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Evicting Raccoons

Waschbaer_auf_dem_DachIf you have animals in your attic, 99% of the time it is spring time and the animal is a mother, preparing to give birth, or already nursing her young. Most Mothers choose a spot to rear young during January or February and approximately 60 days later they give birth. Typically they have a litter of 3-6 young. Most babies are born completely helpless, eye still shut, barely fuzzy, and unable to maintain their own body temperature.  Mom stays with them up to 23 hours per day, even skipping days worth of her own feeding in the first week.

If you HEAR or SUSPECT something living in the attic, and it is NOT the DEAD OF WINTER, please assume that there are babies present!!! This is the #1 mistake that people make when trying to evict animals! Trapping Mom and ‘relocating’ or ‘removing’ her only to find four babies a couple days later is heart wrenching and it is why we raise so many orphans per year.  If you set  a trap in your attic and catch ANYTHING – please check everywhere in the attic for babies before releasing the trapped animal.  Call us 24 hours for advice at 1-855-WILD-HELP. We’re happy to help.

There are many reasons to attempt to evict animals from your attic yourself:

  • It’s simple, effective, and low-cost to free compared to pest control companies that cost at least $200 to take on an attic job.squirrelly
  • Pest control services will harm and often KILL the animals they catch.
  • You will have to repair the entry holes yourself anyway, or hire another company to do that.
  • You have much more incentive to do this work correctly the first time than a company who depends on your repeat business!
  • Plus – It’s EASY! No traps required, no bait, no heavy leather gloves, or animal handling experience.

5 Steps to Evicting Animals from Attics

  1. Start by determining the species of animal that is inhabiting the attic. The easiest way to do this is to find the opening where the animals are getting in and out. During day light hours, pop your head up into the attic (We promise that no one will attack you! Just don’t try to be sneaky about it and make some noise.) and look for areas in the attic where light is getting in. Those spots are your trouble areas. Take note of where they are.  That evening, around dusk, grab a lawn chair and a good book and sit somewhere outside where you can see those spots. If it’s raccoons, you will see Mom leave sometime right after dusk. If it’s squirrels, you will see Mom come HOME around dusk.  If it is bats, you’ll see a steady stream of them leaving every night around dusk.
  2. Once we know what we’re dealing with, it’s time to let them know they’re not welcome.  Animals look for four main things when raising young: They want a place that is warm, safe, dark and quiet.  Our job is to make your attic as cold, unsafe, well lit, and loud as possible to encourage Mom to move somewhere else. You will do this by running an attic fan, if you have one, or putting fans up in the attic and turning them on, turning lights on and using battery operated stick-em lights to really light the place up, and by hooking up a stereo and playing raccoonsonroofjpg-29e2b32a9af0a6f5rock music or talk radio REALLY loud for at least a few hours per day, if not ALL day.  It needs to be loud enough to be annoying, but not loud enough to make your neighbors call the cops!  When you are in the attic doing all of this, don’t worry about treading lightly. We want Mom to know that you found her spot. Take a bottle of cayenne pepper with you and sprinkle it around as you walk around. Do NOT sprinkle cayenne directly on babies or close to them. They’re not the bad guys here – do NOT punish them.  They can DIE from this, and you might not like wildlife in your attic, but we promise that dead wildlife in the attic isn’t fun either!  One of our favorite eviction methods is to purchase a bottle of ammonia (the stinky kind – not lemon fresh!) and soak 5 or 6 old rags or socks in it. Then take one of the soaked rags and place inside a Ziploc bag. Seal the bag and poke holes in the bag with a knife or fork. This allows the smell to get out of the bag, but keep the rag wet longer. Once you have 5-6 ‘rag bags’ made, pop your head up into the attic and throw these bags into each corner and one in the middle. (If you know where Mom hangs out, feel free to concentrate the bags to that area.) Turn off the fans in this case as well. This will permeate the attic with the smell of ammonia which Mom will not want her kids breathing in, which should encourage her to shop for a new apartment!
  3. After employing some of the deterrents from step 2, we wait.  In the next 48 hours you should see Mom start to panic and leave the attic.  This step is CRUCIAL. You MUST allow Mom to come back to get her children!!! If you do not, Mom will destroy the roof, shingles, siding, chimney, and much more in an attempt to find her kids.  You have two options here: If you are SURE Mom has moved out, you can put the babies in a box and sit them outside wrapped in towels to wait for Mom to retrieve them, or better yet – stand back and let Mom handle this herself. You may see Mom at an odd time of the day or night, going back and forth from your attic over and over again. She can only carry one baby at a time and has to make seperate trips to get all of her kids.  This is a time when you really don’t want to mess with Mom!  She’s on a very important mission and she really doesn’t want to be intrrupted.  If you see a raccoon mother during the day, this does not mean that she’s ‘rabid’ or sick in this circumstance. She’s just desperate to get her kids back.  This saves you a TON of trouble. Now you don’t have to setraccoon012 traps, relocate them, kill them, dispose of them, or any of the other things that people do to get ‘rid’ of wildlife.
  4. At some point in the day or two after she finds and retrieves all of her kids, we can move on to the next step.  We recommend waiting 24-48 hours and then fixing EVERY possible entry point in the attic except one.  Leave one last hole open for them to use to get in and out if by chance they are still around, but tightly stuff newspaper or tissue into that last entry point.  If that paper does not fall out of the hole or get disturbed in 48 hours and you don’t hear crying in the attic to signal a baby left behind, it is now safe to seal the entry points to keep all future critters out of your attic!  If you do happen to find a baby left behind or injured, please call us 24 hours at 1-855-WILD-HELP for assistance.
  5. If you are evicting bats, you may want to follow up with spray expanding foam to make sure that they aren’t able to get back in again. Spray foam is available at any hardware store for less than $5 and it’s truly effective.

DSCN0253-2That’s it!  This should have your attic critter free in no time.  If you have any questions about this process, or if you are having trouble getting it to work at all, please call us or email at help@wildlifehotline.com to borrow one of our one-way-doors that will allow for critters to leave your attic while not allowing them to get back inside again.