Back in 1959, the famous “Little Golden Books” series released a book titled The Golden Book of Wild Animal Pets by Roy Pinney.
The premise of this book was that it taught children how to capture wild animals such as turtles, snakes, owls, chipmunks, raccoons, and others in the wilderness and care for them at home as pets.
Times have changed, haven’t they?
Can you imagine a parent telling their child they could keep a wild raccoon as a pet nowadays? Today we get calls to have raccoons removed from homes and attics not to bring them home as pets.
Raccoons can carry rabies, distemper and other diseases. So can their feces. They are wild animals and shouldn’t be kept as pets. In fact, it is illegal to keep
Not only does keeping a wild animal as a pet place you in danger of diseases, it is illegal to keep wild animals as pets in Illinois and many other states.
In the simpler times of the 1950s and 60s though, a parent might buy a child a book and encourage them to go outside and catch a new pet.
Did that really happen? Absolutely, says Steven Mintz of the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Huck’s Raft, the authoritative history of American childhood. “There truly was a sense that childhood needed to be a period of freedom, of group bonding, of risk-taking,” he says, “and it had to be spent out of doors as much as possible.”
One reviewer of the book online even said that this book “started (his father) along his path into (becoming) a wildlife biologist.”
A lot of us today would say that kids probably do need to be outside playing more often, getting dirty and making their own imaginary adventures.
Just as long as they don’t bring home any skunks as pet.
Some people think of raccoons as being cute little precocious animals. Others mistakenly think that maybe they’re even cuddly.
The truth is, they are wild animals, not domesticated. They don’t make good pets and like all animals in the wild, they should be left alone in the wild. Sure there may be cute videos on the internet of raccoons sweeping the floor, that doesn’t mean you should approach a raccoon.
For those of us without illusions of their cuteness, we may still wonder: Do raccoons attack humans? Will they attack my dog or cat?
Generally, raccoons will not attack humans, but occasionally they will. Most often they will hiss, turn away and run from humans. That does not mean they won’t attack humans though. Raccoons have been known to attack people if they feel threatened, and most worryingly, if they are rabid.
While a raccoon normally won’t attack a person, they may hiss, grunt or charge at you if they feel threatened or cornered. In most cases, they will only be trying to scare you off so you’ll leave them alone. They will often back off from you on their own.
If you have been scratched or bitten by a raccoon you should immediately see a doctor. Aggressive raccoons are much more likely to have rabies.
Much like with humans, raccoons will not usually attack dogs, but they have been known to and they are a risk to your dog. Usually, a raccoon will simply flee from your dog and other large animals, but they have been known to attack dogs. They may attack a pet for the same reason they attack a human: because they are cornered or because they are rabid.
Unlike a human though, a raccoon can do a lot more serious physical damage to a dog. This is dangerous for dogs because sometimes they may pursue the raccoon and corner them, making a physical confrontation much more likely. A dog’s instincts may cause them to confront a raccoon. A raccoon can even kill a small dog and they can easily pass rabies to your dog.
If your dog has a confrontation with a raccoon, you should immediately take it to see a veterinarian.
Do raccoons attack cats?
A raccoon will usually not attack a cat, which is good because an adult raccoon could easily kill a cat if it wanted to. However, a raccoon is likely to leave your cat alone and a cat is very unlikely to provoke a confrontation with one. Unlike dogs, cats will usually stay away from raccoons and are unlikely to approach, corner or become aggressive with one.
A raccoon attacking a cat is possible though. Raccoons love to eat pet food and if a particularly stubborn cat doesn’t let a raccoon eat from its food bowl, a confrontation is possible.
Attacks are much more possible with a rabid raccoon. If your raccoon has an altercation with a raccoon, you should take it to see your veterinarian right away.
When summer ends and the temperatures start to go down during the fall months, animals start to prepare for winter.
One of their favorite ways to get ready for winter is to find a nice warm and dry place to stay for those cold months.
Your home is the perfect place for a winter vacation!
Fall is the most likely time of year where you may end up with an animal trying to take up residence in your attic or home.
What animals enter your home in the fall?
The rodent trio of mice, squirrels, and rats account for the majority of animal invaders to the home during fall and winter. They can all be problems at any time of year but they are especially prone to enter the home in the fall.
Mice and rats look for warm places to feed and breed when cold weather hits. Squirrels and raccoons do not breed in the fall but they sure do love a warm spot for an extended rest. Neither squirrels or raccoons hibernate but they are much less active. Bats may enter your attic in winter and hibernate until early spring.
You should inspect the exterior of your home every year to make sure there are no openings for them to enter. The harsh summer rain, humidity, and heat can create just the tiny opening they need to get inside.
The harsh summer rain, humidity, and heat can create just the tiny opening they need to get inside.
