Raccoons end up in the strangest places, and the technicians at Skedaddle have seen it all. One of the toughest situations for both the family living inside the house and for us as wildlife professionals are when raccoons are inside a ceiling. Here is how to get rid of baby raccoons in a humane way and to keep the mother from coming back.
How To Get Rid of Baby Raccoons When You Can’t See Them
To get rid of baby raccoons inside a house, you first have to find them. Some raccoons make it easy for us by constructing a conspicuous nest on a basement ledge or in the corner of an attic. But when raccoons decide to get comfortable inside a wall or ceiling, our technicians really have their work cut out for them.
One of the tricks that Skedaddle technicians have up their sleeves is to take pictures using heat-sensing cameras. This amazing technology makes it possible to see through walls. This is because each baby raccoon gives off body heat that shows up as different colours on thermal photos. By analyzing these pictures, we can count how many babies there are and know exactly where they are located.
Why a Mother Raccoon Would Choose a Ceiling To Raise Her Kits
The inside of a ceiling may seem like a strange place to raise a family until you look at one from a female raccoon’s point of view. To her, the narrow space between the roof of a basement and a house’s foundation fits all the requirements of an ideal nursery.
In early spring, pregnant raccoons search for a place to raise their kits. In natural areas, they would choose among the following types of den locations:
- Tree cavities
- Hollow logs
- Rock crevices or caves
- Repurposed burrows from other animals
- Depressions under rocks or among tree roots
What these locations have in common is that they are warm, dry, and safe from predators. In urban areas, raccoons confuse human-made structures with natural den sites. One place that sometimes appeals to them, unfortunately, is inside a ceiling.
How Raccoons Enter a Ceiling
If you are wondering how raccoons get into a ceiling in the first place, consider the fact that raccoons can squeeze their bodies into holes as small as 10 cm wide. Even if you inspect your home regularly, a crevice this small is easy to miss. For example, in a home we serviced in Oakville, Ontario, a raccoon mother gained access to the basement ceiling through a ground-level ventilation system. The owners never suspected the vent was big enough for an animal to fit through.
Oddly enough, raccoons weren’t the first animals to find their way inside through this opening. Before raccoons, the open vent allowed red squirrels to nest inside the basement ceiling’s ductwork. The squirrels simply followed the warm air and decided to make themselves comfortable inside. So when a mother raccoon happened upon the squirrel nest, she wasted no time displacing the previous tenants and making herself right at home.
Why Raccoons in the Ceiling Are Dangerous
Although they begin life tiny and virtually undetectable, each baby will grow to around 700 grams before leaving the nest. This means that by late summer, you will have three to six medium-sized animals creating an unsanitary situation indoors. Even though the raccoons are not trying to hurt anyone, their presence poses the following potential dangers:
- Destruction of ductwork, sometimes requiring an entirely new HVAC system.
- Electrical shorts from damaged wiring.
- Human illness due to airborne roundworm eggs in raccoon feces.
- Leptospirosis bacteria in raccoon urine soaking through tiles.
- Entry of other animal species after the raccoons leave.
A mother raccoon will come and go stealthily, so as not to give away the location of her babies. But even though she does her best to avoid confrontations, she will not hesitate to inflict serious injuries on anyone she perceives as a threat. This is why it is always best to call in a professional for raccoon removal.
How To Remove Baby Raccoons From a Ceiling
Once Skedaddle technicians verify that raccoons are nesting inside a ceiling, the next step is to make a plan for how to remove them by hand. Sometimes our technicians have to crawl through narrow areas filled with fibreglass insulation. In other instances, there is no choice but to cut holes in the ceiling to get baby raccoons out.
Once gently removed from the nest, we place babies inside a heated box that we set outside the home where the mother can find them. Because we seal her way back in, she has no choice but to carry each one to an alternate den site in the area. We will then clean up any nesting materials and sanitize the entire area so that it is safe for your family again.
What Happens if You Leave Babies Behind
Unlike other wildlife removal companies that trap adult raccoons and dump them out somewhere else, at Skedaddle we pride ourselves on the humane treatment of animals during each step of the removal process. This means removing babies by hand and watching over them until their mother returns.
If you get rid of the mother raccoon but do not remove the babies, they will die within a few days without her. Besides being cruel, doing so will create a stench of decaying animals inside your house that will persist for a long time. If you have sealed up the entryway, the mother raccoon might also destroy your soffits or other structures trying to get back in to rescue them.
Skedaddle Knows How To Get Rid of Baby Raccoons
If you are still wondering how to get rid of baby raccoons, Skedaddle’s final advice is not to try it on your own. Raccoons carry rabies and other diseases that make it not worth the risk. We have removed raccoons everywhere in a home from basements to attics, and know how best to manage the process so that no one gets hurt.
Skedaddle also knows how to find small wildlife entry points that you may not have noticed. We will seal them so that the mother raccoon will not return next spring to start the cycle all over again. Give us a call today or fill out our online form to request services.