How To Catch A Raccoon In Your House

Raccoons in the House

Raccoons are not really wild animals. They are urban animals. Raccoons are FAR more common in cities and suburbs than they are in undeveloped natural areas. Just like rats. Thus, raccoon-human encounters are very common. Raccoons are smart, curious, and agile, and they need a place to live, so they very often break into a house.

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Raccoons can live in and cause problems in many areas of the house. I’ll start with the bottom up.

Raccoons in the Basement of the House: This is not terribly common, but it can happen. Like any part of a house, a basement is a decent place to live, because it’s enclosed and protected from the elements. Even if the basement is cold and damp, it’s likely warmer and dryer than the outside, especially at night. And of course, mother raccoons want a safe place to raise their young. You can actually set traps in the basement, but you’ll have better luck trapping outside, near the entry hole. Read more about the basement.

Raccoons in the Crawl Space of a House: I’ve seen raccoons living in the crawlspace under a house many times. If a home is elevated, with a crawl space underneath, and there’s an easy opening, it’s an open invitation for raccoons, cats, opossums, and other animals to live under there, just like under a deck or shed. The key, as usual, is to find the opening(s) and seal them shut, either when the animal is out, or when it’s been trapped or removed. Read more about the crawl space.

Raccoons in the Living Space of a House: If you are unfortunate enough to have a raccoon in your home, inside the living space, such as the kitchen or living room, be careful. Raccoons aren’t necessarily aggressive, but they are relatively fearless, and they will defend themselves if necessary. It’s not common for a raccoon to get in the house, but it does happen. I’ve even heard of cases of a raccoon in the bedroom. The four most common ways are: 1) Through an open pet door — to prevent this, don’t leave tempting pet food out all the time. 2) Through an open fireplace and chimney damper, if they entered the chimney. 3) Falling or chewing through the ceiling or wall, if they were living in the attic or walls. 4) Simply through an open door or window. If a raccoon does get in your home, leave it alone! Any attempt to fight it might result in injury! Keep your pets away! Open every window and door that you can find, and let the animal find its own way out. Or call a pro off of my list, and he will be able to come get it safely, with a snare pole.

In terms of entry areas, some people want to know Do Raccoon Open Doors and Windows, and while they can, they more frequently enter buildings via roof or soffit areas, or vents. They want to get into the attic, not the living space.

Raccoons in the Walls of the House: Fairly common, especially if the mother wants a safe place to stash young. They usually enter from the attic space, and crawl down the wall. Read more about the wall.

Raccoons in the Ceiling of the House: Unless it’s the ceiling between floors, you’re just hearing raccoons walking in the attic, on the ceiling material (sheetrock). Read more about the ceiling.

Raccoons in the Attic of the House: The home page of this site has all the information you could ever want to know regarding the safe and effective removal of raccoons from the attic of your home. They can get into the attic many different ways. One common way is raccoons climbing the downspout. This is a very easy way, like climbing a tree, for a raccoon to get onto the roof and the vulnerable areas into the attic. Read more about the attic.

Raccoons in the Roof of the House: In my experience, if a raccoon is on the roof, it’s either looking for a way to get into the attic, or it already has one. But in some cases, these animals are just exploring for food, or they have found some little nook, like an eave, to sleep under. I even found one roof that was so covered in debris — old sticks and leaves and such — that raccoons were nesting in it. Read more about the roof.

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Raccoons in the Chimney of the House: A chimney is a fine place for a coon to live; it’s like a big old hollow tree. It’s usually easier to get them out of a chimney than other areas of the house, but now always, depending on the architecture of your home. Be sure to leave your damper shut, or else the raccoon(s) could crawl out, and into your living room! Read more about the chimney.

