Tag Archives: raccoon habits

Raccoons in the Attic

racoons-in-the-attic-illinoisCharging rent is not the answer.

Raccoons are more likely to visit in winter, but they can and will get inside at any time of year. A mother may choose an attic as a safe spot for giving birth to and raising her young.

Warm Dens

Raccoons seek out warm dens in the winter to help protect them from the elements. They most commonly seek out hollow trees, but are opportunistic about other options. Raccoons have been known to take over the underground burrows of other animals, use caves or make dens in attics to keep warm. They sometimes den with other raccoons as well to take advantage of the mutual body heat, especially in severe winters.

Raccoons in the attic

As intelligent problem-solvers with great dexterity and determination, raccoons often find their way into attics at entry points where different building materials join. This might be where dormer junctions occur, where unpainted trim board creates structural defects, or where the building material itself is pliant, enabling them to push their way past, as is easily done with some plastic soffits.

Raccoons in the chimney

When a mother raccoon sees an uncapped chimney, she sees a perfect nursery. It’s a safe and sheltered place to give birth to and raise her young until they are able to get around on their own.

The fireplace chimney is usually preferred because the horizontal “smoke shelf ” is a convenient size to nestle with her kits, but she may also use the chimney venting a furnace.

Call a professional

If more immediate and direct intervention is required to remove raccoons, then we strongly recommend hiring Attic Solutions. Evicting a raccoon can be difficult. There are potential safely risks to the homeowner and humane concerns for the raccoons if the eviction isn’t done properly.

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Can You Domesticate Raccoons?

Raccoons are not pets

Raccoons may be cute but they are not pets.

Raccoons As Pets

Though raccoons are occasionally raised as pets, they are wild animals and should not be domesticated. Raccoons are not pets in the sense of cats and dogs, and do not have companion instincts. This means they will not obey the commands of their keeper unless it suits their needs. They can easily become fiercely distempered without hesitation. Raccoons are wild animals and belong in the wild, in almost every situation.

Legality

Owning a pet raccoon may not be legal in your state or city. They are considered wild animals and if found with a pet raccoon illegally, owners can be fined, arrested, and charged with Illegal Possession of Wildlife. In addition, to own a raccoon legally, they must be obtained from a licensed breeder and the owner must purchase a license. This license must be renewed every year to keep the pet legally.

Raccoons are known for their destructive, mischievous behavior and they bite frequently. Due to these behaviors, raccoon owners often purchase liability insurance, which can be very difficult or nearly impossible to have approved by insuring companies. The legal expenses and insurance are significant in pet ownership of a raccoon. Considering that most of this is unnecessary with a pet dog or cat it is clear that raccoons are not meant as pets.

Health

The health of raccoons is one reason that they are difficult to own as pets. Raccoons can be difficult to own because many vets do not have the ability to properly care for them. Unless they are wild animal specialists, vets will often turn away pet raccoons. Consider that a pet raccoon may sustain injuries or catch different parasitic diseases and the options for treatment may be fewer, or nonexistent unless a wildlife veterinarian is available in your area.

Raccoons are not immune to rabies. It is unknown if the rabies vaccine (used on dogs) is effective on them. If a pet raccoon bites someone and they file a complaint, it is nearly guaranteed that the pet raccoon will be euthanized. The only way to test for rabies is after the animal is dead, contributing to the likelihood that the pet would be euthanized if rabies were a question. Additionally, raccoons are prone to heart problems and become obese easily. These issues combined make it very difficult to own a raccoon as a pet and keep them healthy.

Commitment

Raccoons are a significant financial and time commitment as a pet. The average indoor raccoon lives around 16 years. Once raised by hand, some raccoons cannot be released into the wild. Raccoon keepers will find themselves unlikely to leave town or vary their schedule often, as it’s rare to find a raccoon pet sitter. In addition, raccoons must have a suitable substitute home if their keeper passes before they do.

Aside from the life commitment of a pet raccoon, they are also a financial commitment and burden on a home environment. They will likely need their own room with bedding and toys. These must be frequently replaced, as they like to destroy indoor furniture, clothes, plants, etc. No place in the home will be off limits unless locks are put in place. It’s suggested that locks should be placed on the medicine cabinet, kitchen cabinets, oven, fridge, freezer, dressers and rooms to allow a raccoon to live safely in a home. Raccoon-proofing a home is an extensive step in ensuring raccoon safety and well being in a home.

Temperament

Raccoons are destructive to a home environment as they are meant to live outdoors. They can cause massive destruction and damage to your home and possessions, as they cannot truly be domesticated. Raccoons will defecate anywhere they please and are not easy to litter box train. Raccoons use their scent to mark their territory and if in a home. They will assume the house is theirs and leave feces not only on the floor, but on top of cabinets and tall objects that only they can reach easily.

Though they may appear to be cuddly, smart creatures, raccoons are very mischievous, vengeful, and have no remorse. If a raccoon is frustrated or mad, they will seek revenge by destroying objects in the home. This can be inspired by something as simple as the owner coming home late from work. Raccoons require constant attention to stay entertained within a house environment and will not behave if left alone. Additionally, they do not cage well, which seems obvious, as a wild animal does not belong in a cage in a home.

Raccoons are very curious and will open every cabinet and even rip through upholstery to examine the object. This behavior is impossible to break, as it is part of their nature. In addition, they will rip window screens, tear buttons off clothes, empty bookcases, and dig up plants, as documented by raccoon pet owners. Some raccoons learn to unlock doors and even turn on sinks and flood homes.

