Getting rid of raccoons for good is one of the most common wildlife removal inquiries on the web.  This is no surprise, as raccoons are notorious for entering homes, causing significant damage, and creating a ruckus in attics. In this article, witness the destruction that raccoons have caused in a few homes, and see how each situation was professionally handled.

Raccoon in the Chimney

This homeowner heard scuffling sounds coming from their chimney and soon discovered a raccoon had moved in. It is common for female raccoons to search for a den in chimneys and attics to give birth.  Unfortunately, once they have nested in a chimney, hiring a professional is often the only effective and safe solution for getting rid of a raccoon for good. This homeowner attempted a DIY Raccoon removal approach as recommended online. While a metal screen to block the chimney opening was a logical step, you can see the raccoon had no issue breaking through.

This raccoon breezed by a metal grate installed by a homeowner

The Fix

In the quest to get rid of raccoons for good, it is imperative that raccoon-proof exclusion and trapping techniques are applied. In this case, the Critter Control wildlife technician employed an effective and humane trap that captured the raccoon on its nightly departure from the chimney. Next, they then inspected the chimney for kits (babies). After ensuring no kits were present, the technician installed a raccoon-proof barrier.

Raccoons in the Attic

raccoon prints on duct work in attic

This homeowner became aware of an animal in the attic after hearing sounds in the night.  At first, they thought it might be a rat. However, after a thorough investigation by a Critter Control specialist, it turned out to be a bigger animal than expected.

To confirm the identity of the animal, technicians applied a footprint tracking powder on the ductwork.  The raccoon footprints corroborated suspicions, providing the wildlife specialist everything they needed to know.

Unfortunately, footprints are the best-case scenario when it comes to raccoon damage in the attic. The following stories show the destruction these critters are capable of.

In this case, raccoons were attempting to penetrate the ductwork inside this homeowner’s attic. Why do raccoons damage ductwork? For one, raccoons are gathering materials for the den. Additionally, raccoons in the attic may attempt to create new paths through the house. In other scenarios, it may be a simple case of curiosity, especially for young kits.

Aside from the financial cost of repairing ductwork, raccoon waste inside ductwork can pose various health risks. Beyond the unpleasant smell of raccoon waste, which wafts through the home via the air conditioning system, raccoon waste is a vector for disease. One example is the raccoon roundworm, an infection caused by accidental ingestion or inhalation of roundworm eggs found within raccoon feces. This has caused increased concern over recent years. Thus, if you have suspicions of raccoons or any other animal in the attic, call a wildlife professional.

How Do Raccoons Get into the Attic?

Raccoons are fairly industrious when it comes to finding a way into an attic. When possible, raccoons will exploit an existing hole. Despite the fairly large size of raccoons, the hole doesn’t have to be big. An adult raccoon can fit into a hole the size of a softball (3-4”). 

In the worst-case scenario, a raccoon will create or expand holes, tear off roof shingles, or destroy vents. Raccoons are powerful creatures for their size, and they have tough paws and sharp claws to help bypass obstacles that other animals would have trouble with. Here are a few examples that Critter Control technicians have encountered in the field.

Despite protests from the homeowners, this raccoon was determined enough to tear through roof shingles, and then past insulation. Raccoons will go to extreme lengths to enter a house in certain circumstances, especially if kits are already in the attic. Without the proper raccoon-proof architecture, they will find a way inside the attic. Critter Control not only removes wildlife but also repairs raccoon-damaged areas with the proper material necessary to get rid of raccoons for good.

Vents are another common access point that is not protected by a thick wooden board. To ensure you are getting rid of raccoons for good, raccoon-proof architecture is recommended for every potential access point even if damage has not yet occurred.

Raccoons are undeniably cute but do not let this fool you.  They can cause significant damage in a short period of time. In this case, the raccoon was able to tear through the siding of this house!

Here, a raccoon made its way into the house through the Soffit. Soffit and Fascia are common weak points that Raccoons exploit to make their way into the attic for denning.

This raccoon caused a cave-in from within the attic and even fell into the house.  The wildlife professional safely removed the raccoon, but this was just the first step in the process of getting rid of raccoons for good.

The Fix

Although many of these cases are different in terms of where the raccoon made entry, or how bad the situation became, the solution remains relatively unchanged. 

First, a wildlife professional conducts a thorough investigation into the homeowner’s house. All existing entry points are identified, along with an assessment of the existing architecture. In practice, this involves a thorough inspection of the interior of the attic. 

Next, the specialist investigates the outside of the property using ladders and safety equipment. If raccoons are inside the attic, professional trapping techniques are applied which catch the raccoon as it departs the house. DIY attic trapping is not recommended, as raccoons in the attic are known to thrash and react erratically from within cages.  After removal, exclusion techniques are applied to utilize raccoon-proof architecture which also deters entrance. This includes the installation of raccoon-proof soffit, raccoon-proof fascia, and raccoon-proof chimney coverings.