When Do Raccoons Have Babies In Pennsylvania
Raccoon Nest In Attic — Nesting Season
- 1 Raccoon Nest In Attic — Nesting Season
- 2 Department of Environmental Conservation
- 3 Scientific Name: Procyon lotor
- 4 How to deal with problem Raccoon in Pennsylvania
- 5 Raccoon Baby Season Is Approaching (Here’s What You Need to Know)
- 6 How Long Do They Stay?
- 7 What To Do
Raccoons very frequently create a nest inside attics and trees. The females usually have 3-5 young per litter. The nesting season is usually in spring, with peak time for birth in March, and the babies are often noticeable in April. However, nesting season varies depending on what part of the country the raccoon lives in. Down south, they might give birth any time of the year, even though spring is still the most common time.
If you have a nest of baby raccoons in your house, such as in the attic or ceiling, they must usually be removed by hand. You can’t set traps for such little animals — they will just stay in the nest, nursing from the mother raccoon, until they are at least 3 months old, at which point they might start to exit the nest to start foraging. You can’t just trap the mom raccoon and leave the babies in the nest to starve and suffer to death. You’ve got to remove them by hand, such as in the below photo:
Raccoons and nests — A raccoon will build a bed just like most creatures, and a raccoon inside of a home is probably looking to have a family. A raccoon is not picky about what it uses for a nest. Outside, the most common material used are long grasses and hay, though the creature is smart enough to cart fabric remnants back to a den location. Raccoon inside of a home are far more at ease. Insulation provides amazing comfort and warmth, and a raccoon will shred the material until it generates enough of a pile to burrow within. When it comes time to give birth, a mother raccoon in a home will be far more at ease than one outside. This is why most invading raccoons are female. If you’re going to remove the adult, you need to do a thorough search for young. There is almost always a cluster of kits somewhere in the home. If you’re uncertain of their whereabouts, wait until nighttime and listen for squeals and soft sounds. It’s difficult to tell a raccoon nest from other animals’ if you don’t have a trained eye. A squirrel nest might be just as large; however, a squirrel nest tends to be more intricate than that of a raccoon.
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How do I know if the raccoon in my attic has had babies — If you can’t find out for certain, it’s always best to assume the raccoon in your attic had babies somewhere in the building. Most of the adult raccoons that enter a building are females with the idea in their head to have a family. That’s not to say you won’t occasionally encounter a male raccoon in the attic, but females offer their own challenges when it comes to removal. If you’re able to get close enough to the raccoon to see it clearly, try to discern protruding nipples on its belly. This is a sure sign the animal has young. Beyond that, unless you’re a professional who can tell a female raccoon just by looking at it, you’re going to have to guess. Trapping a raccoon in your home is often illegal depending on where you live. Because of the potential complication of babies in the attic, calling in a wildlife removal company isn’t unreasonable. Not only will the professional be able to trap the adult, if there are any babies in the space, the expert will be able to find and remove them, too.
Raccoon nesting habits — The main criteria is a safe place, safe from predators and the elements. Trees are great, as are attics. The mother will scout around in its territory, looking for a good spot in which to give birth. During this phase, they will often tear open holes in roofs of houses. Once inside, or in any safe place, they will just find a suitable spot. Raccoons don’t build nests, like birds and squirrels do. They don’t really bring in nesting debris like sticks or leaves. They do, however, leave their waste near the nesting area, and all around the attic. If you want to see photographs, click here for raccoon droppings and feces identification.
Raccoons and their young — Most people who have a problem with a raccoon in the home have a raccoon that is female. That’s not to say a particularly bad winter won’t drive male raccoons into an attic, but most of the time the pest up there is a mother-to-be, and she’s getting ready for nesting season. In nature, male raccoons kill litters that are not theirs. This throws the female into another heat cycle and allows that male to breed her. It’s a sad cycle, and female raccoons are all too aware of the danger males mean to their babies. Because of this, a female raccoon will often leave her normal territory to find a place safe. There are few places as protected from the weather and predators as is a human house. Once the female bullies her way inside she’ll set out to make a nest. This nest is going to be made of insulation and anything else she can tear off the walls of your home. Usually, though not all the time, the nest will be inaccessible to you, down inside of a wall or tucked into an eave. Getting the babies out is just as important as getting out the adult. Often, you can use the babies to lure the mother into a cage trap if you can get the litter nest of baby raccoons out of the attic first.
If you find a baby raccoon nest in a tree, it’s no cause for alarm. I say, just let ’em be! Unless they are causing you any specific damage or problem you don’t want, leave them alone. If you do want to remove them, be sure you catch and remove them all together, the mother plus the juvenile racccoons, so that the mother can care for the young after you relocate them. You can set a trap at the base of the tree for the adult, and them remove the nest from the tree by hand, and put them in an animal carrier, and bring them all to the same place when it’s time to let them go. Hopefully, the mother will find a new tree.
