Whether an insect, a rodent, or a mammal, any kind of animals presents a major nuisance to homeowners when invading an attic. As for raccoons, it becomes extremely damaging in your attic. This wild animal carries wild behavior which can never be adapted to metropolitan life. It will always seek a safe shelter and a stable source of food, and when it finds that in your attic, it will invade it and settle down in it.
I don’t think it’s a great idea to have a raccoon in your attic, especially because this animal has a large body that will cause noticeable damage to your house. To fight these wild mammals, you need to know about their behavior and their characteristics.
Besides, you will have to learn some prevention tips:
- What are the physical and biological facts about raccoons?
- What are the behavioral characteristics of raccoons?
- Why do raccoons invade attics? And how?
- How to prevent raccoons?
- How to get rid of raccoons?
The raccoon – scientifically known as Procyon Lotor – is a wild mammal, originally found in North America but also in Europe, which has been considered as a pest in U.S.A because of its invasive behavior. Raccoons are mostly distributed in U.S.A, throughout the northern regions. While some people think raccoons are found only in the wild, this is definitely not true as city-dwellers often suffer from Raccoon infestation in their attics either in suburban areas or in metropolitan areas.
Physical and biological facts about raccoons
Raccoons are very identifiable animals, unlike other invasive species. They have a noticeable large body with many special physical characteristics:
- Raccoons have a large body such as a dog. They are 12 inches (30 centimeters) tall and 24 to 38 inches (67 to 91 centimeters) long including an 8 inches (20 centimeters) tail.
- Raccoons weigh usually from 8 to 20 pounds (3.5 to 9 kg) but there are some wild species that can weigh up to 28 pounds (12.7 kg) such as the Tres Marias Raccoon.
- Raccoons are commonly known by their gray heavy fur covering all their bodies, a black mask on the eyes, a pointed muzzle containing a black nose and a thick tail with 3 to 7 black colored rings on it.
- Raccoons have special front paws that are perfectly like human hands, they contain 5 claws while the human hand contains 5 fingers. And their skin is harsher but it still has the same concept as a human hand.
- Raccoons have a triangular head with round ears and eyes in the middle, the head is relatively small compared to the body.
Behavioral characteristics of raccoons
Raccoons are wild mammals with wild behavior, it means they are very aggressive and territorial species, they always seek for a safe shelter to hide from the danger of the wildlife such as predators or bad conditions, that’s why a raccoon in the wild can live only 2 to 3 years while a raccoon in conservation has reached 20 years already.
This invasive behavior has come from the part of female raccoons to find a safe and suitable place to breed her young in a way to guarantee the survival of the species. In these terms, raccoons invade attics and make of them the finest place to form a happy family but to ruin your family and your house. Therefore, you should be careful of the behavior of raccoons.
Raccoons are strict omnivorous which feed on invertebrates such as insects and vertebrates such as birds, snakes, fish… But when there is no food source, raccoons can change their diet into herbivores which feed on human food and some favorite vegetable for raccoons are: strawberries, apples, and nuts.
Raccoons are great climbers, which allows them to climb trees and make their shelter in the main tree trunk. Their habitat looks most like a squirrel’s but it is quite bigger because the large size of the raccoon.
Raccoons usually mate during late winter to mid-spring, which means from January to mid-march. With a gestation period of 65 days, the female gives birth to 2 to 5 cubs in the mid-summer, which allows them to grow in suitable conditions and reach maturity during the next season of mating.
The most special ability of raccoons is that they douse their food before eating it. Many people have assumed seeing some raccoons in caption dousing some fruits in the pool and they are amazing on it. Besides, some explorers have assumed seeing raccoons either washing the food or not eating it.
Raccoons, unlike other wild animals, are very smart and intelligent, they have special skills that allow them to open closed doors, open trash cans, open closed bottles… It means that their paws are physically and practically like a human hand.
Relationship with wild animals
Raccoons don’t live much in the wild (not more than 3 years) because of the danger caused by predators which are so many such as: great horned owl, bobcat, American black bear, American alligator, coyotes, jaguars, eagles, and humans especially hunters.
Relationship with humans
Raccoons are considered pests in the U.S.A because of their damaging behavior. They look like clean and cute animals but these wild animals can ruin your attic with shit and damage the wall because of their scratching habit.
Raccoons also consider humans as predators and are so aggressive towards them, especially when a female newly bred her young cubs and found by the homeowner, it can never be humanely removed from the attic until the cubs grow and leave the den.
Raccoons are large-sized, smart and aggressive animals, besides, they are nocturnal, it means all their activities happen at nighttime which makes it hard to detect and repel.
Signs of Raccoons in an Attic
If a raccoon invades a house, it makes it terrible for the homeowners to get rid of it and keep it away from the property forever.
