Many species of mammals call Ontario home, and few are more clever and adaptable to living near humans than the raccoon. This comical-looking animal, with its familiar black eye mask and fluffy grey coat, is quite intelligent and can find many ways into your home’s attic to nest there.
If you suspect you may have raccoons in the attic of your home, we at Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control want to help you solve this issue and provide you with some important information about how these masked mammals break-in, the trouble they can cause and what our wildlife removal technicians can do to evict them.
How Do Raccoons Get In the Attic?
Scientists who study raccoon behaviour rate the intelligence of these mammals as quite high, often surpassing the measured problem-solving and cognition of most household pets. They are also intensely curious and active, and when they enter your property, they can find their way into your attic through several entrances, including:
- Via long tree branches that overhang your roof
- Plumbing stacks
- Broken or weak shingles
Some raccoons will gnaw and pull at the building material that surrounds your home’s plumbing stacks to gain entrance to the attic. Your home’s plumbing stack runs through the attic and exits the home through a hole cut in the roof board. To make things easy during construction, builders cut a large square hole to accommodate the round pipe. They then use a rubber mat, called a boot, to cover the gap left around the stack. The plumbing boot keeps rain and snow from flowing into and damaging the attic, but raccoons sometimes destroy the boot and chew their way into the attic to make themselves at home.
Raccoons Can Cause Serious Damage To Your Home
While you may not realize it because of their appealing appearance, once you have raccoons in the attic, they can do a great deal of damage to not only this space but to your entire home once they establish themselves there. While they do not need to file their front teeth down by chewing as rats and mice do, they will chew into and gnaw wood to make their nests more comfortable. This means they can damage any wooden building materials in your attic including beams, drywall and moulding.
Raccoons can also chew into your interior walls and nest there because of the safer enclosed space that hides a mother raccoon’s kits from predators while she goes out to forage for food. Once the family establishes itself behind a wall, it is often difficult to find them. They can also cause serious damage to your attic’s insulation, as they chew into and rip it up to make a soft nest.
Identifying Signs of Raccoons in the Attic
You may not always notice the presence of raccoons inside your attic right away, especially if they find their way in during late fall or early winter. While raccoons do not hibernate, their activity level does slow during that time of year. When spring comes and a mother raccoon gives birth, you might hear sounds inside the wall at night, when this mammal is the most active. You might hear scratching, chewing and even trilling sounds once a raccoon gives birth to kits. She may have as many as four or five kits and nurse them for about three months.
You can check the exterior of your home for raccoon activity as well. These busy creatures do leave signs as they enter and exit your home, such as:
- Feces on the roof or in the gutters
- Damaged shingles and flashing
- Claw marks and paw prints on trees or in your yard
- Damaged soffits
You can identify raccoon prints by examining the shape. Raccoons have five fingers tipped with claws, and the rear footprint is typically larger and more oval-shaped than the print the forepaws leave.
Evicting Raccoons: Not for the Inexperienced
Once you see or hear your uninvited guests, your next question may be, how do you get rid of raccoons in the attic? You might consider breaking open an interior wall to find the nest, but this could put you and your family in danger. A mother raccoon will bite and claw intruders to protect her kits and could severely harm your pets during a confrontation.
Wild raccoons also pose a danger to humans and pets because of the diseases they carry. They can spread salmonella, canine distemper and even rabies, which can affect both pets and people. Calling in our Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control technicians can prevent accidents, injuries and the possible spread of illness because they have the tools and know-how to remove these animals in a way that is both safe and humane.
Our Raccoon Removal Services
When our wildlife technicians arrive, they will verify the presence of raccoons in your attic and then locate and expose the nest. They use heat sensors and other tools to locate the animals and then remove the kits gently by hand. Our wildlife techs keep the helpless kits safe in warming boxes while they await their mother to come and relocate them one at a time.
Raccoons have multiple dens sites in any community, which means every mother raccoon will have a safe place to take her babies after removal. Once the mother and her babies have skedaddled, our techs will clean up the resulting damage and seal any other entry point.
Preventing Future Raccoon Problems
Our experienced technicians can provide you with several tips for keeping raccoons away from your home in the future. You can avoid attracting raccoons by using garbage cans with lock-tight lids and storing pet food in thick plastic containers with sturdy lids so clever paws cannot open them.
Maintaining your yard can also encourage raccoons to look elsewhere for a nesting site. Keep long tree branches cut back to deny them access to your roof, and if you do have a rubber root that surrounds a plumbing stack, secure it firmly so raccoons cannot pry or chew into one corner.
Call Us for Assistance
Finding raccoons in your attic can put your property and family at risk for damage, illness and injuries. Contact us today so we can help you evict your unwanted guests and return them to the wild.