Professional Raccoon Removal and Raccoon Control Services

Raccoon Removal
Removing raccoons from the home

Why Are Raccoons an Issue?

Raccoons become intruders because our climate controlled homes provide the ideal habitat. Attics, crawl spaces and garages are usually warm, dry, and safe. Attics are often close to easy food sources such as garbage cans, pet food, and human meal sources. For example, "Mrs. M" in Tampa stated she had a smart raccoon invading the refrigerator in her garage on a nightly basis. This raccoon could loosen the rope she used to secure the refrigerator doors and help itself to dinner!

How Did They Get In?

Most of the time, raccoons have chosen an attic based on convenience or closeness to their natural habitat. If there's an easy and obvious way in, all the better. A house with wide-open gaps and easy access stands a greater chance of seeing a raccoon enter at some stage. Swimming pools also draw raccoons, since they like to dip or clean food in water before consumption.

Easy climbing access is a main contributor for raccoon entry as well. For example, there are many tall oak and pine trees in residential neighborhoods in the US. Trees that are adjacent to your home, increase the probability of wildlife entry because they provide a natural "ladder". However even without nearby trees, raccoons climb no problem climbing just about anything. I've seen them get up onto easy areas of houses, such as downspouts and trellised walls. The harder locations include wood trim, pocket walls, or even the smooth part of houses They don't need a lot to grab onto to get into your attic. Raccoons are natural climbers, and can swivel their hind foot 180 degrees, enabling them to come down headfirst.

Easy climbing access is a main contributor for raccoon entry as well. For example, there are many tall oak and pine trees in most neighborhoods. Trees that are adjacent to your home, increase the probability of wildlife entry because they provide a natural "ladder". However even without nearby trees, raccoons climb no problem climbing just about anything. I've seen them get up onto easy areas of houses, such as downspouts and trellised walls. The harder locations include wood trim, pocket walls, or even the smooth part of houses They don't need a lot to grab onto to get into your attic. Raccoons are natural climbers, and can swivel their hind foot 180 degrees, enabling them to come down headfirst.

They can enter the attic room from a variety of places. Occasionally raccoons will simply rip through the shingles and wood roof, right into the attic - they are that powerful.

Raccoon Damage to Roof Shingles
Remove raccoons that damage your roofing!

Raccoons in the attic?

Female raccoons have learned that our homes afford them a great place to raise young - cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They will destroy fascia boards, tear off shingles, and remove siding and chimney caps just to gain access to our homes. Once inside an attic, raccoons often tear off insulation paper, rip open air ducts, tear insulation off pipes, etc. They can also raid trash cans, take pet food left outside and damage gardens.

With raccoons, the process of removal starts with locating the mother and determining if there is a litter of baby raccoons. Once the litter is located, I remove the pups. The next step involves baiting and safely trapping the mother. My investigative work comes next. I need to find out how this family of raccoons got inside the attic. My goal is to close off all points of entry. This should prevent future intrusions. For the safety of my customers and their families, it is highly recommended that all raccoon waste is removed and the area be completely sanitized.

Are you hearing raccoon noises?

Sometimes you can identify the type of animal by the sounds it makes. On the west coast of Florida, raccoons are among the biggest of the rodent family. Because of their size, the noise made by a raccoon is often like thumping compared to scampering or scrambling noises from smaller rodents. Additionally, raccoons are nocturnal, so the noises generally occur in the evening hours. If there is a raccoon family in your attic, you may hear the crying of babies, which is further proof of the presence of an entire raccoon family.

Raccoon Sightings—Up Close and Personal

Have you seen the raccoon that may be living in your attic? Raccoons are often active during the daytime, especially ones living in your attic. It's common for people to see the animal. If sighted, I advise keeping a safe distance and avoiding any urges for a selfie with your unwanted guest. An attic is like a large, hollow tree - it's a great spot to live if you are a raccoon! It's very common for a pregnant raccoon to find its way into an attic. The primary reason a mother raccoon enters an attic is so that she can birth and raise her young pups. In America, most incidents of raccoons in an attic occur in the Springtime.

