The North American raccoon is easily recognized by his black bandit’s mask, which lends credence to his reputation as a mischievous intruder who can often be found creating a nuisance both outside and inside homes throughout New Jersey.
Average-sized adult raccoons are about 15-20 pounds, although they occasionally weigh upwards of 25 pounds. Females have litters of around two to five babies – known as kits or cubs – in the late spring, and less commonly, in the fall.
Mostly nocturnal, raccoons are omnivores, and will feed on practically anything, ranging from mice and insects and small aquatic creatures to fruits and vegetables, and the contents of your garbage can. Though they don’t technically hibernate, they have a highly reduced level of activity throughout the winter. Raccoons forage heavily in the spring and summer, and primarily rely on their stored body fat during their winter rest period.
Raccoons are thought to be highly intelligent, able to learn and execute complex tasks quickly and remember them for years. They adapt to a variety of habitats, and will go wherever they can find an abundance of food.
When raccoons enter your home – typically taking up residence in the attic or crawl space – they can cause a great deal of damage, including the destruction of insulation.
Additionally, they may carry diseases, such as rabies and raccoon roundworm, which can be extremely debilitating to humans. It is important to avoid handling raccoons, as well as their urine and feces.
Even when coming across baby raccoons – who may look sweet and innocent – it is best to call in professionals to remove them. If you do need to move the babies, be sure to use caution and wear rubber gloves. The mother raccoon licks her babies, and this saliva may also contain the rabies virus or other diseases.
How Raccoons Get Into Your Attic
The three most common entry points:
• A raccoon may tear through what we refer to as the “Pacman,” - the spot where the soffit, which is typically vinyl, meets the shingles
• The animal may rip open a louver vent to get into the attic
• If a house – particularly a newer model - has an active attic fan, raccoons frequently pry off the mushroom-shaped plastic dome which covers the fan. Under the dome is lightweight screening that they can easily push past, and then bend the blades
How We Get Them Out
While many pest control companies simply set up a trap with bait in the attic, this is not an advisable method. This leaves the homeowner with the responsibility to check the traps everyday. In addition to the aforementioned concern about disease, there is also the possibility that the raccoon could become very aggressive, especially if they have babies.
Wildlife Control Specialist, LLC utilizes what’s called a positive set – a trap set up on the outside of the house that can be monitored externally. When the raccoon leaves the attic in search of food, it will be captured. And if the raccoon is already outside when the trap is set up, an additional trap can be placed alongside the first one to catch the raccoon when it re-enters the home.
Once the raccoons are caught, we close up and repair all access points, to ensure that no other animals can enter the attic. We take care to place exclusion barriers that will last permanently and will in no way detract from the aesthetics of the home.
Our services are always performed in a humane, animal-friendly manner. In instances when the attic is inhabited by a raccoon and her babies, we can reunite the mother with her kits by temporarily placing a nest box in a tree. This is seen in the video below, which details our entire raccoon removal process.