How To Get A Raccoon Out Of Your House
How to Get a Raccoon Out of Your House
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Removal of raccoons from a home is not as simple as just setting a cage trap or two outside. In fact, that can be one of the worst things you can do. If there are raccoons living somewhere in a house, such as the attic, ceiling, walls, or under the home, there is most likely a litter of baby raccoons inside, and they must be dealt with before you remove any adults. Also, it’s very important to identify and seal the entry holes into the house as part of the job.
Below is an email that I got from a person in northern New Jersey, which I then forwarded to a wildlife trapper in that area. He then wrote back about what happened with this situation involving a raccoon in the house.
ORIGINAL EMAIL: I am convinced based on your excellent web site that I have a Mother and babies in the attic/wall of my house. I am sure we can get the mother, not sure we can get the babies. I have gotten quotes, and I think they will just do the lazy way capture and remove the mom leaving me with the problem. I need someone in northern NJ. I am not sure where you are located. Do you have any recommendations. Thank you for the website.
THE STORY OF THE JOB, BY THE JERSEY RACCOON TRAPPER:
Thank you David, Funny story if you have a moment to read this.
The customer that wrote you did in fact call me Last Wed and yes he had spoken to several companies that would trap or exclude the mother raccoon but could care less about the babies and he did not want them left behind to smell out his house. I explained our services and he was happy and I made an appointment to inspect his house the following morning. On the phone he was a bit, how do I say, «Jersey City» type, lots of cursing, hated the raccoon and its young, wanted to make sure I killed them after I removed them etc etc. He also thought my inspection fee of $150 was excessive ($150 JUST TO LOOK ?) but finally agreed if I would arrive extra early so he could get to work on time. (note, he is as far away as I travel in my service area, about an hours ride one way) (just got our taxes done and we owe 10 grand this year, the income this past year was not the best we have done since we lost all our bat work, etc, but we did not have a lot of write offs either (No big medical bills LOL !!) so oh well, surprise. so, cant turn down work from jerk customers or our of area calls right now.
I was there at 7 am on Thursday. I was wrong about him being the Jersey city type. The house is a gated mega mansion, 6 car garage (Escalade, Beemer and two Harleys which look like they have never once been ridden). The house is 3 stories high with an extra story of the roof (where the entry is of course) and in about 8 sections like a maze.
He was not there, his wife was (nice huh?), and a decent friendly lady. She had to lock up the guard dogs so I could work (huge foreign breed, cant even spell what they are).
In «the third» of the 5 attics I found an arsenal of rifles, well over 100, and said well, wow ! She explained that her husbands father was a big time hunter who traveled the world hunting and when he died he had left the guns to him. He never used them, but did use one that he purchased himself last year on business trip overseas, a high power pellet gun with a scope that he shoots the squirrels with on the estate.
I found nothing in the attics, no evidence of raccoons. She took me to a room on the top floor where they said they heard the noises the most (the room is a massage room, tables and everything all set up, nice to be rich). I had a raccoon caller with me and played the chirping of raccoon babies to see if I got a response, she said that was the exact sound they had been hearing all week behind one of the walls in that room. The room was totally hard wood paneled. I found one of the panels was a door, and it led to closet. She had no idea that closet existed there at all. I opened the door and found huge paw prints in the dust on the floor, wow. But looking closer, those were not raccoon prints, they were dog prints. She said oh, her husband must have put one of the dogs in there to try and scare out the raccoon (which I believe was nesting above the ceiling of the closet, of course not attic space there). She said he has been on a quest to get rid of the raccoon and bringing the dogs out every night to try and kill it.
I used the caller several times, nothing, no sounds. She said it was weird, they heard her moving around and the babies crying every night except for the last night.
I did the outside inspection, I found the entry in a spot though the roof next to the chimney at the very peak of the house. My 28′ just made it to gutter line and I had to install two sets of roof brackets and boards to make stairs on the steep roof just to get close enough to the entry hole. While there I noticed something odd, never seen before. There was what looked like small drilled out holes, a hundred or more of them all around the entry hole, in the roof shingles and wood trim.
Ahhh, I figured it out. I went back down and asked the woman, by any chance, has your husband been using his high power pellet rifle on the raccoon. She admitted he had been, he was sitting out there every night for the last week trying to shoot it. The dogs were used to keep it from coming off the roof while he shot at it.
I told her, well, the reason your not hearing anything now is one of two reasons, either he shot it so many times it finally died up there, or it said enough of this and moved her and the pups out of there. I told her best I could do was install some light screen over the hole to see if the raccoon pushes it out so I know if its still coming and going or not (soft block).
As I am getting on this roof now for the second time she walks out and shouts up that one of her kids forgot his lunch and she had to bring it to the school and would be back in five minutes and away she goes.
I got the screen installed and packed up my gear and ladders and then waited a half hour for her, she did not return. I left a note on the door to call me and left, unpaid, no signed paperwork etc. That was Thursday.
This afternoon, Saturday the husband calls and tells me that the screen is not disturbed and they think they have a smell in that room now. I explained the only thing to do now was to open the ceiling in that room and take a look. He says. IS THERE EXTRA CHARGE FOR THAT, JUST TO LOOK ?
OH my o my o my did he get an earful, LOL ! and yes there is a charge for that, service call plus time to open the ceiling. What I did not quote was what it would cost to remove that carcass if I do find it. I think Ill surprise him with that when it happens. Also, I have our first NJ NWCOA chapter meeting tomorrow, so he has to wait until Monday for me. I guarantee I wont hear back from him, he will probably have one of those «other companies» he called last week for that service tomorrow.
Looking forward to seeing what will happen with my initial inspection bill. Should be easy to collect I’m sure, considering none the guns in his attic are registered and I know about them.
Always in all ways, the best to you and your family.
PS, have to tell you this man to man. Thank you again and again for our listings on your sites, seriously, with all the pest control companies now in our business competing for work, and so many folks out of work and the economy, and our bats totally wiped out which is a big hit, if it were not for you and the calls we get from your site for raccoons and squirrels I think I would be working as a security guard at night again and my wife working on the school bus in the mornings again, and living in a tenement. I am forever in your debt my friend. Someday Ill figure out a way to repay you for your generosity. I’m trying to make a go of doing training events and selling more lures. If that goes big perhaps that will be the ticket to our future !
Sorry that this email didn’t really contain any how-to information for how to deal with a problem with a raccoon in house. For excellent how-to information, please visit my how to get rid of raccoons page or my get rid of raccoons in the attic page, or my raccoon trapping page.
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.
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 wonвЂ™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 isnвЂ™t easily coaxed to the door, donвЂ™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 ..an 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.