To prevent animals from entering your home, make sure you inspect the interior at least once a year, checking all the common entry points.
Check your home after winter to make sure the harsh weather hasn’t created a small opening for animals. Most of them don’t need much space. You should also inspect the home at the end of the summer before the cold weather hits. If you find any weak points you’ll still have time to fix them before unwanted critters are looking for places to get out of the cold.
Animals that will move into your home
Rodents are the most likely wild animal that will move into your home. Mice, rats, and squirrels account for about 75% or more of all unwanted critters in houses.
The favorite place for animals to take up residence is in your attic. It’s an inviting habitat for a wild animal because it’s low traffic, warm, dry and usually has nice out of the way places to hide.
In this post, we answer some frequently asked questions about raccoon behavior. People want to know what raccoons can do. Can they dig through walls? Here are the answers.
Will a raccoon have babies in my attic?
Yes, definitely. Finding a safe warm den to have babies is the most likely reason a raccoon will move into your attic in the first place.
Can raccoons scratch through walls?
It is very unlikely if you hear raccoons in the wall that they will dig their way through the walls. A panicked raccoon that is trapped would certainly try to get out through a wall but it’s unlikely they would be able to dig through. A raccoon is unlikely to get stuck in a wall unless you’ve sealed it in with no other way to get out.
Can raccoons break through the ceiling?
It is rare but yes, it has happened. A raccoon that has lived in one place for long enough may be able to damage the ceiling with urine, making it softer and weaker over time. That is not a pleasant situation! If you think you have a raccoon in your attic, don’t wait to call a professional raccoon removal specialist.
Can a raccoon climb a wall?
Raccoons are very good climbers. Raccoons can climb nearly any surface with the exception of glass and un-weathered sheet metal. They are known to climb wood, stone, brick, masonite siding and downspouts.
Can raccoons get on the roof?
Raccoons can get on the roof of a home. The preferred method to do this would be to climb a nearby tree with overhanging tree branches. Trimming branches close to your home can help keep them away. However, they still may be able to climb a downspout and a determined raccoon may climb up brick or siding.
Raccoons are excellent at climbing trees. In the wild, raccoons will climb up trees to build a den in a hollow nook of a tree. Trees near your home should be trimmed to not be too close to your house. You can also wrap a two-foot wide sheet metal beginning two feet above the ground to keep them out of your trees. This may also work for squirrels.
Can a raccoon climb a downspout?
Raccoons are excellent climbers and most adults can easily climb downspouts.
Can raccoons climb brick walls?
Raccoons are excellent climbers. In nature, they will climb and live in trees. A brick wall can be climbed by most raccoons. Their preferred way to get onto a roof or into an attic would be by climbing a tree, but a determined raccoon can climb bricks.
Can raccoons swim?
Raccoons can swim. They can stay in the water for several hours at a time if necessary and can swim at up to 3 mph.
What do raccoons eat?
Raccoons are opportunistic and will eat almost anything. In the wild, they will eat fruit, nuts, berries, snails, earthworms, snakes, clams, birds, eggs, fishes, frogs, and small mammals. They will eat corn from fields and vegetables from gardens. In urban areas, they will eat almost anything they can find in a trash can. They are also fond of eating pet food that is left outside.
How do you get a raccoon out of your attic?
If you have raccoons in your attic, you should hire a professional animal removal specialist. If you have a raccoon living in your attic, it is very likely that the raccoon is a female with a den and baby raccoons. Their instinct is to remain quiet, so you may not even be aware they are in the attic. The mother will need to be trapped and the babies will need to be removed by hand. All of them should be released into nature together. Your attic should also be professionally cleaned because of the diseases carried in raccoon feces.
Do you need help removing a raccoon from your home?
Attic Solutions can provide you humane raccoon removal services in the Chicagoland suburbs.
We can also safely restore and sanitize your attic to remove dangerous contaminants.
IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. says “Most cases of rabies in Illinois are almost always found in bats, you can’t tell just by looking at a bat if it has rabies so it’s important to avoid handling bats and to make sure your home has no openings where bats can come in.”
People can get rabies after being bitten by an infected animal. The nervous system is affected by the rabies virus. You can also contract the virus when saliva from the rabid animal gets directly in your eyes, mouth, nose or an open wound.
Because of the size of a bats mouth, people may have difficulty finding the actual bite mark. If you are not sure if you were exposed, but were within close proximity, and wake up to find one in your room, don’t kill it, or release it before calling a doctor, or local Department of Health to make sure you haven’t been exposed to rabies and needing immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of Rabies
Similar to other illnesses, rabies will produce a fever, headache, and general discomfort and weakness. With the progression of the virus, specific symptoms will show up: Such as anxiety, confusion, insomnia, partial paralysis, hallucinations, and excitation. Within days of the onset, death usually occurs.
