- 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) and tell what animal I'm dealing with.
If I'm dealing with
raccoons, my top priority becomes clear - find the nest of baby raccoons! You see, raccoons break into attics for one primary reason: their instinct to make a nest high
off the ground, where it's safe from predators. Male raccoons or solitary raccoons seldom bother to live in attics. It's always the female raccooons with a litter
of babies. The babies are small and helpless, so they must be found and removed manually by hand. Don't hire a lazy trapper who will merely set a trap outside to
catch the adult! You have to get the young!
Finding the raccoon nest can be very tricky. The female has usually stashed her young in a very hard to find and
hard to reach place. She wants them to be safe. I often spend a very long time in attics, sometimes just sitting very still and quiet in the dark, listening for
them. Eventually one of them will let out a soft chatter or coo, and then I can find them. In this case, they were down at the very end of a cathedral ceiling.
That means virtually no space for me! But I am persistent. I am relentless. I squirmed down the tight gap, camera in hand, and got to the raccoon nest, and
took this photograph. I stuffed the young into a pillowcase, and got out of there.
The next step, as always, is to use the young to lure the mom into a trap, and
then relocate them all together into the wild. There, it's up to the mom raccoon to make a new nesting area for the young, who are not ready to survive on their own.
The ones in this photo are about five weeks old. They are not fully weaned until 16 weeks.
Do it yourself:
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The raccoon (Procyon lotor)
, is a unique animal native to North America. It's not closely related to any other animals, with distant relatives such as bears and weasels. Coons are easy to recognize, with a black mask and ringed tail. Raccoons tend to weigh between 10-20 pounds
as adults. They are mostly nocturnal, and are omnivores. Racoons average a lifespan of about 5 years in the wild, and have a litter of 3-6 young each spring. They are very strong, excellent climbers, very intelligent, and they are very skilled with their hands. Raccoons have learned to
thrive in urban areas, and live in very high densities in cities, where they eat garbage and pet food. They commonly break into homes and attics, where they cause considerable damage, and they also destroy other property, and thus racoons are considered pest animals by many people. Raccoon
control and removal, especially from inside homes, is best left to a professional.
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