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Raccoon Control Blog - A Trapper's Journal

This weblog chronicles some of the adventures I have had while operating my wildlife removal company in Orlando, FL - Click any of the photos for a larger image and more information.

10.03.2008 - Mother Raccoon with Babies
Raccoons are excellent mothers.  They take great care of their babies.  When the babies are young, they stay in a nest while the mother raccoon goes and forages for extra food to make enough milk to feed them.  After about twelve weeks, the young have grown large enough that they start to follow the mother outside of the nest area (the nest is usually in a tree hollow or an attic) and outside, where they learn from her how to forage for food, and where are the best places to go.  They are weaned by 16 weeks. The young stay with her for some time, up to nine months, and ...click for more

06.19.2008 - Raccoons In Garbage Can
Raccoons are very urbanized animals.  Studies reveal that raccoon population densities are about ten times as high in urban areas than in wild areas.  Cities and suburbs simply have more of the resources needed for raccoons to survive - shelter in our attics and under our buildings, and food from pet dishes, handouts, and of course dumpsters and trash cans. I frequently get calls about raccoons that are causing problems around dumpsters and garbage cans.  Raccoons are very strong and crafty, and they make a big mess. They love to tip over garbage ...click for more

04.08.2008 - Raccoons Tearing Up Sod
Here's a common problem that people have with raccoons - the destruction of sod.  If you have your yard re-sodded, watch out for raccoon problems!  Raccoons are very clever, and they have nimble hands.  When yards are sodded, it's common for tasty earthworms and grubs to live right under the sod, on the surface of the soil.  For some reason, raccoons always have a tendency to know that there's food to be had, and they just peel back the surface of the sod like a rug, and eat the tasty morsels underneath. I was called out to trap a troublesome raccoon that was ...click for more

01.25.2008 - Raccoons in House - Get them Out
People always ask me how to get raccoons out of the house.  Raccoons are common nuisance critters in neighborhoods, and they often break into houses.  They have very little fear of people, and just want a nice place to live.  Unfortunately, they can cause quite a bit of damage, in addition to noise.  I've seen raccoons in many areas of homes.  They most commonly break in somewhere on the roof and live in the attic.  I've also seen them live in eaves, inside wall cavities, down in chimneys, and other parts of the architecture.  Sometimes they even go into the ...click for more

12.15.2007 - Raccoon Under House
Raccoons are opportunistic creatures who love to live in urban areas and neighborhoods.  They take advantage of any space they can find a good, dry, safe home.  Trees are in short supply, but houses aren't!  Many homes have raised decks or are elevated with crawlspaces underneath.  Many wild animals are attracted to such areas, which are protected from the weather.  It's common for raccoons to choose to set up shop under the house. Most of the raccoons under homes are solitary raccoons, or males.  Female raccoons who have young like to ...click for more

11.11.2007 - Raccoon Drawing
A couple of years ago I rescued a baby raccoon, as I commonly do. I put the photos of this raccoon on my website, as I also commonly do. The photos are located here cute baby raccoons if you want to see them. Anyway, a nice lady named Susan Smith wrote to me and asked if she could use my photos as inspiration to paint some wildlife pictures, and I said of course. I thought nothing of it until months later, when she emailed me a nice scan of a painting that she made out of one of my photos. I have put her painting and the original photo side by side for compar ...click for more

09.26.2007 - Raccoon in the Soffit or Eave
Here's a photo that I took yesterday of a raccoon just as it was about to re-enter this house.  You can see that it's torn open a hole in the soffit.  This is a very common entry point for raccoons.  The eaves of the homes often meet other parts of the roof, and the soffit is right there.  It's usually made of flimsy aluminum or vinyl, and it's a cinch for raccoons to tear it open.  This hole leads right into the attic of the home, where the raccoon has set up a nest.  Sometimes the raccoons live in the soffits or eaves themselves, or make their nest down in the soffit, where it's ...click for more

07.27.2007 - Raccoon Hunting
Ha ha HAA!!! I've got the little sucker now! I'm going to blast it with my .22 rifle, let the dogs get at it, skin it, tan the hide, make raccoon stew, and pick my teeth with the bones! Rar! That raccoon doesn't stand a chance against my superior manly intellect and my super manly weapon that I carry with me. I can't wait to take my rambo knife to this sucker's throat! No way you could outrun my trusty pack of hound dogs, you sneaky little raccoon. You thought you could get away from me, but now it's lights out! The final curtain for you!  I see you trying to hide up in that tree, you ...click for more