What to do if you have a raccoon in your house — There are two kinds of raccoons in a house: the ones that are in there on accident and the ones that want to make your home their home. If you have a raccoon that wandered in through the pet door or an open window, your best tactic is to open your door and then herd the animal outside. Most raccoons will be just as scared to be inside your home as you are to have them in there. Shooing the critter out with a broom probably won’t be too difficult. If, for some reason, the raccoon decides to hide in your bathroom, lodged behind your toilet, you should call a wildlife removal company to come and get it. You should never risk tangling with a raccoon. If it isn’t easily coaxed to the door, don’t try to harass it or antagonize it. The raccoon that is living in your attic is a different matter. This raccoon needs to be trapped and removed, and the home needs to be repaired. Most states require raccoon trapping to be done by a professional with a special license. Employing an expert will also ensure no babies are left behind somewhere in the building.

Actual Situation: Last night it seemed as if someone was moving around in my attic. quite scary. just in time for holloween. In any event I went out on my deck in the dark to see if some animal was walking on the roof when from behind me something swished by animal. and headed towards the stairway. The stream of light from my next door neighbor showed me that it was a RACOON. It stopped. looked and me. and scurried across the lawn and away into the backyard bushes. This morning I went up into the attic but I didn’t see anything. What do I do to keep this racoon away from my attic if he or she hasn’t moved in already. It was as big as a dog and quite frightening in the dark. Please let me know. Thank you. Sincerely, Peggy

My response: Do a full inspection of your home, especially the roof and vents and eave areas, and see if there are any openings that a raccoon could crawl through. Though they look large, raccoons can fit through deceptively small spaces. If there are openings, you might already have raccoons inside, and you must remove them. If not, secure everything before one gets inside. Actual Situation: If trees are cut back and if raccoons can climb the walls and downspouts anyway, is there anything at all that will deter them from climbing up the downspouts or climbing walls onto my roof and making holes? — Vivian

My response: It’s pretty hard — they are very good climbers, and downspouts are no problem.

If trees are cut back and if raccoons can climb the walls and downspouts anyway, is there anything at all that will deter them from climbing up the downspouts or climbing walls onto my roof and making holes? Vivian Article topics include:
How to get rid of raccoons in the house and home.
Get raccoons out of the house and keep them out.
How to remove raccoons from inside the house.

See also:  How Do You Get Rid Of Racoons In Your Yard

How to Catch a Raccoon

If you need raccoon help, click my Nationwide List of Raccoon Removal Experts for a pro near you.

Raccoons can be over two feet long and weigh up to 33 lbs. They are opportunistic omnivores. They will eat almost anything they can find including meat, vegetables, white bread, and cat food, but they absolutely love anything sweet. They will eat just about everything people like.

When raccoons start digging up your yard looking for bugs or getting into your trashcans at night, they can cause a huge mess. Your gardens may also be a prime target. Other times, females will nest inside or under your home to give birth to and raise their young.

No-kill Traps
Catching a raccoon can be very difficult to do. They are intelligent animals. If they get in and out of a trap without being caught, they will remember what happened and you will have to change your tactics. Using a no-kill, or live cage, trap is the best way to humanely catch raccoons.

What to Look for in a Trap
Havahart traps are the most commonly no-kill traps purchased in the United States. There are specific traps for raccoons in order to account for the animals’ size. They are at least 32 inches long and about a foot high and wide.

You need to make sure the trap is of a correct size to safely keep the raccoon inside. If it is too small, they may not get their body all the way in and will either escape or become caught in the door. This can cause a lot of pain to the raccoon and you want to avoid that at all costs.

What Bait to use
Raccoons enjoy eating almost anything. If a human likes it, so will a raccoon in most cases. You need to be aware of what bait you choose. For instance, if you choose meat of some sort you may actually catch a stray cat, a neighborhood cat, or an opossum. Read more about What Bait To Use For Raccoon Traps here.

Time and time again, professional trappers rely on marshmallows. They say it is one of the best things to bait with. They are small and look like the eggs of other animals, and they are sweet and appeal to the raccoons’ love of sugar.

How to set a Trap
Find fresh tracks to see where the raccoons walk most often. Set the trap near their trail, but away from anything they may be able to reach with their arms once in the cage, about 6 inches.

