating. Lots of recipes online.

They like pretty much everything.

I had one recently that made its way all the way to my pantry. The little bandit-mask at about 2 pounds of chocolate, a box of Rice Krispies, a couple boxes of pasta, a couple boxes of energy bars, and a bag of potato chips. I also knew of one that tried to eat a bottle of superglue - not sure how that turned out for the raccoon, but we didn’t find any alive or dead with a sealed-shut mouth so… whatever.

But they are definitely partial to sweet things.

The wildlife control professional hired for the latest infestation used cheap cat food to bait the cages.

Blindfold them, and make a few extra turns.