05.06.2007 - Raccoon Removal Company - Wildlife Control
I am usually quite pleased with myself when I am able to find and remove a litter of baby raccoons from a difficult area.  This type of work takes a lot of sleuthing and searching.  The customer had been hearing a lot of heavy scurrying and scratching noise in the cathedral ceiling in this room.  I saw a big hole in the roof, but there was no attic space for me to crawl in, because it was a cathedral ceiling (same slope as the roof, no real attic space).  Thus, I had to very carefully listen for any sign of baby raccoons. It would have been easy to simply set a trap and catch a ...click for more

04.14.2007 - Raccoon Tracks / Footprints
Here are a few different photographs of raccoon footprints that I've taken while doing wildlife control jobs.  Raccoons have distinct tracks, and their hands look somewhat like human hands, with a palm and long fingers.  The hind foot of the raccoon is longer, but they tend to walk on the ball of the hind foot, so the track often looks similar to the front foot. In the upper-left corner are some tracks inside an attic.  They were on a section of sheetrock where there was no insulation.  There was a fine dust covering this area, so the tracks were very distinct.  I actually saw this ...click for more

03.11.2007 - Raccoon Snare - Snaring an Animal
Raccoon sure manage to get themselves into all sorts of trouble!  This one somehow got itself lodged between a chain link fence and a wooden fence.  This was a really tight spot!  I don't know how it happened, but this raccoon was stuck fast.  We were called out to the scene.  The easiest way to remove wild animals from tight spots is usually with a snare pole - it's a pole with a plastic-coated metal cable that can tighten around the animal.  Many animal control officers use such a device. We were called out, and the property owner wanted the raccoon removed ...click for more

02.27.2007 - Raccoon Face Photograph
This is a photograph that I managed to take close-up of a raccoon. It was hiding in a duct, and I was able to get my camera very close. I caught this critter, so I know it was a female. But with raccoons, I can always tell anyway. Male raccoons have a different appearance than females. The differences are subtle, but it's easy to tell, just like it's easy to tell with people. Female raccoons simply look more feminine, or even prettier, if you will.  If you spent as much time looking at raccoons as I do, you'd start to recognize the differences as well. A male has a somewhat wider ...click for more

01.13.2007 - Fat Raccoon
This is one of the fattest raccoons that I've ever caught.  Interestingly, in the cage on the left, out of the photo is the actual fattest raccoon that I ever caught.  However, I decided to feature only a photo of this one, because I like how it is sitting.  It looks like a lazy blob, like Jaba the Hutt or something.  The one in this photograph weighed 22 pounds, and the one next to it was 29 pounds!  These sizes are very large for Florida raccoons, which rarely exceed 15 pounds.  Up north, raccoons this size are more common, and can even reach up to 50 pounds, but in FL mamm ...click for more

11.03.2006 - Raccoon Trouble Emails
Dear David- Greetings from Maryland. Your photos are dynamite and you certainly appear to be someone who is excellent in your profession, and enjoy the humane trapping and relocating of wildlife from domestic residences back to the wild. We have been 'tracking' a raccoon(s) through our basement and in between first and second floor rafters for several weeks. This evening we successfully trapped an adult raccoon in a Havaheart trap and released it about 10 miles out of town in the woods. The animal was unharmed in trapping, and appeared healthy, and ...click for more

09.18.2006 - Coonskin Cap
I wanted to wear a coonskin cap, to imitate Davey Crockett. I wondered if I should set a trap or pay for one out of pocket. If I bought the hat, what's the sport in that? And what about my wallet? Shell out the scratch, or make a catch - it's heads or tails - you call it. If I set a trap and caught a coon, then I'd have to skin it. That'd make me feel like a goon. I thought it over for a minute. What if, I thought, I made the catch, thus saving me some dinero? But then I chose not to dispatch, Thus making me a hero? Ah, I thought, now that's the ticket, have my cake and eat it too. So I ...click for more

07.12.2006 - Chicago Raccoon Job Emails
Dude, your site is awesome and helped me SO MUCH. I just did get rid of a raccoon in an attic above my kitchen. We used a live trap and some tuna and caught it and then took it over 10 miles away and released it into the forest preserve. I am in the process of looking for a company to go up in there now and remove all the insulation and shit that this thing left up there. I was considering putting on a mask, gloves and going up there and doing it myself, but after reading your site I'm thinking maybe I should let professionals do it. YOU HAVE BALLS man. lol Some of ...click for more

