Smart, agile, and mischievous, raccoons are an industrious animal both in rural and urban settings. Truly adaptable, raccoons can survive in almost any environment. Even though they are talented at survival, like most other varmints that creep into our homes, raccoons would like to live a high quality of life without exerting a lot of effort.
If you have a raccoon in your ceiling, you can usually tell by the variety of noises you hear. An animal as large as a cat—and most often larger—will not be a quiet resident. Vocalizations are very common, especially if a raccoon is raising infants or preparing to mate. Loud sounds of travel, most likely at dawn and dusk, are indicators of a raccoon living in the ceiling. But why would a raccoon want to rip off a shingle and live overhead?
The answer to the above question is pretty simple. Food and shelter, the basic necessities of life, are the drive behind most animal behaviors. Ceilings are excellent spots for any warm-blooded animal to make into a nest. Heat rises, making ceilings, attics, and crawlspaces exceptionally warm in the winter months. Superior construction also aids to the attraction of a house ceiling. Unlike a den in the forest, which likely has leaks and is susceptible to wind currents and predators, a home built for people is impressively stable and resilient.
Think about your ceiling. If you do not have an attic, or much of one to speak of, chances are the space between the drywall in your home ceiling and the shingles of your roof is a small, barren space, free from most pipes and wires. Chimneys that protrude through roofing structures are fantastic sources of warmth for raccoons. An animal that prefers close quarters will enjoy the tight squeeze required for ceiling living.
Getting your sneaky pest out of the ceiling requires some special knowledge. No animal wants to live in a place it does not feel is safe. If raccoons want quiet, warmth, and darkness, try to counteract these characteristics if possible. Because the raccoon is in your ceiling, you will probably not be able to place lights inside the space, nor will you be able to open the ceiling up to create space. Noise, however, is something that you can accomplish. Place a CD player in an area close to the ceiling. CD players work well because you can select a variety of tones and music. CDs that have predator noises, such as coyote or wolf howls, dogs barking, or growling will be a reasonable deterrent. Aromas are another useful tool against raccoons in the ceiling. Dog urine and other predatory scents will make a female raccoon think twice about raising her family in your roof. Most raccoon deterrents based on scent can be purchased—you do not have to collect and spread your own dog’s urine around your home.
If you cannot persuade a raccoon to leave on its own, calling a professional is your next reasonable option. Most raccoons in homes are female. Female raccoons usually have babies hidden somewhere. If you decided to trap your raccoon, and actually managed to do so, you would have to find, handle, and remove the babies as well. It is not humane to knowingly trap a mother raccoon and kill or remove her and leave her young to starve to death. Letting raccoon babies squeal and suffer will result in instant karma, in the form of an incredibly offensive odor that will linger in your home for days. Due to the potential for disease and injury to humans, it is often not legal to capture and transport a raccoon for relocation unless you are a licensed professional.
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