Seek immediate medical attention if you have been bitten by any animal!
A bat that is active during the day, on the ground, or unable to fly is more likely to have Rabies. An animal doesn’t have to be aggressive or exhibit symptoms to have Rabies. Changes such as these can be early signs of Rabies. Even though these creatures are approached with ease, you should never handle them.
To prevent the spread of Rabies, follow these tips:
All vaccinations should be kept up-to-date on all cats, dogs, ferrets, and any other animals you may own. Contact your veterinarian if your pet is exposed to a rabid animal.
Do not unintentionally attract wild animals by touching, feeding, or leaving garbage cans or litter exposed.
Never bring them into your home, or adopt them. Do not nurse sick, or wild animals to health. Call Animal Control or an animal rescue agency to handle them.
Children should be taught to never handle unfamiliar animals, (wild or domestic), even when they seem to be friendly. A good way to explain this is “Love your own, leave other animals alone”
To prevent bats from getting inside your home, maintain homes and buildings.
Do not release the bat outside if you find one in your home until after speaking with animal control or public health officials.
You may need to capture the bat after consulting with animal control or public health officials, for Rabies testing to determine if preventative treatment is necessary.
Are you having a problem with animals digging in your garden?
It’s an ongoing problem that all gardeners have to deal with. To a wild animal, your garden could be like a supermarket is to us; rows of food lined up to enjoy and take home.
I doubt you planted a garden so that you could feed all the neighborhood critters. You would prefer they stop pulling veggies off the vine right before they are perfectly ripe.
How to identify who is digging holes in garden
If you want to stop those critters from digging in your garden, it helps to know who the guilty animals are so you can take the right steps to prevent it.
Is it kids or pets?
Most of the time you’ll know the answer to this already, especially if you don’t have any kids or pets. You do want to eliminate suspects though so it’s good to make sure. Young kids love to dig in the dirt and your kid could have done it without you noticing. A stray dog could also be responsible for digging holes too.
Is it happening at night?
If the holes keep occurring at night, then you know it’s a nocturnal animal. If it’s only happening at night, that will eliminate birds and squirrels as suspects. In that case, it’s more likely to be a raccoon or skunk.
Raccoons and skunks are often the most likely suspects because they love to eat insects in the ground just below the surface, particularly grubs, which could be in your garden or lawn turf.
Animals that dig holes in gardens
We’ll review some of the animals that may dig holes in your garden. Most of the time though, it will end up being a raccoon or a skunk.
Some birds will dig holes in your garden but they generally won’t be too noticeable. Blue Jays and crows will both dig holes in order to hide nuts for the winter. Because they are stashing food for cold months, they will cover up the hole. In winter you may notice them trying to dig up items they’ve buried. Their memory is not as good as squirrels so they may dig a few more holes.
Because they are stashing food for cold months, they will cover up the hole. In winter you may notice them trying to dig up items they’ve buried. Their memory is not as good as squirrels so they may dig a few more holes.
During the spring, summer and fall though, any noticeable damage from birds digging in your garden should be minor.
Ground Squirrels (Chipmunks), Gophers, and Rabbits
All three of these animals will dig holes as entrances to their dens. Rabbits will usually dig a single entrance/exit hole. Ground squirrels and gophers will dig separate entrance and exit holes to their homes.
The roots and vegetables found on the surface will be eaten by these animals.
If the hole goes is deep enough that you cannot see the end, then you probably have a ground squirrel or gopher.
Gopher holes will have noticeable piles of dirt surrounding the hole. Rabbits and ground squirrels will have slightly neater holes.
Raccoons and Skunks
Raccoons and skunks are both active after dark and will dig holes in your garden while searching for bugs and food.
When you see digging and holes which appear scattered about and the hole is more irregularly shaped, then you likely have raccoons or skunks digging in your garden.
If have a lot of earthworms, grubs or bugs in your garden, then you could very well be attracting skunks.
As you are aware, squirrels will dig holes so they can stash food for winter months. But just like birds, unless it is the winter, they are usually going to conceal the hole they dig in your garden or yard.
In this post, we’ll discuss why you should leave baby raccoons alone if you have found them without their mother around.
You may have found some baby raccoons alone without their mother. In spring and early summer, this can be a common occurrence in suburban or even urban areas.
We’ll admit, baby raccoons can be cute. When many people see some cute little baby raccoons alone without their mother, the reaction will often be “Awwww! They’re so cute! And all alone. The poor things. I should help them.”.
Don’t touch them! Baby raccoons should be left alone.
It is actually very normal for baby raccoons to be left alone by their mother while she goes searching for food, or maybe even to go take a nap in a quiet place.
Though “helicopter parenting” may be all the rage with human parents, animals in the wild often need to leave their young babies alone while they search for food. It’s easier to hunt without babies and it’s safer for them as well.