Raccoon nesting box — you can help out by building a nest box for raccoons. Any wooden box, at least two feet wide, with an opening of at least 6 inches, will do. It must be off the ground, preferably in a tree. That’ll help out raccoons a great deal. However, to be honest, and this is coming from a raccoon lover, I’m not sure they need the help. There are so many raccoons in cities now, it’s crazy! One more good nesting area will only increase the population. Click here to learn everything about how to get rid of raccoons in the attic, from the web’s best guide. guy listed in Cleveland on my directory of professionals. He’ll do a good job.
Department of Environmental Conservation
Scientific Name: Procyon lotor
Raccoons are «well-rounded,» often plump, with reddish brown to grey fur. Adults weigh an average of 15 pounds, and are readily identified by alternating rings on the tail and characteristic black «mask.»
Raccoons are important furbearers, providing income and recreation to hunters and trappers in New York State. Many people enjoy watching or photographing raccoons. Some people feed them, but this is unnecessary and unwise. Keeping raccoons as pets may be harmful to both humans and raccoons, and is illegal.
Distribution and Habitat
Raccoons are among the most widespread mammals in New York State. The adaptable raccoon can be found everywhere, from the most remote forest to the crowded inner city. Raccoon populations often are more dense in large cities than in the wild, but abundance varies widely in different types of habitat and different parts of the state.
Raccoons feed mainly at night. They eat fruit, nuts, berries, small animals, and insects and also will feed on pet food, garbage, and garden crops.
Female raccoons look for den sites in late winter. Litters of one to seven young are born in April and May. Young raccoons open their eyes about three weeks after birth, and often announce their presence with mewing, twittering, or crying sounds. They nurse for about six weeks, then leave the den to follow the mother until September or early October when they disperse and establish their own territories.
Mortality and Disease Factors
Canine distemper is a common disease and is usually fatal. Raccoons with distemper act tame or confused, and eventually lose coordination, become unconscious, and die. Distemper cannot be transmitted to humans or immunized pets.
Raccoon rabies reached New York in 1990 and has become widespread. Rabies is a viral disease with symptoms similar to distemper. Rabid raccoons may behave aggressively, salivate heavily, or have paralyzed hind legs. Rabies can be transmitted to humans and other animals by the bite of an infected animal. If you suspect a raccoon is rabid, avoid or destroy the animal and contact local health officials.
Roundworm infects most raccoons in New York at some time in their lives. The roundworm rarely causes the raccoon any problems, but the animals pass large numbers of eggs to the environment. Eggs ingested by another animal may hatch and cause nerve damage.
Raccoons are protected by law. No one may possess a raccoon without a license, and licenses are not issued for pet wildlife. Hunting or trapping raccoons requires a license. The law allows unlicensed homeowners and farmers to destroy raccoons that damage property. However, property owners should try eliminating food and shelter before killing the animal.
Except where temporarily reduced by rabies or distemper, raccoon numbers may be very high. While densities in rural areas may be 20 — 40 raccoons per square mile, raccoon densities in some developed parts of the state (e.g. Long Island) may exceed 100 per square mile.
Raccoons can become a nuisance if people unknowingly supply food or shelter for them. They can be attracted by food available in gardens, fish ponds, pet feeders, or garbage or by cavities that might offer shelter.
Here are some ways to prevent raccoons from becoming a nuisance:
- Do not leave pet food outside. Feed pets only as much as they will eat at once, and remove all leftovers. If necessary, place pet feeders in an enclosed area such as a porch, garage, or barn.
- Keep garbage bags in an entry-way or garage, and in a metal can. Run a rubber strap, rope, or soft wire through the lid and attach to the can handles. To make it hard for raccoons to remove lids, hang the can one foot above the ground or use a rack and secure the cans upright.
- Surround gardens with an electric fence made up of two wires attached to an insulated post: one wire four inches and the other eight inches above the ground. Install the fence before vegetables ripen.
- Block the openings raccoons are using to get into your attic, porch, or other location. Place a temporary cover when the raccoons leave on their nightly search for food, and make a permanent seal later. To check if the raccoons have really left, sprinkle twigs, grass, or flour in the opening and watch for tracks. Caution: do not permanently seal entrances without first verifying that all animals are out of the den. Especially in the spring, look and listen for animal noises.
- Nuisance wildlife control persons licensed by New York State can be hired to deal with problem raccoons. Injured and «orphaned» raccoons should be left alone. Animals actually in need of assistance may be cared for by licensed wildlife rehabilitators. The DEC regional office can refer you to these individuals.
How to deal with problem Raccoon in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Game Commission/Jacob Dingel
Raccoons are easy to recognize, with a prominent black mask across the eyes, grizzled gray and black coat, and ringed tail. This native mammal inhabits woodlands and marshes in rural and urban areas throughout North America. Raccoons can be found in virtually any habitat, as long as water is nearby. Raccoons are omnivorous, feasting on frogs, small fish, crayfish, small mammals, birds, eggs, reptiles, insects, fruits, and nuts. In agricultural areas, raccoons commonly cause substantial damage when they feed on corn and fruit crops or kill poultry. In residential and other developed areas, raccoons are attracted to bird seed, garbage, pet foods, some garden crops, and fruits. They can damage lawns when feeding on insects and earthworms.
