How do Raccoons Get into Houses?
The most important step in keeping your home raccoon-free is securing it against future intrusions. The best place to start is by performing a complete inspection of your home’s exterior, including the roof. Raccoons, like most wild animals, are opportunists capable of taking advantage of even the most minor structural weakness to chew, scratch and squeeze their way in.
Every house is different and that is why it important to have your home inspected by an experienced professional. A trained wildlife specialist will be able to recognize potential points of entry as well how to secure them to protect your home. Raccoons are clever, strong and extremely determined when it comes to finding a den site. With over 24 years in the business, Skedaddle has seen and repaired every type of raccoon entry hole imaginable.
Here is a short list of some of the most common:
A Roof-Soffit Intersection, or RSI for short, is any area on your roof where the soffit sits just above a section of roof. These sections are usually located where an upper and lower roof meet and make for ideal raccoon entry points. While using the roof for leverage, raccoons use their shoulders to open flimsy soffits made from thin aluminum or plastic. Once the soffit is opened, they can easily gain access to the entire attic.
The vents on your roof are designed to allow for proper air circulation in your attic. Unfortunately, raccoons can feel the air escaping from your attic, and that destroying the vent cover will give them access to the warmth inside. Again, plastic or aluminum vent covers are no match for powerful raccoons.
The edge of your roof, where the eavestrough meets the house, is a particularly vulnerable area for raccoon intrusion. By design, all rain and melted snow on the roof must pass this section on the way to the eavestrough. High amounts of moisture, as well as continuous freezing and thawing deteriorate this area of the roof faster than anywhere else. Opportunistic raccoons easily chew and tear away any rotted wood to gain access to the attic.
The bottom of your chimney is an ideal place for a mother raccoon to nurse her babies. Chimneys mimic hollowed out tree cavities, allowing adult raccoons to easily shimmy up and down in search of shelter and protection. Once inside, raccoons will make their home on top your fireplace’s damper. The chimney caps you can purchase at hardware stores do little to prevent raccoons from getting inside.
The cylindrical vents on your roof connect to your plumbing system
These five areas are just a few of the more common raccoon entry points. Depending on the design, materials and condition of your home there could be dozens more. Skedaddle always performs a 35-50 point Property Assessment of your home to determine before we go to work protecting your home. Call us today at 1-888-592-0387 to book an inspection.
Things You Can Do to Keep Your Home and Property Safe
Raccoons are found abundantly in Canadian cities and suburbs, as well as the wilderness. Their population has flourished while living among human settlements and the reality is that they are here to stay. Just because we cannot get rid of all the raccoons in our neighbourhoods does not mean we should invite them into our homes.
Here are some simple things you can do to protect your home and property:
Do Not Feed the Wildlife
Raccoons, like all animals, need food to survive but that does not mean that it should come from humans. As an omnivore, raccoons will eat anything they come across. Well-fed raccoons live longer and produce larger litters of babies which increase your neighbourhood’s population and the likelihood for conflict.
- Never leave food out for raccoons or other animals.
- Never leave pet food outside.
- Keep garbage inside or in secure containers until collection.
- Store garden compost in secure containers.
- Pick fruits and vegetables from the garden as soon as they become ripe.
- Have your lawn treated against white grubs to prevent raccoons from digging it up.
Proper Home Maintenance
For most people, their home is their greatest investment. Harsh Canadian weather can take its toll on houses, quickly turning minor repairs into major renovations. One of the best ways to protect it against costly raccoon damage and destruction is regular inspections. A
- Quickly spotting and repairing damage can save you thousands in the long run. Regularly inspect your home and roof for openings and signs of rot and deterioration.
- Regularly trim tree branches and vegetation to prevent raccoons from easily accessing your roof. The truth is that a very determined raccoon can climb just about anything, but the harder you can make it the less likely they are to try.
- Wildlife proof potential points of entry on your roof, including: roof vents, soffits, chimneys and plumbing mats. Be sure to check for ground level entries below additions, decks, sheds and porches.
There are many things you can do to protect your home depending on how much time you have and how handy you are. For professional and guaranteed results, call Skedaddle at 1-888-592-0387.
Do It Yourself Measures That Don’t Work
Over the years, Skedaddle has seen just about every DIY solution for getting rid of raccoons. While some have limited success, most do not and in many cases they serve to make the job more difficult. These days, the internet is full of advice for those wishing to send raccoons packing. Below is a list of common quick fixes that fall short of a real solution.
Capturing animals and driving them away to the county seldom offers a long-term solution and can often complicate matters further. Many homeowners who suspect a raccoon has decided to take up residence in their attic rush out to the hardware store to buy a live-trap in hopes of baiting and capturing their unwanted houseguest. Here’s why you shouldn’t:
- Raccoons are intelligent animals – if they have been captured previously they can become “trap shy” and will avoid going into a trap.
- Traps are indiscriminate – if you put food in a trap you have every chance of attracting and capturing any animal in the neighbourhood, including other raccoons, cats or worse, a skunk.
- It ignores the other 15-25 raccoons in the neighbourhood – trapping and relocating a single does nothing to address how they entered your home in the first place. If one raccoon was attracted to your home you can bet the others will be too.
- You could orphan the babies – if you trap a raccoon mother and get rid of her you could end up leaving a litter of babies to die in your attic, costing you further time and money
- Relocating wildlife is inhumane – relocated raccoons, especially babies have very little chance of survival because they are unfamiliar with how find food and shelter in their new surroundings
- It’s illegal – many jurisdictions have made relocating wildlife beyond specific distances illegal to reduce the spread of disease. Put it this way, you wouldn’t want someone from the country dropping of potentially rabid raccoons in your backyard.
Mothballs and Ammonia
- Mothballs and ammonia have long been promoted as chemical raccoon deterrents. The simple truth is that they do nothing to stop raccoons from nesting in your attic. Not only is it impossible, to completely fill your attic with mothballs and ammonia, it can be downright toxic for you and your family. Raccoons are tough, wild animals that will easily push a few mothballs and ammonia soaked rags out of their way.
Loud Noises and Lights
- Some people will put radios and lights in their attics in hopes of getting rid of raccoons. Raccoons are so accustomed to human sounds that leaving a radio on in the attic is unlikely to instill any fear. That the radio would have to be played all night long and at a volume that would keep you from getting sleep. Large cavernous attics also supply raccoons with plenty of places to tuck away and hide from lights. Even if lights and noise work for a time, they fail to provide any long-term protection against future invasion and could cause a raccoon mother to abandon her babies in your attic.
Physical exclusion is your best bet when it comes to keeping raccoons out of your attic. Sometimes there’s no substitute for rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work. If you need help, give Skedaddle a call at 1-888-592-0387.