Animal on the Roof - Trap and Remove

11.12.2003 - This was yet another case of an animal in an attic.  The customer called me, and was hearing all sorts of running and walking noises in the attic, with most of the activity coming at night.  From the description of the problem, it sounded like a larger animal, as opposed to rats or squirrels.  Larger animals most commonly include raccoons and opossums.

I arrived at the house and began my inspection.  It wasn't hard to find that a large hole had been torn right into the roof.  At this point, I knew that I was dealing with a raccoon.  Only raccoons are strong enough to claw and rip a hole right through the shingles and the wooden roof itself.  My attic inspection confirmed it, as the attic contained raccoon droppings and tracks.

I could not see the animal in the attic.  This is very often the case when I do my attic inspections.  The critter finds a way to slink off and hide very still in some dark corner or under some insulation, and in a large and debris-filled attic, I often don't spot the animal(s).  However, the evidence and the noise meant that it was there, somewhere.

I set a special trap system up on the roof.  I created it on the spot, since it's not something I normally carry around, since I don't often have a hole coming out of a flat area - most holes are somewhere in the architecture that won't allow this system.  I used heavy gauge steel mesh and made what is called a nose cone.  This closed off any point of exit except to go directly into the trap.  After it was all securely bolted down, and all the other potential exit points sealed shut, I left.

I returned the following morning, and had caught this raccoon.  It's important to never leave an animal trapped on a roof for long - it can overheat and die.  I unbolted the trap, removed the raccoon into my truck, and then got to work on a normal, good old-fashioned roof repair.

Do it yourself: Visit my How To Get Animals Out of the Attic page for tips and advice.
Get professional help: Visit my Nationwide Pro Directory of wildlife removal experts.

Remember, the most important step in a total wildlife control solution is to stop the source of the problem - if you have wild critters in your attic or home, the only way to permanently solve the problem is to close all the entry points! This is a special skill, and it requires extensive knowledge of both architecture and animal behavior. Being a skilled repairman also helps. All repairs should be done in such a way that keeps animals out for good - this often means sealing with steel, and sealing openings so that they are airtight, with no trace of airflow for animals to detect. Remember, rodents can gnaw through almost anything, and raccoons can tear through almost anything. While it's important to trap and remove animals, and clean up the waste they leave behind, the most important step in solving the critter problem and in keeping animals out forever is to identify and repair every last critter access point into the building. Without this crucial step, the job isn't complete.

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