They visit you late at night, little, beady eyes gleaming, prying open garbage cans and strewing last night’s dinner across your front yard. You spot them, give chase, but the masked invaders get away—as usual. Raccoons know where you live and they’ll be back. Sure, you’ve got a little garbage to clean up now and then. That’s not so bad, but what happens when raccoons make your home their home?
To understand why you have a raccoon roommate, you need to understand a little about raccoons in general. Incredibly smart, these mammals are opportunistic, and will rarely miss a chance for easy food. Raccoons like to be warm and are smart enough to know human homes can be safer than the wide outdoors. Females will move into a house to give birth, leaving the babies in the new, warm sanctuary, away from male raccoons that would harm the infants.
Sounds are usually the first indication you have a raccoon in the house. Large and ambidextrous, these woodland critters can break their way into your home by removing shingles, insulation, wall panels, and brick. Chewing and loud thumping noises are the least of your worries when it comes to raccoons in the home. Meticulous when it comes to bathroom habits, raccoons will select a specific location to relieve themselves. After a while, the accumulation of this waste will fill a home with an offensive odor. Liquid waste can often seep through floors and down through lower-level ceilings. If the mounds of waste aren’t enough to dissuade you from sharing your residence, consider the fact that raccoons are one of the main carriers of rabies. Rabies is fatal. Always.
Okay, time to say goodbye to this pesky intruder. Raccoon trapping is not for the weak of heart. It is highly recommended that a professional wildlife removal company be hired to eliminate the pest. Raccoons will attack humans if feeling threatened, and with the risk of zoonotic diseases such as rabies and leprospirosis, it is not a chance many homeowners want to take. If you decide to ignore the best advice and trap a raccoon on your own, please use a live trap, not a lethal one. A poisoned or injured raccoon can crawl into the walls of a home and then die. It can take years for an animal of that size to decompose. Think of the smell! Also, even if trapped alive, the average homeowner won’t be able to tell if the raccoon is male or female. Female raccoons may have babies hidden someone inside the house, and the smell of rotting babies is just as offensive as that of a decomposing adult. The waste from raccoons is particularly abhorrent stuff and can carry airborne pathogens that will make humans sick. A professional wildlife removal service will have the proper equipment to handle this situation.
The best defense against raccoons in the house is to take preventative measures before you ever have a raccoon problem. Keep trash and other outdoor food sources sealed to prevent enticing aromas that would lure in raccoons. Read here for more on
how To get rid of raccoons in the garbage cans
. Patrol the exterior of your home to make sure no loose boards, shingles, or eves will allow large enough access for a raccoon to enter. Small holes should be patched even if the opening isn’t large enough for an eight pound animal to wiggle through. Common sense and good home-improvement skills will keep raccoons from getting in before you have to devise a way to get them out.
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