Raccoons do not tend to be comfortable with strangers or sharing and may rifle through pockets and steal whatever objects they please. They will become angered and scared when someone attempts to take their objects back. Raccoons in stressed, scared situations often bite; their teeth are sharp enough to draw blood.

It cannot be emphasized enough, raccoons are wild in natural tendencies because they are wild animals and not meant for indoor, pet life. This poor behavior grows worse as they age and go through mating season.

Raccoons Are Not Pets

The difficulties with legality, temperament, and commitment of a raccoon are excellent reasons to pursue a different route of pet ownership. Dogs, cats, and numerous other pets are legal, domesticated, trainable, and are meant for human companionship. Raccoons are a stark contrast because they are truly wild animals and will never lose their instincts, regardless of breeders breeding generations of “domestic” raccoons. Although they may not significantly harm a human, it nearly guaranteed that they will be destructive and cause damage a home and bite someone, at some time.

If wild raccoons take residence in your home or you find babies without a mother, you should immediately call pest control to safely remove and relocate them. Raccoons are not meant for pet ownership, regardless of their cute, fuzzy appearance.

Preventing Raccoons from Moving into Your Home

Raccoons are not small. In fact, they can easily weigh up to 20 pounds. They are also incredibly intelligent and use their paws like hands. They have been known to open doors, jars, lids, windows, and even hatches. Thanks to this large body mass and dexterity, they can do a lot more damage to your home than a smaller animal like a mouse or squirrel.

Raccoons And SoffitsRaccoon Pic 4

Raccoons seem to enjoy making dens in chimneys and attics. Their point of entry is soffits and they are not afraid to chew their way through. There are several reasons that raccoons find soffits an easy target. Soffits are generally located in low-traffic areas of the home. Many times, raccoon-induced damage may go unnoticed for quite a long time. In fact, by the time you see it, your raccoon may have multiplied! Soffits also are warm with dry air, which is very enticing to a raccoon. They also are usually easy to reach and easy to pry open for dexterous raccoons. Soffits are also generally protected from weather.

What To Do If Raccoons Move In And Raccoon-Proofing Your Home

So, a raccoon chewed through your soffit and moved into your home. The first thing you have to do is have the raccoons removed. You should not try to remove these creatures on your own. Without meaning to, you could endanger yourself or the raccoons. You could even be in violation of a local wildlife removal ordinance. You should start by calling a trained wildlife removal professional like Attic Solutions who are familiar with humane and effective raccoon removal procedures. You do not want to try to separate a mother raccoon from her kits. You might not live to tell about it! Once your raccoon family is humanely evicted, you need to seal and secure all points of entry. Sturdy, hardware wire mesh is usually adequate, although metal bars or panels also work depending on the design of your soffit. Just be sure to fix it properly so another unwelcomed guest doesn’t try to move back in.

Do Raccoons Hibernate?

If you’ve ever had your garbage can ransacked, you are familiar with raccoons! These creatures are highly adaptable and thrive in both urban areas and the wild.

Becoming familiar with raccoons can save you both time and money since these rascals are known to occasionally cause trouble for homeowners.

Related: How to keep raccoons away from your home

Do Raccoons Hibernate?

Contrary to popular belief, raccoons, in fact, do not hibernate during winter. 

Raccoons will eat a large amount and variety of foods to store up fat in preparation for winter. They will stay in their den for weeks at a time to avoid extreme cold and snow, using as little energy as possible.

Raccoons may sleep for days and weeks at a time, but it is not true hibernation. Sometimes raccoons will even den together in small groups to keep warm.

Related: Raccoons Living Under Your Shed or Deck

 

raccoon family on propertyRaccoon Characteristics

Raccoons are typically known to be loners. Males usually only spend time with females in dens during mating season.

One of the only times raccoons will band together is during a particularly cold or harsh winter to help keep warm. Once it warms up, the raccoons head their separate ways.

Raccoon Diet

Raccoon ScavengersRaccoons are certainly not picky eaters; in fact they will eat just about anything. Raccoons are carnivores as well as scavengers. The mainstays of their diet include mice, crabs, fish, frogs, nuts, and seeds.

They also love to get into food that humans leave behind. This is why you may find your garbage strewn about if you leave it out overnight.

Related: Raccoons in the Attic

Raccoon Habits

raccoon-78576_640Perhaps one of the most unusual habits raccoons have is dunking their food in water before eating it.

The raccoon’s scientific name is Procyon Lotor, which actually means “washing bear.” This makes sense considering their odd food-washing habit and bear-like markings. Raccoons are nocturnal animals, meaning they are active at night.

Raccoon behavior FAQMost raccoons spend the day in their dens and as soon as dusk approaches, they head out in search of food. Some places raccoons like to search include farms (crops are a big hit with them), ponds, lakes, and of course your garbage can. As sunrise approaches, raccoons typically call it a night and head back to their den to sleep.

Related: Raccoon Behavior FAQ

Raccoons and Hibernation

raccoon-86615_640Raccoons do not hibernate in winter. This myth may have started because during very cold days raccoons take refuge in their warm dens.

Depending on the climate and weather, raccoons may spend weeks in their dens, living off of their fat stores, until the climate becomes somewhat milder.

When raccoons are sleeping off the cold temperatures, those fat stores keep them alive since they do not eat. This is why raccoons seem to be particularly troublesome in the spring; they’re starving and they want YOUR garbage!

If you suspect raccoons may be a problem in your area or are afraid a raccoon has claimed a part of your home as its den, contact us today for a free estimate.

Our staff is trained in the most effective methods for dealing with raccoons and will evaluate the situation, trap the pests, and repair the damage caused by their stay.