How to Solve Raccoon Problems

06.18.2005 - 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 set them in a trap for mama raccoon, so I'll have her tomorrow morning, sure thing.

Raccoons can cause a variety of problems. From breaking into the attic, to eating your ornamental fish, to tipping your garbage cans, eating your pet food, or pooping in your pool, raccoons are a common nuisance critter.  There are a variety of approaches when it comes to solving a raccoon problem.  Basically, you can either trap and remove the animals, or you can exclude them and keep them out.  Most of the time, I trap and remove and relocate, because this is the surest way to solve the current raccoon problem.  I then undertake preventative measures, such as sealing shut all the entry points into the house.

Some people attempt to solve raccoon problems with various repellents and deterrents.  I have seen them all over the years, and none of them work.  From mothball flakes to coyote urine to ultrasonic sound machines, these things do absolutely nothing to keep away raccoons.  Even large dogs don't do the trick.  Physical barriers will often work, but they have to be good.  For example, if you've got a raccoon living under your house, you can install a heavy duty steel screen around the perimeter to keep it out (just be sure it's outside before you close it up!).  If you've got raccoons in the attic, you can seal the openings shut once it's outside.  Of course, it's only going to tear its way back in (it can rip right through the roof), especially if there's baby coons inside, which there almost always are.

The best way to solve most raccoon problems is to either take away whatever is attracting them (such as bringing in pet food at night or storing garbage cans in the garage) or by trapping and removing and relocating the animals.  Or like me, you can just go up into the scorching attic, sweat your nuts off, and grab them by hand!

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

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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