Raccoons may look cute, but looks can be deceiving! They are bold foragers and will not hesitate to invade your home. Keep reading to find out how to get raccoons out of your attic and keep them out!
How Can I Tell if I Have Raccoons in the Attic?
Raccoons are not small and dainty creatures! If you hear footsteps and thumping, it could be raccoons. Some homeowners describe the sound of raccoons overhead like there is a child running around in the attic.
Baby raccoons, called kits, are born in the spring. When their mother is away, they will cry, chirp, and squeak for her return.
Since raccoons are nocturnal (this means they are awake at night, and sleep during the day), they will make the most noise during the evening and night time.
Do a visual inspection of your attic space. Raccoons will use just about anything, including leaves, twigs, and insulation to create nests.
Fecal matter is a dead giveaway that your attic is housing stowaways. Raccoons typically use one area for a bathroom. You will probably be able to smell the feces before you see it. Look for urine stains that may show up on ceilings and upper walls.
Raccoons are much bigger than rats, mice, or even squirrels. They can be up to 28 inches long and weigh up to 20 pounds. An animal that size can cause some damage to your home!
Look for bite and scratch marks on the roof, and on the inside of the attic. Raccoons can damage the roof, structural supports, insulation, wiring, ductwork, and more.
Are Raccoons Dangerous?
Raccoons can carry parasites and diseases that may be passed on to humans. Always wear gloves and a mask when dealing with raccoons or raccoon waste. Raccoons can also bite and scratch if they feel threatened. Contact a medical professional if you are bitten or scratched.
How Did the Raccoons Get In?
A determined raccoon will enter your attic, even if it has to tear its way in. They can destroy the edge of the roof where it meets the eaves to create an opening. They will tear off roof vents, and plumbing mats. They may even play Santa Claus and climb down the chimney.
How Do I Get the Raccoons Out?
Now that you have determined that there are raccoons in the attic, the first step is to find out how many are up there. If there is a mother raccoon with babies, getting them all out is a little more difficult.
You cannot shut the mother out, and leave the babies inside. Not only is this cruel, but the mother will become desperate to get to her babies. She may cause serious damage to your home trying to reach them.
Start the raccoon eviction process with more gentle deterrent methods, especially if there is a nest of babies involved.
Raccoons prefer a dark environment. Sometimes, all it takes to scare them away is a few strategically placed bright lights. A motion-activated flashing light can also be effective.
Loud noises may scare raccoons from your attic. Try playing a radio, or set up a motion-activated alarm.
The smell of mint or peppermint may chase raccoons from your attic. Spray peppermint oil around the attic, especially near the raccoon’s entrance point. You could also soak cotton pads in peppermint oil and place them around the attic.
Raccoon Eviction Fluid
Raccoon eviction fluid is made of predator scents that will scare raccoons out of the attic! This is particularly effective if you have a nest of babies living in your home.
The mother raccoon will do everything she can to remove her kits from a perceived threat. Soak rags with the fluid and place them near nests and entrances.
A baited trap can be used on stubborn raccoons. Check your local laws before catching and releasing any wildlife. Place peanut butter, seeds, hot dogs, or any other food item in the trap, set it, and watch for the raccoon to take the bait!
A trapped raccoon may bite and scratch. Always wear heavy gloves when handling the cage.
If you have a nest of babies, carefully remove the babies with leather gloves. Place them in the back of the trap to lure the mother into the trap. Once you have the whole family captive, you can safely release them far away from your home.
How Do I Keep the Raccoons Out?
Seal All Openings
This may sound crazy, but an adult raccoon can fit through a 4-inch opening! Check all areas of the attic for holes or openings. Seal the openings with wire mesh and caulk. Raccoons may gain entry through the chimney. Install a chimney cap to keep them out!
Make sure all the raccoons and kits are out of the attic before you seal it! A mother that cannot reach her babies will become frantic and destructive. If you trap a raccoon in your home, it can destroy your attic trying to get out.
Clean Up Waste
Raccoon waste is not only smelly, it can carry diseases and parasites! Always wear gloves and a mask when handling raccoon waste. Make sure that all waste is removed.
Treat any areas affected by the raccoon waste with a bleach solution. Remove any items, such as insulation that have been in contact with raccoon feces and/or urine.
If you are not able to deep clean your attic space, hire a cleaning company that specializes in hazardous waste.
Like I said, raccoons can be destructive! Have a licensed electrician come in to inspect wires in the attic. Chewed wires can cause a fire. Check beams for any structural damage, and replace any destroyed insulation.
Trees that come right up to the roof make a great pathway for raccoons and other pests. Trim trees back from the house to help keep pests away!
Raccoons may be cute but they belong in your attic! Get them out of your attic, and keep them at a distance with these tips.