Raccoon trapped in a live trap
Remove raccoons humanely with Havahart traps

Do Raccoons Pose Health Risks?

Rabies is the most commonly cited illness associated with raccoons. Never trust a raccoon that appears sick, confused, or seems to be moving awkwardly. Other health concerns include the following and should not be taken lightly:

  • Roundworms
  • Distemper
  • Fleas
  • Lice

Raccoon waste can release airborne spores. The danger is that people can inhale them and become contaminated. Human infections can result in parasite migration toward the central nervous system. These infections can live for years if not properly treated.

What Harm Does a Raccoon Cause within an Attic?

  • Shred roofing
  • Destroy wallpaper
  • Ruin vent ducts
  • Loosen and remove insulation around pipes
  • Tear apart cooling systems
  • Destroy fans
  • Chew wood supports.
  • Claw electrical wiring
  • Damage drywall

Do You Need A Professional?

Animals that reside in houses occasionally die inside your home. The odor of a dead raccoon is foul and intolerable, much worse then the smell of poop! Sanitation is necessary when this occurs

Animals that reside in houses occasionally die inside your home. The odor of a dead raccoon is foul and intolerable, much worse then the smell of poop! Sanitation is necessary when this occurs

Raccoons have also been known to trample and flatten the insulation. This decreases the R-Value and overall effectiveness. Raccoons also urinate and defecate everywhere. I've seen a few attics where insulation has been heavily saturated with raccoon droppings. In these cases, the insulation needs to be replaced.

How Do I Get Raccoons Out of My Attic?

There are a variety of methods used to remove raccoons. Each method also has its own level of effectiveness. The level of experience needed to successfully achieve long term removal also varies between the methods.

Remember, it is possible to be as humane as you can to these remarkable and adorable creatures.

Raccoon damage to exterior of home
This is just a small amount of the damage can be caused by raccoons

Will They Just Leave by Themselves?

The answer is no. If you are dealing with a mother raccoon, she will first breast feed them for about ten weeks. Once the pups are strong enough, the mother then starts to take all of them on forays outside. She is going to remain with them for approximately 9 months. Raccoons are great moms. They bring the whole brood back to the attic before sunrise. Once they are nine months old, the young will head out on their own. At this point, it’s feasible that the mother raccoon will certainly abandon the attic. The mother or one of it is young might decide to remain. Either way, once pregnant, gestation lasts about 2-months. Raccoons tend to be creatures of habit and may want to go back into the same attic again.

What About Raccoons in a Chimney?

Raccoons can get into chimneys as well. A few of the same principles apply to raccoons within chimneys, such as trapping. However, odor deterrents are more effective due to the focused area. Never start a fire if you have raccoons in the masonry. Many wildlife removal experts in America have special raccoon fireplace removal systems if scent deterrents don't work.

Repellents or Poison?

A repelling scent may encourage a raccoon to vacate your home. This may consist of a predator urine. An additional technique is loud noise. The effectiveness can vary on these methods. There are also many modern products sold meant to evict unwanted critters from property and homes. Many are found to be bogus. Some of the old-fashioned standards include moth balls, ammonia, bleach, and even human hair. The idea behind these repellents is that they simply create an unpleasant odor that raccoons don't like, which encourages them to leave.

There is no registered poison for raccoons. There is no legal poison for raccoons. There's no effective poison that I know of for raccoons, though I admit that I don't know much about poisoning animals. That's because I consider poison the worst possible approach to animal control. It's ineffective and inhumane. Furthermore, the death of the animal would be very painful. Finally, if it's a female raccoon with babies, the mother will die, and the babies will be orphaned in the attic, where they will suffer and starve to death. The pups will also die and cause more odor. Poison still won't solve the root of the problem, as I'll discuss below. I see many internet searches for the phrase raccoon poison in the US. Please, read on, and learn how to deal with raccoon problems without resorting to poison.

