Has a raccoon entered your home through a pet entrance? Have you heard one rustling around inside your ceiling, walls, attic, or chimney? Don’t waste time and money on a temporary solution. Here’s the sensible raccoon removal advice you need to assess, solve, and prevent problems with raccoons in your home.
For the easily observed accidental intruder…
If you find a raccoon in a room of your home, remaining calm will help minimize trouble and hasten the animal’s exit. Move children and pets into other rooms, behind closed doors. Open outside doors or windows, creating a clear path out of your home. Then, add a latch to the pet door, so you can prevent access at night when your pets are inside, or install a radio collar-activated pet door. If the noises you’re hearing suggest that a raccoon is using a less obvious space in your home, read on for guidance.
ASSESS: Is a raccoon in your ceiling? Walls? Attic? Chimney?
Noises coming from such places—especially around dusk or dawn—may be caused by a solitary raccoon or by a mother raising her young. Tips that you have a raccoon in your home include raccoon tracks (which look like five-toed “hands” and may be seen in soft soil at entry points or on light-colored surfaces) or a dark, soiled area on a damaged soffit or siding.
Follow the “DO’s and DON’T’s” below, being careful not to trap animals inside. Mother raccoons separated from their young may cause damage trying to reach them, and any animals that remain trapped inside your home will perish—a problem you definitely don’t want.
SOLVE: DO’s and DON’T’s for raccoon removal…
DO identify what may have attracted a raccoon—such as unsecured trashcans, pet food outside, or easily accessible birdfeeders—then, make appropriate changes.
DO assess whether animals are currently inside before sealing entry points. If the entry point isn’t the chimney and you cannot see if animals are inside, securely stuff some wadded newspaper into the hole and see if it is removed within three days. Except in very cold or stormy weather, any animals inside will have moved the newspaper by then .
DO encourage a solitary adult raccoon to leave by disrupting the darkness and quiet of the space with lights, a loud radio tuned into rock or rap, and rags soaked in apple cider vinegar.
DO attach a one-way door excluder to the entry point. This door will allow the raccoon to exit but not re-enter and should only be used when it is clear that any animals inside are capable of exiting on their own (six weeks or older).
DO carefully select a professional humane wildlife control company if you are unsure of the age or condition of the raccoons. Make sure they assess the situation and ask if a one-way-door excluder and reunion box can be used to evict a raccoon family.
DO hire a humane professional if raccoons are trapped in ductwork.
DO hire a professional to safely install a chimney cap to save yourself from having to deal with raccoons in your chimney in the future.
DON’T fall prey to the false advice that killing or relocating raccoons will solve the problem. Experienced homeowners have learned that non-lethal approaches and targeted prevention measures are what minimize future problems and expenses.
DON’T use fire or smoke to get animals to leave a chimney—the result can be disastrous for all concerned. FIRE AND SMOKE KILLS BABY RACCOONS! And mother raccoons can be seriously hurt trying to save their babies.
DON’T attempt to clean up a raccoon latrine on your own. Due to potential health risks, you should hire a hazardous waste professional, unless you can carefully follow these guidelines from the CDC.
PREVENT: Targeted prevention measures to keep wildlife out…
Once a raccoon has been safely removed from your home, remember—the job is only complete when the access points are effectively sealed.
- Add a chimney cap, following local building codes and safety guidelines.
- Cover vents with 16-gauge wire with openings 1/2 inch or smaller.
- Repair siding or soffit damage with metal flashing or sheet metal.