Reasons behind raccoons invasion and how they gained entry to the property:
You may ask if raccoons are wild animals, then why would they invade your attic? And how do they gain entry to the attic?
Well, that is true, raccoons are wild animals, but as told above, they suffer from a lethal danger in the wild ranging from predators to severity of the weather. That is why they always seek for a safe shelter that keeps them warm during the long winter and protects them from predators.
Attics are the best shelter for raccoons, they provide all the needs, maybe stored food, or a food source such as trash and human food, besides, it gives them warmth and protection.
Raccoons gain entry to your attic through many ways, and even if there isn’t any, they can force their way in. Raccoons are good in opening doors and windows, so they will open the window of your attic and get inside.
As it looks very hard to do, raccoons easily enter attics through holes in the roof, and if there is no hole, they will gnaw a small piece of wood and scratch the rest with their paws until they make a suitable hole for their shifting in and out.
Trees around the roof present the perfect way to the attic, as raccoons are professional climbers, they can climb trees and get an easy access to your attic.
Working tips to prevent raccoons
Raccoons are cute wild animals and you can consider yourself lucky if you have seen one in your property, but wildlife experts say that it is a must to get rid of raccoons and keep them away from your property forever because these mammals have intrusive behavior which can turn them totally dependent on humans.
Many ways can be followed to prevent raccoons from invading your attic; here we are presenting some of them to help you avoid this nuisance:
Regular inspection is always necessary to check if any intruder is using your attic as a continuous den, you can inspect your attic monthly to make sure there are no raccoons, you don’t have to look at precise details, these mammals are easily detected due to their size and their feces make a noticeable unpleasant smell in the entire house.
In order to reduce the possibility of being infested by raccoons, you need to remove attractants and keep them away of raccoons’ sight. If a raccoon sees a garbage can, he will run to it and turns it upside down until he finds a human food.
Using fences is always useful to fight against wild life, and it surely works with raccoons especially that these species can’t jump a long distance and can’t dig the ground either, so a strong fence would be great to block the raccoon from passing to your property.
Removing water sources:
Water sources in your courtyard such as a water dock or a pool are extremely suitable for raccoons. They provide a permanent source of water for them and they will come there every night to drink from your courtyard. Anyway, try to not make your water sources available for wild animals.
If you found some holes in the wood of your roof or in its perimeter, try to seal the entire hole and to make it impossible to break.
Getting rid of raccoons
If you get invaded by raccoons, the first thing that pops into your head is: how to get rid of it? Well, it’s hard, really hard to get rid of a female raccoon which just gave birth to its cubs. It gets extremely aggressive and the cubs are, absolutely, a nuisance.
Of course, there is no problem without a solution, that’s why we are giving you all the perfect solutions to solve the problem of raccoons in the attic.
In every pest extermination, there must be chemical products that are able to exterminate the pest either by repelling or killing it. As for raccoons, chemical products are divided into 2 types:
Spray liquid repellents are the easiest to use, you just spray the area of invasion and wait until raccoons leave it. Liquid repellents contain lethal chemical substances with a strong smell that makes all the wild animals leave.
- The best product for Spray liquid repellents in the market is DeFence® Rabbit Repellent for only $14.
Granular Repellents are also useful in the case of raccoons in your attic, you can just put the granular pieces near to the raccoon’s nest and wait until it gnaws it and gets poisoned with the lethal chemical substance contained in the product.
As raccoons don’t eat untrusted food and wash their food, sometimes they will refuse to consume the granules only if they are hungry to death.
- The best product for Granular Repellents in the market is Critter Ridder® Animal Repellent Granular for only $10.
Selling a raccoon to a captive organization would be amazing and expensive, therefore, if you have a raccoon in your attic, consider the chance of getting $2,000 for selling it. But first, you need to know how to trap that smart wild animal.
The only way to trap a raccoon is to bait a trap and put it near to the raccoon’s nest. The best bait would be a washed apple, the raccoon would take a while to trust the source of the bait but then, it will eat it entirely, and it will be perfectly caged. Ready to be sold. So consider yourself lucky if you have a raccoon and you succeed in trapping it.
- The best product for raccoon trappers in the market is Havahart® Small 1-Door Trap for only $24.
You don’t like chemicals inside your house? You are too soft to trap a raccoon?
There is also a solution for you: Electronic repellents. It’s just a small device put into the house to send ultrasonic waves that are able to drive raccoons crazy and keep them away from the property. The efficiency of this method is not completely guaranteed, but it is always useful to keep your place clean and healthy.
- The best product for electronic repellents in the market is Havahart® Spray Away® – Motion Activated Sprinkler for only $60.