Do You Need A Professional?

I have found that approximately 80% of cases involving raccoons in the attic include raccoon pups. The most common reason for a raccoon to enter an attic and choose to live there is the case of a female who needs a safe place to give birth and raise its babies. I get calls like this daily for raccoon removal in my local area. I have witnessed the inexperienced removal of the mother, leaving the orphaned pups behind to starve. This can lead to senseless death and eventually more odor issues than you can imagine. The presence of baby raccoons makes simple trapping a real challenge. The infants usually lay in a bunch in an attic, and aren't strong enough to enter traps. Thus, the usage of traps by amateurs or even careless trapping companies usually creates a bigger problem than ever before!

Raccoon damage to attic insulation
Raccoons love to mess with your insulation and leave their poop everywhere

Do Traps Work?

Yes. Trapping is the most effective removal method for raccoons, but the right trap needs to be used along with the right methods. There are dozens of types of raccoon traps, some live traps, some lethal traps. Here are different raccoon trapping techniques:

Paw Hold Traps:

These types of traps are also only utilized by fur trappers, some of whom perform annoyance wildlife removal services. There are many different types of paw hold barriers. These traps work simply by clamping down on an animal's paw and holding this. It's basically a little snapping clamp device secured down in some fashion. Once the trapper catches a raccoon with this type of trap, this individual usually then kills the animal via shooting.

Live Cage Trap:

This is by far the most common type of trap used Racoon Removal. There are lots of different makes and models of crate/cage traps. A few of these traps are made from different components, such as solid-walled plastic or perhaps other metal materials. Most are made from metal bars. A cage needs to be large enough to hold the raccoon. Most raccoon-sized traps are at least thirty-two inches long and twelve inches high and broad. If it's too small, the animal won't fit inside. In addition, the trapper risks early triggering of the journey pan. In this case, the door will not shut completely. The most commonly sold brand name in America is the Havahart brand, which is sometimes bought from large hardware stores. Cage traps are often baited with food. The raccoon directly enters the cage and begins to consume the bait. Close to the back of the cage is a trip pan. When the raccoon steps on the pan, it triggers the trap door shut, and the animal is trapped inside, and very alive.

There are many pitfalls when cage traps are used by untrained wildlife control organizations and do-it-yourself homeowners in the USA. The fact that cage traps are readily sold to the general public often leads people to think that they can just go trap wild animals. However, there are numerous very important considerations when raccoon trapping that one should consider prior to just buying a trap in addition to setting it. For instance, the animal may become agitated and try to bite. The bacteria and diseases of wild animals should be considered.

Body Grip Traps

Body grip are just what they suggest: traps that grip the entire animal. There are lethal traps, resembling large rat traps. They are arranged over areas where a raccoon has been known to move. Usually they are found within the proximity of the hole leading into an attic. When this trap is sprung, it snaps down onto the raccoon and kills it by choking or crushing the animal. These are dangerous and difficult to use, and incredibly few people, other than old trappers, would use them. If you hire a wildlife trapper in your area who uses this type of capture, please be aware that there are better options

Raccoons will come to your trap if you use peanut butter
Raccoons love peanut butter as much as I do!

Trapping Techniques

1) How to Target the Correct Animal

Amateur trappers encounter many problems when setting out to trap a specific animal. Many will set a trap and then catch every other animal within the neighborhood, instead of the animal that may be causing the problem. An expert wildlife eradication professional will know how to focus on the animal properly. I never recommend setting cage traps outdoors on the ground if there's a raccoon in the attic. This may catch the best raccoon, but there's a great chance that it won't, and can cause other problems. Using the appropriate bait and knowing the right location for the trap are the keys to targeting the correct animal.

