Baby raccoons are undeniably adorable. But discovering that you have a family of raccoons living in your chimney, attic, or walls can be surprising. Find helpful guidance on safe removal of raccoons from your home and guidance specifically on evicting raccoons from chimneys.
But you might also find it useful to know a little more about raccoons in general. Understanding these animals will go a long way toward resolving any problems, so check out Matching the Resourcefulness of Raccoons after you learn about baby raccoons.
- Baby raccoons are rarely seen without their mom.
- Raccoons have at least 13 unique calls, and 7 of these are calls between moms and babies. Their “chitters” and whistles are individually distinct, which helps mom and her babies find one another if they become separated.
- At about six weeks of age, young raccoons are able to leave the den with their mother. By 20 weeks they often forage with her.
- They won’t become independent of her until early the next spring.
- Like our species, some choose to live near mom, and others move miles away.
- If you see a juvenile raccoon wandering around without a mother for more than a few hours, something has most likely happened to mom. Call a wildlife rehabilitator and request help for the infant.
- Young raccoons can fall into voids within walls. If that happens, you’ll probably hear a lot of nonstop chittering and “contact calls” (that sound like a long “wheeeee?”) from the distressed cub. You may need a wildlife control professional to get them out safely.
- If you need to evict a raccoon family from your home, try to wait until the babies are old enough to follow their mom out (over six weeks of age). If the babies are in your chimney, they’re likely to be moved out by the mother by that age to a more accessible den so she can take them out on nightly forays. But if they are not, it may be up to eight weeks before they can leave a chimney on their own.
- NEVER, under any circumstance, use smoke or fire to evict raccoons from a chimney. Even adult animals may perish before they can escape, but babies are certain to be killed, because they are unable to exit on their own.
- Work with a humane wildlife control professional to ensure mom and babies do not become separated during the eviction, as the babies will not survive without her.
- If the young raccoons are not at least six weeks of age, old enough to follow their mom out, they will be removed by the wildlife control professional and placed in a “reunion box.” This is a box constructed of heavyweight, weather-proof cardboard with a flap entry/exit and will safely contain the babies and will be strategically placed outside. When the process is done correctly, the mom then retrieves her babies one by one and moves them to an alternate den site.
- Be sure that the wildlife control professional seals up the opening once they are safely out.