Make sure the trap is on flat ground. The animal will not go in if the cage wobbles or makes any noise. Line the inside with leaves to make the cage more enticing.

Set the trap in the shade and check it at least twice a day. Do not leave the trap in full sun. They can become dehydrated and overheat, and die a very painful death. You should also place it in the shade in case you trap a neighborhood cat. You do not want to kill your neighbors’ pet. The neighbor just might sue you.

Disguise your trap and put the bait down in a trail leading up to the trap’s door. Keep the trail going but do not stop at the trip pan. The bait should make a trail all the way to the back of the cage. Once all of these things are done, you need to wait patiently.

If you have raccoons living in the attic, you can’t just put a cage trap on the ground, because there might be a nest of baby raccoons in the attic. They must be removed by hand.

After you catch the Raccoon
If you have successfully trapped a raccoon, put a blanket or other cover over the cage before you pick it up. Do not stick your fingers in the cage and hold the trap away from yourself. Remember raccoons can carry rabies.

Look at the raccoon and see if it has nipples. If it does, you should release it right away. It means it is a female and she has babies. If you do not, they will starve to death. They cannot find food on their own.

See also:  How Can You Get Rid Of A Raccoon

Relocate a raccoon without babies at least ten miles away from your home and it will not come back.

Keep in mind that trapping is illegal in many states. Before you start trapping, call your local animal control office. If it is illegal in your state, hire a professional to take care of the problem for you.

Catching raccoons in traps is not very easy, but once you are successful in completing the task you realize that only half of the job has been done because now you have to decide that what you will have to do with the trapped animal. Many people don’t like the idea of capturing the animal alive and use traps which can kill the animal, but to be honest it is not humane because a number of traps and methods, which kill the raccoon subject it to great pain and discomfort so it is suggested that you should only consider killing the animal when no other option is left. However, important point that should be mentioned here is that prior to taking any step you need to consider that what local laws say about the matter because in any case violation of legal standards is never proposed so you have to be careful. Now after capturing the animal you are left with two options you can either relocate it to a safe place or can kill it in a manner which bring least level of pain and discomfort for the raccoon. In any case we strongly suggest that you should stay away from violating any kind of law because this can cause great trouble.

Relocating the animal
Relocation is the best and most understandable choice, which people make in this regard because in this manner no harm comes to the animal and you also resolve the problem. However, for making this strategy successful you need to plan things in the right way because mistakes can ruin everything. It is important that you should release the animal at a distance of approximately 10 miles from your property because in this way it will not be able to find way back. It is also important that you should release the animal at some safe place where it can find decent supply of food and can live without any external threat without imposing problems for others. Mother raccoon should always be transferred with her babies because young ones can’t survive without their mother.

Killing the animal
Killing is the other option, which you have, but as described above it is not the best way to adopt. However, if you don’t have any other choice, then again we will suggest that try to find a strategy that can kill the animal without bringing much pain to it. There are a number of paths that can be adopted you can either shoot the animal or kill it by giving poison, but poisoning is never an ideal approach because it subjects the animal to great pain and kills it slowly. From the above discussion it is evident that relocating the animal is the best thing to do after capturing the animal.

More in-detail how-to raccoon removal articles:
Information about raccoon trapping — analysis and methods for how to trap.
Information about how to kill a raccoon — with poison or other methods.
Information about how to keep raccoons away — prevention techniques.
Information about raccoon repellent — analysis of types and effectiveness.

This site is intended to provide rinformation about how to catch raccoons, so that you can make an informed decision if you need to deal with a raccoon problem. This site provides many raccoon control articles and strategies, if you wish to attempt to solve the problem yourself. If you are unable to do so, which is likely with many cases of raccoon removal, please go to the home page and click the USA map, where I have wildlife removal experts listed in over 500 cites and towns, who can properly help you with your nuisance raccoon. Click here to read more about how to get rid of raccoons.

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