2) What if I can't catch the target animal at all?

Failure to catch the animal commonly arises among inexperienced trappers. Often, this is simple user error. The right type of trap must be set (at least 32 inches long). It must have no defects. It must have the correct pan tension. It must be flush to the ground with no wobble. It must be set in the animal's path of travel or exploration for sucessful Animal Control. It must be in area free of things the animal can damage. It should be in a shady spot. The right number of traps should be set for the situation. The risk of trapping mistakes may deter the animal from the trap altogether. Animals are smart. If the trap fails, the animal may not make another attempt to enter.

3) What Type of Bait Should I Utilize?

I've been to dozens of homes in my local area where trappers are using the wrong bait. Unfortunately, the correct animals were not caught. Raccoons are generally omnivores and will consume almost anything. That said, if you need to do it yourself, you should not utilize meat-based baits. These are more suited to attract opossums, skunks, and cats. Better baits contain white bread or marshmallows. However, in the case of raccoons inside the attic, you should not be entangling with bait at all.

4) What types of mishaps can occur with trapping?

Many people just set the trap in a convenient or random location. But what if that position is exposed to the sun, and you also leave the animal out all day long in direct sunlight - it may die of dehydration or even heat stroke. Raccoons have reached through the pubs of the cage and cut up screened doors in addition to pool enclosures, pulled up electric wires, and more. A clever trapper keeps his eye open for all of these risks and sets the draws in properly and secures it in a very safe place. Yet once again, regular trapping is just not the answer with raccoons residing in the attic.

5) Is it legal for me to trap the raccoon?

In most cases, no. Or, if it is lawful, you must kill and get rid of the animal on your property during the time of capture. It is not legal, inside almost all states, to snare a raccoon, stick it in the trunk of your car, drop it off to the forest, and release it. Numerous states require immediate work or immediate release in the capture site - which defeats the point of trapping. Some states don't allow for your relocation of rabies vector species. Check the regulations posted from your state's department of animals (or fish & wildlife commission) and you will see that it is unlawful to do so if you are not a licensed animal control professional.

6) Okay then, I want to avoid the Law and do it myself - How?

First, you go into the attic and find the babies and remove the young by hand. Be careful, there's a protective and ferocious mother raccoon nearby! Of course, when in an attic, be mindful to walk only on the wooden beams, or you'll fall through the ceiling. And be careful not to get insulation on your skin. I wear a HEPA filter mask to avoid breathing in airborne dust particles. And I wear thick gloves, particularly when handling wildlife, even baby raccoons, which are usually gentle, but can bite and claw. I put them in a pillowcase, and bring them out of the attic. They can often be very hard to find. I bring the young outside, and then - here's one of the tricks to solving a problem with raccoons in the attic - I use the babies as "live bait" to trap the mom! I set the trap against at least one wall and put a heavy divider, such as a concrete block or wooden plank on the other side so that the mother does not try to reach through the trap from the outside first and trigger it. Once the mother is trapped inside, she usually bends the divider bars easily and she's reunited with her young. When I retrieve her, I slide out the metal divider. If I were ever to trap a raccoon with visible nipples, I'd be sure to go find the young, and if I could not, I would release the raccoon on the spot, so as not to leave orphaned young. There are other ways to remove them all without using the "babies as bait" method. One good method is to mount a trap onto the entry hole into the attic before entering the attic. Then when you enter the attic, you scare the mother raccoon out with your presence (make noise or chase it with a snare pole) and it will run out of the attic, out its hole, and right into the trap, Or, if the mother raccoon stands its ground in the attic, you can physically capture it with a professional snare pole. Want to learn more about What Raccoons eat and the best Bait to use when trying to capture raccoons from the attic? Then just ask Brendan, we generally use either Cat Food or Marshmellows or even honey buns for our bait in out Humane animal traps. Remember, if you get the raccoon by either of these methods, you still should find and remove those young.