Raccoons are highly adaptive pests that are capable of causing significant damage to your home. The two main reasons raccoons come around are a search for food and a search for a place to live. These wildlife creatures are easily recognizable with their ringed tails and mask-like markings on their faces. Their paws are dexterous, allowing them to access areas other pests can’t. Raccoons can bite when threatened and also carry diseases such as rabies, distemper, and parasites. They can cause damage to crawlspaces and attics by chewing through walls, sheetrock, etc.
Raccoons are nocturnal creatures and oftentimes can hang out around your house without you even realizing they are there. Here are 5 signs you may have a raccoon problem around your home.
- Raccoon Tracks: Raccoon tracks are one of the most common signs that they are in or near your home. Raccoon tracks are easy to identify; in fact, they are very similar to human footprints. They usually measure 4″ or less in size. They can commonly be found in areas with soft soil, near fences, near buildings, at the bases of trees, and near trash cans.
- Feces: Raccoon feces, also known as scat, can be hard to tell apart from the feces of other animals. Raccoons will usually leave their scat near tree bases, woodpiles, and trash cans.
- Scratching: Raccoons are known to scratch the bark of trees, especially near the base. You may also find scratch marks on sheds, porches, and other outdoor structures.
- Sounds: Raccoons are capable of producing over 50 unique sounds including growls, squeals, and purrs. If you are hearing odd sounds that you can’t attribute to other common animals, you may have a raccoon lurking.
- Trash: Raccoons are attracted to the smell of garbage in your trash cans. With their dexterous paws, they are capable of opening trashcan lids and will do anything within their means to get inside. When raccoons are present you will often wake up to trashcan lids open, cans turned over, and ripped trash bags with their contents strewn around your yard.
Raccoons can become an issue when they take up residence in or near your home. Keep raccoons out of your home with these tips:
- Don’t approach a live raccoon. They will bite or scratch if they feel threatened.
- Don’t feed raccoons. They will continue to return in search of more food.
- Secure your trashcans with rope, chain, clamps, or even cinder blocks.
- Feed your pets indoors; if they must be fed outdoors, don’t leave their food out overnight.
- Bring in bird feeders at night, as well.
- Lock pet doors at night.
- Secure compost containers, as well.
- Cover any entry points to your home with metal mesh or metal flashing.
- Double bag any meat products before throwing them away.
- Rake up any fallen fruit from trees.
- Utilize motion activated lights, sound machines, etc. to scare them away.
- Trim back branches and limbs from the exterior of your home to limit their access to your roof.
If you have a problem with raccoons or other wildlife, contact your local wildlife control company for a thorough inspection and wildlife control plan.