05.10.2006 - Raccoon Bait - What Foods Catch Raccoons?
This blog entry is about what bait is best to trap and remove nuisance raccoons.  If you are merely interested in feeding local raccoons, please, PLEASE do not feed the wildlife.  It is a lot of fun and it feels good to do, but it WILL result in animal suffering - critters dependent upon people, increased spread of disease, unhealthy animals, and starvation when the food source is inconsistent or stops.  If you want to know what food to feed a baby raccoon or pet raccoon, I don't advise keeping them as pets, nor am I an expert in that matter. I'm often asked what bait ...click for more

04.26.2006 - Raccoons in the Porch Stealing Pet Food
One of the common complaints that I hear from customers is that raccoons are feeding on pet food left outdoors.  Duh!  If you leave food outside, animals other than Spot and Fluffy are going to find and eat it.  The simple solution, I tell such people, is to take the food indoors, especially overnight, or make sure that the pets eat all of it. If you do take the food indoors, don't leave it adjacent to a pet door or in a screened-in porch.  Raccoons will still be able to smell it, and now they will break in to get to it.  That's what happened at this job today.  These two young raccoons ...click for more

04.02.2006 - Little Raccoon
No real point to this blog post except to show off this cute photo of Sean with an adorable little raccoon.  It was one of a litter of baby raccoons, perhaps six weeks old, that we removed from an attic earlier today.  We are keeping them in a box, and feeding them kitty formula, and then tomorrow we will bring them to Lee the wildlife rehabber, and she will raise them until they are large enough to fend for themselves. Raccoons like this one are almost hypnotic in their captivating power to leave their handlers entranced for hours on end, with their little black masks and ...click for more

03.10.2006 - Raccoon Active During the Day - Rabies?
One of the most common myths regarding wildlife is that a raccoon active during the daylight hours has rabies. That is just not true. I constantly receive phone calls from people who have spotted a raccoon active during the daytime, and they assume it must be rabid, and they call me to report this information and perhaps request that I come and remove the dangerous animal. Raccoons are primarily nocturnal animals, but the truth is that they do frequently forage during the daylight hours as well.  In particular, raccoons that haven't found enough to eat, or females who ...click for more

02.18.2006 - City Raccoon - Urban Raccoon Control
Cities are chock-full of raccoons.  It's this way not only down here in Florida, but all over the country.  Raccoons have become urbanized city dwellers.  They used to stay only in the undeveloped forests.  But raccoons are intelligent and adaptable animals, and they have learned that cities make a great place to live.  There's plenty of tasty garbage and pet food to eat, not to mention that handouts that some people insist on giving them (a dumb thing to do, and ultimately unkind to animals).  And there's also lots of great places to live that are far better than trees.  From under ...click for more

02.06.2006 - Wild for Notre Dame! Irish Raccoons
Cheer cheer for old Notre Dame, Baby raccoons are relatively tame, Thus you can stick a hat on their head, And replace Charlie Weis as coach instead.  What thought the coons be great or small, Into your attic they always crawl, While your loyal wildlife trapper dresses them for victory. Yes, these little fellows are now Notre Dame fans.  I showed them the Notre Dame - Pittsburgh game, and raccoons are a natural enemy of panthers, so they decided to side with the Irish.  One of them scampered up my pant leg and stole my ND hat and put it on his head, while the other ra ...click for more

01.18.2006 - Raccoon Questions and Answers
I found your sight through a Google search and have a question... actually any advice you might be able to give. I'm located in the NW suburbs of Chicago & have had a raccoon mamma raccoon with her kits in my attic now, for aprox 18 days. She had the babies probably about 14 days ago ( that's aprox when I heard for the first time, the babies chattering). The raccoon entered my attic ( and is currently entering & exiting at night only ), from the front roof louvres... which she tore apart a wide enough opening. I've seen her numerous times at night, come in and out of the ...click for more

10.01.2005 - Raccoon Trapping Tips
The below tips are meant for live-trapping raccoons.  I have never used lethal traps for raccoons, nor have I ever killed a raccoon (other than a few cases of sick animals that needed to be humanely put down).  So this page is not meant for fur trappers who use lethal traps or paw-hold traps. Tip #1 - Use a Large, Sturdy Trap - The right type of trap is important. I've used several types and brands, and some have failed - raccoons have escaped due to design flaws. There's several good brands out there, such as those by Havahart and Tomahawk and others, but just know ...click for more

