Raccoons are the largest of all the common urban pest we encounter in the wildlife removal industry. They're also the animal that can create the most damage in the shortest amount of time, therefore it's essential to act quickly once their presence is discovered. One might assume in a case like this the proper course of action would be to rush up into the attic and trap or snare the raccoon and voila, problem solved. This is, in fact, the least effective, safe or clean way to go about things. There is much more of a science behind what's involved in raccoon prevention.
Take a look at the video below to see what kind of damage a raccoon can cause:
Below we will touch on some common pitfalls and explain the proper way to successfully evict and prevent reentry from raccoons.
Why Not Use Traps?
At first thought, the prospect of using a live trap seems simple. Purchase the trap, easy enough. Place it up in the attic or problem area, no problem. Then go to bed and wake up to a pest free home. Unfortunately, that is not how these situations usually play out. Trapping can be a messy process as well as present a risk to the animals. Here is why trapping is not a viable solution:
- Time-consuming and messy - Raccoons are exceptionally intelligent and crafty and adapt very well to their environments. It's rare, even with the right bait that you will trap a raccoon on your first attempt. You are far likelier to trap another species of pest in search of a free lunch. Whether it's a rodent, squirrel or neighborhood pet, the chances that your first customer will be the ever elusive raccoon are slim. At which point you have to climb back up, reset the trap, release the prisoner etc. Not a model of efficiency.
- Unintentional orphans - Another consideration is the possibility of separating another raccoon from her kits. To the untrained person, the presence of babies up in the attic may go unnoticed. Once the animal is trapped it will be relocated out of the neighborhood. Leaving the poor kits to starve or become low hanging fruit to potential predators.
- Relocation risks - Trapping and relocating an animal is not the end of the story. Raccoons are territorial as well as creatures of habit. Dropping a confused and shaken animal into a strange environment is dangerous. Other animals will sense its weakness and other raccoons will defend their turf. to make things worse, the newly transplanted raccoon does not know the lay of the land. It does not know where to find shelter or how to orientate itself. Relocating a raccoon oftentimes amounts to a death sentence.
- Disease Control - Especially with the recent rabies outbreak in southern Ontario. It's important to leave animals alone and in their natural environment. relocated an infected animal into a new neighborhood will simply allow the rabies outbreak to keep spreading uncontrollably.
Why Not Snare the Raccoon?
If trapping the raccoon is no longer an option, the next thing that usually comes to mind is physically snaring and removing the animal. This method also presents a number of challenges. Raccoons are agile and nimble creatures. They can effortlessly bounce from weight-bearing beam to beam and disappear behind a firewall or up in the rafters. Humans? Not so much. It becomes time-consuming and potentially dangerous exercise snaring a wild animal in a confined space. On slip and a foot comes through the ceiling drywall. Or perhaps the animal once snared and fighting for its life gets loose and falls through the ceiling. We can through potential disastrous scenarios all day. Bottom line, starring a raccoon is not a practical solution.
Not to mention once you successfully snare and trap the animal, all the same concerns about safely relocating the animal are still present. Relocating the animal will put the animal at risk as well as potentially aid in the uncontrolled spread of incestuous diseases. The only time wildlife professionals should snare an animal s in wide open spaces or when it has intruded in a families living space.
What's the Solution?
Now that we have touched on what not to do, let's look at what's involved in succesful raccoon prevention. The safest, cleanest and most effective way to rid yourself of unwanted wildlife in your attic may seem counterintuitive. However, the suggested modality is a proven and 100% effective solution. It involves employing a one-way door system and securing the building to ensure no future issues.
- Step 1 - Identify the entry point as well as all potentially vulnerable areas. This is usually done as an initial inspection where the customer will be provided a detailed outline of the recommended work,
- Step 2 - Seal up any potential entry points. This usually involves covering roof and wall vents, reinforcing downspouts, soffit, and siding as well as several other preventative measures.
- Step 3 - Install one-way door system. A one wy door is a specially designed door that allows the raccoon to freely leave the area, locking it out once it's gone. The animal's body weight depresses a lever which snaps up behind it once it has cleared the exit point. These are the cleanest and least intrusive way to evict raccoons. The animal is not harmed or touched. Most importantly it's free to relocate in the same familiar neighborhood.
- Step 4 - Remove the one way door and patch up the area
Raccoon removal and prevention should only be completed by trained wildlife removal experts. Attempting to do it yourself will undoubtedly result in further complications and expenses.