Liam Donnell

 Tags: Home Inspection

Raccoons might seem like mischievous, cute little creatures, but they don’t make for good house guests. 

Because they are the largest, smartest and most dexterous of the urban pests we commonly encounter, they are less than subtle about their presence in your attic, shed or garage. There are several obvious signs a raccoon has gained entry, and if you recognize any of them, it’s time to act immediately and call a wildlife removal company. Raccoon removal should only be performed by professionals. Here are a few things to look out for:

Unusual Noises

raccoon in garbage canIt's worth repeating that raccoons are the largest animals you will come across in an urban setting. Because of their size and weight, the sounds they make are easily distinguishable as the sounds coming from a bigger animal. If you’re hearing thumping noises, it’s one of the surefire signs a raccoon is in the attic. No other urban pest is big enough to create stomping noises. Squirrels will scurry and bang around, but a raccoon literally will sound like a small person is in there.

They are also very vocal animals, especially when babies are in the mix. When around their kits the mothers will become much more vocal. As for the little ones when they are not asleep they are usually crying. The sounds that baby raccoons make are markedly different from those made by adult raccoons. Adults make a much louder and deeper noise. Whereas babies will have a higher pitch vocalization that typically resembles more of a crying sound. 

You might also hear what sounds like something walking across the roof; this is another one of the common signs a raccoon is in the attic and on the way back to its nest. This mostly happens at night. 


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Time of Day and Season

The next best indicator that you are in fact dealing with raccoons and not some other urban "pain in the you know what", is the time of day you notice the activity. Raccoons are nocturnal and the most common period in which they will attempt to gain entry to any structure is during the late evening hours or overnight.

Another major consideration is the time of year. Baby raccoon season takes place in early spring, peaking around the month of March. Attics, sheds and garages are ideal locations for mothers looking for warm spaces. Once the babies are born, the raccoon family will stick around for a bit longer; it generally takes three months for babies to grow strong enough to move around on their own. For these reasons, you want to remain extra vigilant during the spring. Reacting to a break in even 24 hours later could be the difference between a mother birthing her kits and taking up semi-permanent residence till the summer, and a two-day inconvenience. 

If you’ve spotted an adult female raccoon in your attic or in close proximity to your attic during this time of year, it’s almost certain she has babies nearby. If you hear the sound of crying or high-pitched squealing, that’s the sound of babies calling for their mother.

Nesting Materials

If you suspect a raccoon has gained entry anywhere on your property, take a look around for any signs of nesting materials. Raccoons will immediately begin to make themselves at home by creating nests for themselves. They are fairly ingenious animals and will use just about anything and everything to make themselves a nest.

They’ll bring in a fair bit from outside, including leaves, twigs, and other debris, but they’ll also tear up insulation and cloth found in the attic to create bedding for themselves. If you notice twigs and leaves scattered about or shredded cloth and paper throughout the space, this is one of the most common signs a raccoon is the culprit.

Signs of Damage

damage by raccoon to roofline of a houseAnd to once again belabor the size factor with these animals; raccoons can make a real mess of things, very quickly. Especially if they are up in your attic. They have sharp teeth and claws; they will chew into wooden support beams, roofing tiles, and drywall. When doing an inspection of your attic space, look for any obvious signs of damage to the walls, floor, and ceiling of your property.

If a raccoon is trapped and feels panicked, it will literally destroy your attic in a matter of hours. Even if it's just taking up shelter and isn't trapped, a raccoon will damage to your insulation, wiring, structural beams and HVAC components.

The insulation can be a problem in terms of keeping your house warm, but when it comes to the structural beams that support your home things start getting really dangerous.


Food Scraps

Raccoons are quite big eaters; if you have them living in your home, it’s only a matter of time before you begin noticing their leftovers and scraps left behind. They’ll leave scraps of food littered throughout your attic, which can include bones they’ve gnawed on or food that they’ve stolen from the garbage.

If you’ve noticed that food left out in your house is being snatched up, or that your vegetable garden has been rifled through, these are also clear signs of a raccoon infestation.


Liam Donnell

Liam takes pride in working as a technician for All Wildlife Removal Inc. In his free time, he loves being outdoors and enjoys skiing, fishing, and golfing. Raccoon? Bungalow? No problem.