Baby season is an exciting time for wildlife technicians, and at Skedaddle we wait with bated breath for the first call of the spring. For raccoons, the baby season is typically early spring to early summer (April to June), but as regular readers of our blog know, it can start much earlier than that. This year we removed our first litter from a house in February. There are some years, however, when baby season not only starts early, it also ends late.
Late Litter of Raccoon Kits Found in Pickering Home
Recently two of our technicians Colin and Damian were called to a job near Pickering and what they found was surprising. As Colin explains, “We were called out originally because the customer had seen a raccoon breaking through their soffit panels. At the initial call out to the job we believed the babies were old enough and mobile enough to exit though a baby hole placed right next to our one-way door. But the night after we installed the baby hole and one-way door, the mother exited the attic but the babies did not follow her. This lead to the mother breaking back into the attic to get them. At our follow up visit, Damian and I checked the full attic and decided we needed to remove the babies because they wouldn’t leave on their own and it was the only way to stop the mother from trying to break back in and causing anymore damage to the house. We ended up removing three mobile babies from the attic. As we removed the babies and took them outside the mother raccoon was keeping a close eye on us from nearby on the roof and watched as we put the youngsters in a baby box and placed it carefully on the roof. Later that evening she relocated them to an alternate den site.”
Even though this was an unusually late find, it was a great experience and learning opportunity for Damian, who had only been with the company for about six weeks at the time of the call. This was his first hands-on experience with raccoon babies and normally he would have had to wait for early spring to be part of a baby removal. According to Colin, “Damian was extremely excited to see the babies but found it difficult to catch them and get them into the baby box so that we could safely remove them from the attic. As soon as raccoon babies are mobile, they are challenging to get hold of and like to run away as soon as you touch them. Damian had to grab the babies quickly and even had to follow one to catch it and put it in our baby bag. But luckily they were reunited with their mother outside the home and the customer doesn’t have raccoons in her attic anymore.”
Is it Rare to Find Babies in the Fall Months?
Colin explains that “the normal baby season for raccoons is April to June, so it is very strange to find babies this young all the way into mid-September. We typically see a late litter in August every year but very seldom anything later than that and this is a rare case. Finding a young litter this late in the year means that the mother raccoon was mating in mid-July as a raccoon’s gestation period is between 60-65 days. Usually when the babies are about 10 days old, they are already sporting the familiar facial mask and colour patterns typical of the species and their eyes open when they are two weeks of age and the teeth erupt at about 19 days.These babies were mobile,their eyes were open,and they had teeth, we estimate they were about 8 weeks old.”
This case is extremely rare, but it clearly shows that raccoon litters can be born late in the year and homeowners always need to be vigilant because no season is off-limits for a raccoon home invasion.
Raccoons can Cause a Lot of Damage to your Property
This case clearly demonstrates how determined a mother raccoon can be when it comes to looking after her babies. A raccoon that is anxious to get her babies back will go to great lengths to do so and can cause serious damage to your home in the process. Soffit panels are normally fastened to the wooden fascia of your home but since the soffit panels are not always secured properly this is a very common entry point for wildlife. When they find an entry point through the soffit, they usually have access to the entire attic which is prime real estate for a mother raccoon looking for the perfect place to raise a litter of kits. It is quiet, safe and warm – what more could a mother ask for!
Not only will the mother raccoon cause damage to your property when she breaks into the attic, but having a litter of kits sharing your home is also destructive. In this case the babies were already mobile, meaning that they had been in the attic for months, and their feces and urine had irreparably damaged the insulation and none of it could be salvaged. Our expertly trained team of Wildlife Technicians had to clean the attic, restore it to its former condition and replace all the insulation.
You Can’t Cut Corners on the Clean-up
After a raccoon invasion, the clean-up is an essential part of the job, but it is time-consuming and costly. All the old insulation has to be carefully removed with specialized equipment like a powerful trade vacuum and appropriate breathing equipment. The attic also needs to be deodorized to eliminate the scent and prevent other raccoons from being attracted to your home. After that, the new insulation has to be installed. This is often expensive, costing between $1.50 and $3.50 per foot depending on the size of the property and the type of insulation, but there is no alternative. Effective insulation is one of the best ways to save money on your energy bills and with winter fast approaching, you want to keep your heating costs as low as possible, giving you more money to spend during the festive season. Once all raccoons have been removed from your property our Wildlife Technicians will properly screen off the exterior of your home to prevent future raccoon invasions.
After more than 20 years in the wildlife control business, we have seen it all and while late litters may be rare, they are not unheard of. At Skedaddle our Wildlife Technicians are trained to deal with any eventuality that nature may throw at them and they know how to spot the anomalies that homeowners might easily miss. When we get a call out for raccoon trouble, we will always check your attic for babies, even if it isn’t a baby season. Any babies will then be removed safely and reunited with their mother so that she can relocate them to an alternate den site.
Call Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control today for all your raccoon removal needs.