09.15.2005 - Racoons in Attic
This is probably the third most common job that I do in my profession as a nuisance wildlife removal specialist - the racoon in the attic.  The most common job is rats in the attic, followed by squirrels in the attic.  But raccoons are also very common.  A typical job, such as this one, goes as such - I get a phone call from a homeowner who has been hearing a big racket in his/her attic, mostly at night.  The noise is usually described as very loud or heavy, and often accompanied by vocal noises, such as squealing or chattering.  Sometimes the homeowner knows it's an ...click for more

06.18.2005 - How to Solve Raccoon Problems
Crikey!  Florida attics get hot!  It's now late June, and the temperatures outside are in the mid-nineties.  But the temperatures inside attics are in the mid 140's.  Some of these attics are like ovens!  The air is so hot, it's hard to breathe!  I don't know how raccoons can stand to live in an environment like this, but they do.  I went to this home today because of scratching in the attic, and I came out completely drenched with sweat and with these two little critters!  Usually a mother raccoon has four young per litter here in Florida, but there were only two of these 10-week-olds. I ...click for more

05.08.2005 - Raccoons in Chimney - Get them Out
Your chimney is just like a big, hollow tree to some animals.  Critters such as squirrels and raccoons are great climbers.   They need a safe, dry place in which to live, so if your chimney has no chimney cap, get ready for some visitors! Female raccoons instinctively seek out high areas in which to create a nest.  Because raccoons are so common in urban areas, they often climb on houses and other buildings looking for a good place to set up a nest.  If they see an open chimney, that's a great place to pick.  They can easily climb down the flue, as ...click for more

03.16.2005 - How To Kill Raccoons
This is a larger-than-average raccoon for the state of Florida.  Most of the raccoons down here tend to the small size, with adults averaging about 9-10 pounds.  This one was 16 pounds.  Not huge, but a good size for this area. It was doing a common raccoon faux-pas: pooping in a swimming pool.  Raccoons love water, and they like to splash around, and wash their food (their name means "washes with hands") and they also like to poop in water, just like people!  The reason is to hide the feces, I suppose.  So they go on the shallow step and poop there. The home ...click for more

01.24.2005 - Raccoon Nest in Attic
Here's one of the finest sights a nuisance wildlife removal expert such as myself can see.  It's a nest of baby raccoons.  I frequently go to homes to solve problems with wild animals living in attics.  I'm not always sure of what the culprit will be.  It's usually rats, squirrels, opossums, or raccoons.  I can usually make a good guess based upon the description of the noises the customer is hearing, but not always.  Some people think that rats sound like packs of big dogs running about!  Regardless, when I get in the attic, I can read the signs (i.e. the tracks and the poop) ...click for more

12.07.2004 - Raccoons on the Roof
Raccoons are excellent climbers.  They are very strong, they have very nimble hands, and they can actually swivel their hind feet 180 degrees, allowing them excellent grip and the rare ability to descend a tree (or a wall, downspout, or screened-in pool such as seen above) headfirst.  Thus, raccoons commonly crawl on the roofs of homes.  Raccoons go on roofs for many reasons.  They often crawl up there for a safe place to spend the night.  Some people call me simply to report sleeping raccoons on top of houses.  Other times, they may crawl just for the heck of it.  I've wo ...click for more

10.25.2004 - Raccoons in the Ceiling
This was a rare case of raccoon removal.  There were raccoons in the house, which is not uncommon, but they were in an uncommon place.  In almost every case that I've dealt with thus far, the raccoons are in the attic.  However, in this case, all the noise was heard in between floors, above the first story ceiling and below the second story floor.  There's not a whole lot of room in that space.  However, critters have a way of fitting in tight gaps. I thought that the animals would be rats, or maybe squirrels, based on the location. However the homeowners were hearing voca ...click for more

08.23.2004 - Pet Raccoon
I probably get two or three requests per year for raccoon babies that people want to keep and raise as pets.  I mean, just look at how cute they are!  How darling!  Your grandaddy told you that he kept a raccoon as a pet, and it was great!  Who can resist that black mask and that ringed tail and those cute little hands?  I do admit, I handle a lot of baby raccoons that I get out of attics, and they are just about the cutest animal alive - cuter than kittens or puppies, and they make the most darling noises.  Just look at it cuddling on my lap. Irresistible. Great then! Just the pet you ...click for more