When you see baby robins alone in a bird’s nest, you don’t worry, because you know their mom will be back soon with food for them. They get left alone constantly while mom goes hunting. It’s really not very different with raccoons.
Wildlife biologist Dianne Robinson of the Department of Natural Resources “Keep Wildlife Wild” campaign says:
“….mother raccoons will leave their kits alone while they are searching for food. It’s normal for kits to be frolicking or vocalizing near their den without mom. Well-meaning people may find raccoon kits in the day time and mistakenly think those kits are in trouble. Provided the kit looks healthy and are not sick or healthy, the best action is to leave the kits alone….”
The DNR receives many calls every spring about abandoned baby raccoons. It’s very likely that their mother will be back for them shortly. She might even be hiding nearby waiting for you to leave.
You should leave the area and leave the babies alone. If you are worried about them, check back again on them in a couple hours. It’s likely that they’ve left for the den with their mother.
If you find a raccoon baby and it appears to be sick or injured, you should contact the Illinois DNR or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
No matter how cute they may be, baby raccoons are wild animals, and wild animals are best left alone for both their health and safety and yours too.
In this post, we’ll discuss how to keep animals out of the chimney of your home.
That chimney on your house may look like an inviting home to wild animals. It’s a common nesting place for birds, bats, raccoons and squirrels.
To an animal, a chimney is a nice warm space safe from predators. But these animals bring insects and diseases with them and their droppings can be a difficult issue to deal with.
If you get to the point where you require professional animal removal service, then we can help you with that. But we bet that you would prefer never having the situation get to that point.
For professional removal of animals from your chimney in Chicagoland, call (847) 464-1861
Install a chimney cap
A chimney cap is the best way to prevent wildlife from moving into your chimney.
It’s an affordable solution that can prevent the problem for decades. If you don’t mind working on your roof, then it’s possible that you can even install it on your own if you want.
A chimney cap can be purchased at your local home improvement store for as little as $50. High-end models may cost several hundreds of dollars. There are many sizes and styles to choose from, from stainless steel to chimney caps made of copper.
The screen height of the chimney cap you choose must be sufficient to allow your chimney to draft properly. It is recommended that your cap should be about six inches higher than the chimney flue.
Stainless steel is usually the best value for your money. You may choose a different cap though which better suits the look and architectural style of your home.
Whatever style you choose, installing a chimney cap will provide you a reliable solution for keeping wildlife out of your chimney and could save you hundreds of dollars in animal removal, dead animal removal and repairs of your home.
For professional removal of animals from your chimney in Chicagoland, call (847) 464-1861
In this article, we’ll discuss ways to discourage raccoons from coming onto your property.
Raccoons can create big problems on your property. Many homeowners have had to clean up trash that raccoons have spread across their yard. Others have had to call in specialists to clean up raccoon feces in the attic, which can endanger your family because of the diseases raccoons can carry. They will empty your bird feeders and eat your garden vegetables. Raccoons will move into your attic and make themselves at home.
With all the raccoons making themselves at home in suburban and urban areas, it becomes very likely that you may have to deal with one of these issues.
It can be much easier to try to keep raccoons off of your property and out of your home then to try and clean and repair your attic from a raccoon infestation.
Below are some ways to discourage raccoons from looking at your property and home as an inviting place to visit.
Remove food sources
The main reason that a raccoon will visit your home is in a search for food. If your property becomes identified as an easy source of food, raccoons will return again and again to get food.
Trash cans are a popular destination for raccoons. You need to make sure that your garbage cans are secure from becoming a picnic for raccoons. Make sure the lids are secure. If a can or lid becomes broken, replace the can.
Keeping them out of cans isn’t always easy though because raccoons have a combination of prying hands, intelligence and the ability to learn.
You need to make sure your bird feeders are secure from raccoons, possibly even bringing them inside at night if it’s the only way to keep them away.
Don’t leave pet food outside overnight.
Clean up fruit that has fallen off of your fruit trees.
Raccoons are generally nocturnal animals and are most active during darkness. Lighting on your property may discourage them from coming onto your property. Motion activated lights on your property can startle raccoons and keep away from your property.
People have been using DIY home raccoon repellents for decades. Their effectiveness will vary though. Some people swear by certain methods and other people will say the same ones have not worked for them. It can depend on the particular animal that is coming onto your property. Raccoon repellents people use include cayenne pepper, ammonia, mothballs, human or animal hair and predator urine. These repellants do occasionally work so you may wish to try them.
Seal your roof and home
Make sure you’re not making raccoons lives easier for them by leaving places where they can enter your home. Check your roof and attic for any openings that may give a raccoon (or other animals) the space they need to get inside. Have a cap on your chimney to make sure they can’t get in through there.