It’s officially raccoon baby season, which means there’s a good possibility a raccoon and her babies are living in your attic.Before giving birth, a raccoon mother will seek out shelter. She’ll seek out a warm, safe place away from its predators and hidden from the elements so she can give birth and raise her young.
If you suspect there’s wildlife in your home, keep reading to learn the five telltale signs a raccoon is in the attic.
1. Thump, Thud, Squeal
As large animals, raccoons will likely make their presence known fairly quickly. They’ll try to be quiet, but as they walk around, you’ll be able to hear heavy footsteps from up above. If you’re hearing strange sounds from your attic that are too loud to be coming from a mouse or squirrel, you likely have a raccoon living in your attic.
If you have a family of raccoons living up there, you might also hear the cries of the babies or the squeaks and squeals of juvenile raccoons as they start to grow older. They’ll be rambunctious, they’ll play and roughhouse, and they’ll make many noises while they’re growing up.
Because raccoons are nocturnal, you’ll hear the majority of their strange noises at night, though they are sometimes active during the day, too.
2. Bones and Old Food
A raccoon has to eat! Raccoons will go out at night and forage for food. Since raccoons are omnivorous and they’re not picky at all, they’ll eat almost anything. They’ll typically forage for food in garbage cans and then come back to the den in the attic to eat.
One of the most obvious signs a raccoon is in the attic, as opposed to another animal, is the presence of old food and bones leftover from past meals.
Take a look up in your attic during the day to see if you can spot the signs of these messy eaters.
Mice and squirrels will leave urine and feces everywhere they go. You’ll see small droppings here and there throughout your attic. Raccoons, on the other hand, will leave behind significantly larger droppings. What’s more, they’ll use one specific area of your attic as a latrine, rather than leaving behind droppings in any and all areas of your home.
Inspect your attic and take a close look at your insulation. If you find one spot that’s littered with feces and the rest of the attic is clear, then you have a raccoon in your attic.
A word of caution: Raccoon feces can carry the dangerous roundworm parasite. You shouldn’t attempt to clean it up on your own.
4. Damaged Roof
Raccoons are smart, dexterous, and strong. If they want to get into your attic, they’ll find a way. In addition, they’re also quite large, so they’ll need to make big holes to squeeze through. They can’t get inside through a dime-sized hole like a mouse can.
That’s why the damage done by raccoons will be much more significant than that done by other animals. It’ll also be that much more obvious.
Climb up onto your roof and inspect the area. Some spots you should definitely check out include your soffit intersections and roofing tiles. If there’s any signs of significant damage, there’s probably a raccoon or two in your home.
One of the signs a raccoon is in the attic is the presence of tracks. If your attic is dusty, the raccoon tracks should be visible. To determine if the animal tracks you see belong to a raccoon, look closely at the paw prints.
The front paw prints will be approximately two inches long by two inches wide. The prints will appear flatfooted and there should be five toe impressions visible. The hind paws, however, will look a lot like small human footprints with long toes, and they’ll be approximately four inches in size.