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Living Peacefully with Raccoons

raccoon-200x200-150x150Native Animal Rescue (NAR) receives many calls from the public with questions, concerns and situations regarding raccoons. Many of the calls are about injured raccoons and many are about healthy raccoons that have taken up residence under houses and decks or in attics. Although this can feel like the raccoons are a nuisance, with knowledge and an interest in learning, you can find ways to change their behavior so that you can co-exist with the wildlife in your neighborhood.

What can I do if there are raccoons in my attic or under my house or porch?
Can I trap raccoons and relocate them?
How can I discourage raccoons from taking up residence in buildings on my property?
How can I protect my home from wildlife?
I need help!

What can I do if there are raccoons in my attic or under my house or porch?

Take some time to evaluate the situation before taking action. In spring and summer, many mother raccoons are trapped, relocated or killed each year by people who consider them to be a nuisance. Baby raccoons or “kits” are then needlessly orphaned from their mother. Some of the luckier orphans are brought to NAR for rehabilitation, while others are left to die a slow inhumane death.

Wait as long as possible before you attempt eviction. Be patient. Mother raccoons generally move their babies on their own when they are about eight weeks of age. Be very careful not to separate parents from their offspring; doing so may result in unnecessary property damage as the raccoons frantically try to reunite with their offspring. Close off all but one entrance or exit to the den. Wait until all raccoons have left before sealing up the final entrance.

To urge a raccoon with young out of a den that is under your house, deck or in the attic, place a small battery operated radio set to a talk station into the den as well as a light. This disturbance will cause the raccoon to relocate her young. Many people choose to wait until the kits are old enough to follow their mother out of the den when the kits are about eight weeks of age. Seal all entrances when all the raccoons have vacated.

If you have a family of raccoons denning under your house, deck, in the attic, or under an out building keep dogs under control by housing and feeding them indoors at night when raccoons are most active.

Can I trap raccoons and relocate them?

Live trapping is not recommended for ridding your property of raccoons. Trapping and relocating is only a temporary solution, inhumane and illegal. Relocated raccoons have to fight with already established raccoons for territory, food and shelter. Most do not survive.

If you are determined to remove raccoons from your property, read this article for ideas.

How can I discourage raccoons from taking up residence in buildings on my property?

Sharing the neighborhood with our native wildlife is a privilege, one we can enjoy. Catching sight of a family of raccoons at night enriches our lives.

Here are some time tested methods you can try in order to promote harmony with your wild neighbors:

  • Never feed raccoons:  Deliberate feeding of raccoons makes them more comfortable around humans and more likely to get into situations where they are unwanted or in danger.  If there is no food and shelter to support them, most wild animals will go away and thrive in the natural habitat.
  • Fasten garbage can lids.
  • Keep sheds and garage doors closed.
  • Cut back tree limbs, approximately 3′ from roof lines.
  • Harvest all ripe fruit from trees, shrubs and off the ground.
  • Remove brush piles and trash accumulation.
  • Pick up family pet food and water dishes. Do not leave anything out overnight.
  • Sprinkle your lawn or garden beds with cayenne pepper.
  • Place ammonia soaked rags around the yard and under the house.
  • Play a radio.
  • Close off openings where roof lines overlap.
  • Replace and reinforce damaged screen vents.
  • Keep crawl spaces tightly covered.
  • Keep a spark arrester on the chimney.

I need help!

If you’ve tried everything you can think of to humanely deal with the animal causing problems on your property, it might be time to call one of the local pest control services that uses humane methods to remove the animals from under, over, inside your home, garage, or deck.

For many excellent ideas for protecting your home and your wildlife, visit: Protect Your Home! Protect Our Wildlife!

 

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