What to Do if Raccoons Are in the Attic
Attic spaces provide a dark, warm, safe location for a raccoon to build its den. Chattering, scratching and bumping noises are signs you have raccoons in your attic. Raccoons can cause considerable damage to wiring, walls and roofs while trying to make a suitable den. If you have confirmed the presence of raccoons, there are a couple of options for removing them.
Between March and June, removal of raccoons in your attic is complicated. Female raccoons typically have a litter of kits during this time. If there are babies, often you'll hear chattering or noise from the young raccoons moving around the attic. A mother raccoon can do significant damage trying to get to her young. If the mother is trapped and taken away, the young raccoons will die in your attic. The ideal time to remove a raccoon from your attic is during late fall or early winter when the mother begins to venture outside with her kits and they prepare to go out on their own. However, it is possible during summer months to begin to make your attic unpleasant for the animals. Just make sure the babies are mobile and able to leave with the mother.
Noise and Light Method
Noise and bright light are unpleasant for raccoons and can convince a raccoon in your attic to find another place for her nest. This is the ideal removal method because it poses no threat to you or the raccoons. Place a radio in the attic along with a bright light. Turn the radio on at high volume and keep the area brightly lit at all hours. Secure both to ensure they can't be knocked over or broken. The noise and light in the nesting area make it feel unsafe and uncomfortable, and the raccoons will seek more suitable surroundings.
Live trapping may be effective, but it may also backfire. Raccoons are territorial and may simply find their way back to your home after being relocated. While in the trap, the raccoon may injure itself trying to escape. According to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, around 60 percent of raccoons that are trapped and relocated do not survive.
Confirm Raccoons Are Gone
Removing raccoons from the attic requires patience and may take from a few days to weeks. To ensure the animals have left, leave peanut butter just inside the hole and cover it with galvanized screen so that only animals inside can get to it. Check the peanut butter daily. If it is untouched for a period of up to a week, the raccoons are gone. If it has been eaten, you still have a raccoons in your attic. Continue removal methods to try to evict them and repeat the food test.
Seal Entry Points
Repair rotting roofs and loose shingles, which are an invitation to raccoons searching for a new den. Cap chimneys and seal openings into attic spaces. Install outdoor security lights that come on when they sense movement. This startles raccoons and they will typically avoid the light source. Repair weak areas and holes in your eaves, which may allow access to your attic. Place galvanized metal screens over bathroom and kitchen vents to prevent animals from gaining entry to your home through those points. Fasten the wire with screws or nails and overlap the opening by about 2 inches on all sides.
Renee Miller began writing professionally in 2008, contributing to websites and the "Community Press" newspaper. She is co-founder of On Fiction Writing, a website for writers. Miller holds a diploma in social services from Clarke College in Belleville, Ontario.
- Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images