06.08.2004 - Raccoon Damage - Wall Torn out At Apartment
This was a very interesting job.  I got a phone call from one of the apartment complexes here in Orlando that I regularly service.  They usually have problems with squirrels getting into the attics of the buildings.  Thus, when I got yet another call for noises in the attic, I went prepared to do a squirrel removal job.  When I got on the roof of the 3-story building to inspect, I saw this!  There was a large hole torn into the wall of the apartment at roof level, with a big wooden board missing.  A tenacious female raccoon had climbed 3 stories up, which wasn't an easy climb ...click for more

04.01.2004 - Raccoon Eyes - Tapetum Lucidum Effect
This is a photo of a mother raccoon and two of her baby raccoons.  The babies have grown to a decent size, and are about ten weeks old at this point.  I removed them all from the attic of a home.  I actually removed the young raccoons manually, with a snare pole, and then set one each in the back of two traps.  The mother went in the trap to get her babies, and I caught her.  I then reunited them all.  In this photograph, the young are clinging to mom, and I took the photo of all three together. In people during photographs, the light of the flash will often reflect against the ...click for more

02.03.2004 - Remove Raccoons in the Wall
This was a very challenging job.  The homeowner knew she had a raccoon in her attic.  She'd called another company to take care of the problem, but they told her that it'd be a minimum of $2000 to solve the problem, and that they'd set traps on the ground outside the house.  I know that if a raccoon is in the attic, it's going to be a female raccoon with babies, and that traps on the ground will not solve the whole problem.  There's 3-4 baby raccoons somewhere in the attic, and they must be removed, or they will starve and die without their mom.  I was hired ...click for more

10.11.2003 - Raccoon Repellent
I get a lot of phone calls and emails asking about raccoon repellent. I respond to all of these emails explaining that there is no such thing as an actual effective raccoon repellent or deterrent. Many are marketed and sold. Some of the most common repellants sold are simply mothball flakes. They don't work, they can actually make you sick, and they are bad for the environment. Ammonia soaked rags don't work either. I've tried, in some very tight quarters where I thought it might work, but it does not. Some other repellents are based on predator urine. These can ...click for more

08.05.2003 - Raccoon Poison
The above photo is of a raccoon mother gently picking up and carrying one of its babies in its mouth.  I came across this raccoon today while I was driving from one job to another, and I got this photo, so I decided I'd share it on my blog. I've been getting a lot of emails lately about the use of poison for raccoon control. Raccoons do cause some problems for people, but if you have a raccoon issue, POISON IS NOT THE ANSWER.  First of all, there is no legal registered poison for killing any large mammal, including raccoons.  Second, I don't know of any effec ...click for more

05.03.2003 - Dead Raccoon In House Air Handler
This house was the worst-smelling house that I've ever been in. The odor was unbelievably wretched, both in stench and power. The house was completely unlivable. I knew, as did the owner, that a dead animal lay somewhere in the house, rotting. The smell had afflicted the house for ten days. I put on my HEPA filter mask and searched all around. I searched the attic extensively, but I couldn't find the source of the odor. Amazingly, I did find some living baby raccoons. I suspected that the mother raccoon must have died somewhere, but I could not find it. I ev...click for more

04.25.2003 - Raccoon Capture - Catching Raccoons
Baby raccoons are cute.  Attics are hot.  That's what I figured out during this job.  A husband and wife called me with suspicion of raccoons in the attic.  When I asked why they suspected they had raccoons living in the attic, they said, "Well, we've heard some scratching and clawing up there at nighttime, and we hear a sort of chattering that seems like it's raccoon sound, there's a scent that we think is raccoon poop, and every night we watch a fat raccoon climb the downspout and into a vent hole leading into the attic".  The evidence sounded good enough to me, so I head ...click for more

04.07.2003 - Raccoon Extermination
This is the largest raccoon that I've caught so far.  The customer told me that he had a very large raccoon that was continually ripping into his screened-in pool area, and that he needed a raccoon exterminator right away.  I told him that I could help him, but that I don't really exterminate raccoons.  I told him that I trap them in live cage traps and relocate them far outside the city limits, so that it will never be able to come back again.  "That's okay with me, just get rid of it!" he said, "But I think you're going to need an awful big cage, this sucker is huge!". I have a special very ...click for more

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