Raccoons are nocturnal and relatively silent. They den for the winter in tree cavities, rock crevices, and brush piles. However, in developed areas they also will den in attics, chimneys, sheds, buildings, decks, and crawl spaces where they can threaten the health and safety of people and pets. Raccoons carry rabies and raccoon roundworm.
Breeding females give birth to an average of three to five cubs between April and July. Raccoon cubs are weaned in approximately two months, and quickly become active and capable of leaving the den. The young remain dependent on their mother throughout summer, becoming self-sufficient by fall. Nuisance control activity should take breeding seasons into account to prevent orphaning young.
Raccoon Baby Season Is Approaching (Here’s What You Need to Know)
As we head into raccoon baby season there is some important information we should all be aware of that can facilitate early detection and humane removal should you find yourself unwittingly hosting a young family to be.
Raccoons will mate in late winter, with their litters born in April/May. However, we have seen babies come as early as March and as late as June. On rare occasions, if the mother lost her first litter early in the season, a secondary litter will be born, as late as July. But this is not a very common occurrence.
So once March hits, it’s important to keep an eye out for any signs raccoons could be attempting to break into your attic, garage, shed or under your deck. Having said all that, the most common place they are found is still the attic.
While raccoons live outdoors, in order to create nests for their babies, they actively seek out warm spaces. Your attic is by far the best choice. It’s an elevated space which means protection from predators, it has nesting materials readily available and offers an element of built-in privacy.
The silver lining in all this (if there is one to be found) is that this process is seldom subtle. You will notice immediately if raccoons are getting ready to have their babies in your attic.
Recognizing Their Presence
The biggest difference maker in this whole process will be how quickly you become aware of the problem and address it. Raccoons are not discreet animals, weighing in at anywhere between 10-60 pounds, it’s in your best interest to deal with them immediately.
Signs raccoons have gained entry to your residence:
- Visible entry points on the exterior of the building – often you will see bent siding, damaged soffits/roof vent or other obvious signs of animal entry.
- Thumping and rustling – because raccoons are large animals we hear them moving around and preparing their nest.
- Baby’s cries/chirps – much like their human counterpart, baby raccoons are very vocal in during the early days. You will hear them crying regularly throughout the day (and unfortunately nights). See video below this section to hear an example of what baby raccoons sound like.
- See the mother hanging around on the property. She will not wander too far while her kits are young and helpless.
Potential Damage if Left Unattended
If these pests are left unattended for any duration of time in your attic, the damage can (and will) be devastating. Contact a wildlife professional immediately. A day or two wasted trying to do-it-yourself is all the time they need.
Types of damage most often afflicted by raccoons during mating season:
- Contamination of attic space (urine, feces, nesting, birthing process).
- Damage to the building – soffit, siding, roof vents, etc.
- Damaged, ineffective insulation.
- Damage to structural beams, air ducts, electrical, etc.
The costs associated with repairs and remediation of wildlife inhabitation will often run into the thousands of dollars. It’s in the homeowner’s best interest to quickly and humanely evict the unwanted guest as soon as possible.
How Long Do They Stay?
It takes roughly three months for baby raccoons to be able to move around on their own. Before the three months are up, you’re unlikely to see any baby raccoons in your home; they’ll be nestled away in the insulation while their mother goes out to forage. A litter will contain between 1 and 8 kits, with the typical size being 3-5 babies. The mother has to wait till they are all mobile.
At three months of age, baby raccoons will begin to forage on their own, branching out into the attic space at large and the outdoors. However, raccoons won’t necessarily vacate the premises after the baby raccoon season has finished. If they’ve found a safe, warm, and comfortable space, they’ll continue to return to that space over time. This is especially true if the raccoons were living in your attic prior to mating season.
Another reason you want to avoid having these animals give birth on your property is that the following year, the female babies will return to the same location to have their litter. And each subsequent year that follows the young females will attempt to return. Don’t let the cycle get started.
What To Do
One of the very worst ways you can deal with this issue is by sealing the raccoons in the attic. While it will prevent them from wandering throughout your home, the mother and babies will starve to death in your attic space.
Raccoons mean no harm by living in your attic; the raccoon mother is simply trying to find a warm place for her babies. Contact a wildlife removal service immediately to deal with the issue. Reputable and humane companies employ measures that not only ensure quick and safe removal of the mother raccoon and her babies but will also provide a lifetime warranty for their service. Raccoon removal should only be done by professionals.
Do not contact a traping company as they may not be the most humane option available. There are humane ways of removing raccoons that allow the animals and their offspring to relocate on their own to another den in the area. Untouched by the human hand and free to resume tearing apart our garages and patrolling our neighborhoods at night.