Though cute, these masked bandits are smart and can easily find their way into your home or office. They have even been known to manipulate a door latch. Around Oakland, raccoons are everywhere, and it is not legal to relocate them because moving them can spread disease into new areas.
Raccoons are omnivorous, and urban environments provide plenty of food sources like backyard fruits and vegetables, pet food, bird feeders, and trash cans. Hollow trees provide an ideal den for raccoons. Attics and crawlspaces provide the same advantages as a hollow tree to create a den.
Signs of a Raccoon Problem
Raccoons are ever recognizable with their black-masked face and nocturnal habits. Mother raccoons may destroy and enter parts of your home, especially your attic, in order to create a suitable place to raise their young.
The most common sign of a raccoon in your house is the noise. Homeowners hear movement noises like thumping and scurrying and vocal sounds. Typical vocalizations include purring, chittering, growling, snarling, hissing, whimpering, and even screeching.
Nocturnal critters, spotting a raccoon is rare. Homeowners are more likely to see physical evidence like raccoon traps and raccoon poop.
Raccoons will enter a residential area, including your own, in search of food. If you have noticed your trash cans flipped over and the bags of trash in them destroyed, then you may have a problem with raccoons.
When raccoons decide to den in attics, they can cause significant property damage. The animals tear up roof shingles and damaged vents to gain entry. They will use available materials like insulation to create nests. They also destroy home gardens, birdfeeders, and make messes of trash cans and garbage bins.
They establish latrine sites that can pose serious health risks if located on residential properties. Raccoon feces carries Baylisascaris procyonis (raccoon roundworm) which can spread to people and pets.
In addition to raccoon roundworm, raccoons spread diseases and parasites like rabies, tularemia, giardia, salmonellosis, canine distemper, and leptospirosis.
Critter Control Raccoon Removal Process
The purpose of the inspection is to develop a custom plan to solve your raccoon problem, repair raccoon damage, prevent future raccoon problems, and apply sanitization agents.
The inspection starts where you noticed a problem. From there, they will look for entry points inside your home, investigate your property including your roof, and identify physical evidence like raccoon tracks and droppings. Raccoons are strong, resourceful, and excellent climbers. They can find or create entry points through chimney caps, soffits, roof vents, roof returns, or shingles. A raccoon only needs a hole the size of a grapefruit to squeeze through.
Raccoon's home range varies, but in urban areas, it generally spans one mile. Wherever there are acceptable food sources, raccoons will set up denning sites.
Raccoon Removal and Control
Exclusion is the best raccoon control. You have to make sure the raccoon is out of your house before you seal it up. Raccoon cage traps are the most effective and humane way to remove a raccoon. Direct capture is not commonly used because raccoons are a rabies vector species. Relocating trapped raccoons depends on local laws and ordinances. Habitat modification will keep raccoons out of your home after an infestation. Securing garbage cans and keeping pet food inside are simple measures to keep raccoons away.
Raccoon Damage Repair
After raccoon removal, it is imperative to seal all entry points to prevent future entry. Ensuring you don’t create a home for raccoons outside your property will also help prevent attracting raccoons. However, habitat modification will become very important for prevention after dealing with a raccoon invasion. Repellents offer temporary solutions. Raccoons grow accustomed to frightening devices, and there are no toxicants regulated for raccoons.
Common repairs when raccoons invade your attic, chimney, or basement include repairing chewed wires, sealing entry holes and gaps in your roof, replacing insulation, and disinfecting the entire area.