Effective Raccoon Removal
Raccoons are probably the most common form of nuisance wildlife people encounter. Most homeowners will deal with prowling raccoons at one time or another. Raccoons are famous for their ability to get into hard to reach places such as attics and chimneys. Coons are also known to tip over garbage cans, pilfer pet food, ruin landscaping and burrow under decks. They are known for their their extremely destructive habits and insatiable curiosity. This combination of traits definitely makes raccoons one of the biggest residential wildlife nuisances in Wyoming and Colorado.
Identifying a Raccoon Problem
Raccoons’ natural habitat is hardwood forests not far from wetlands or some body of water. Creeks, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, and swamps are all home to potentially large populations of raccoons. Over the ages raccoons have learned to coexist fairly successfully with humans, denning in the hollows of trees, abandoned ground burrows of other animals, dilapidated buildings, as well as any crawl spaces, attics or sewers they can get themselves in to.
It is not uncommon for raccoons to get into residential housing. The underside of an eave or soffit, gable vents, attic fans, roof vents. chewed soffit boards, soft roof boards (roof sheeting), utility lines are all common areas of entry, but so is just about any area that can be manipulated to allow them to squeeze in. Raccoons are experts at breaking in; they have flexible rib cages and very narrow hips that allow them to enter holes only 4.5 inches in diameter. Raccoons peak period if activity is during the warmer months. Raccoons do not hibernate, but in the cold Wyoming-Colorado winters they will go into a state of dormancy, a kind of inactive state that allows them to hide in their dens and live off of fat stored up during the fall.
Though raccoons are classified as carnivores because of the shape of their teeth, the raccoon diet is omnivorous in practice and extremely diverse.
In nature, raccoons typically eat fish, mollusks and crustaceans, but they also feed on a variety of berries, grasses, bugs, seeds and nuts. In residential areas, raccoons will dig into garbage cans, steal pet food, raid grain storage areas and bird feeders and have even been known to snatch fish right out of decorative ponds. They have been known to foul up swimming pools by urinating and defecating in them.
Raccoons, like skunks, can destroy lawns as they dig up the earth looking for grubs. Raccoons are amazingly adaptive and can make a home in a variety of structures. Signs that you may have a raccoon in your attic are heavy “walking” sounds coming from the ceiling, smudge marks and footprints on gutters, aluminum trim, trees or any other vertical object that could serve as an access point – and, of course, knocked over garbage cans.
Raccoons’ thin, nimble fingers allow them to manipulate objects, including opening up cans, turning handles, unwrapping things and even untying knots.
Creature Control’s Raccoon Removal and Prevention
Raccoons can carry disease; homeowners should not attempt to trap or handle raccoons without educating themselves on the potential risks. For example, raccoons can carry Baylisascariasis procyonis, a roundworm nematode that lays its eggs in raccoon feces. It is very rare for humans to be infected by a raccoon host (only 13 cases have been reported since 1980), but it is extremely dangerous can cause death or brain damage if contracted. Cases of rabies are more common, as well as leptospirosis, a bacterial disease contracted through contact with water, food, or soil containing urine from these infected animals.
Even if a raccoon does not carry any of these diseases, it is always possible to be bittern or scratched. Raccoons are wild animals; it is best to leave them to the professionals.
Creature Control uses a combination of humane removal and structural prevention to take care of your raccoon troubles. Our technicians are equipped with all the tools and experience to remove coons and keep them out. The exact process will vary depending on how the raccoons are gaining access to the structure and whether or not they have had a litter of pups in your home. If a particular entry point can be identified, an exclusion trap can be affixed to the entry point that will trap the raccoon as it passes in and out of the home. After the coon is removed, we will provide an estimate for sealing up the entry point permanently.
When there is no single point of entry (for example, when a raccoon is getting under deck or digging into the garbage at night) we will set traps for the raccoon and advise on any possible alterations to the environment to discourage future raccoon activity.
Raccoon Fun Facts
- The word “raccoon” comes from the Native American Algonquian word arahkun, from arahkunem, meaning “he scratches with the hands.” The word entered the English language in 1612 when Captain John Smith (the same one from the Pocahontas story) recorded an encounter with the creature, which he referred to as a raugroughcum.
- People are often unsure whether the correct spelling is “raccoon” or “racoon.” Although “raccoon” is the more common spelling, both are acceptable.
- The raccoon’s scientific name, Procyon Iotor, means “washer dog” (though it is more closely related to the bear than the dog).
- The largest raccoon ever recorded weighed 62 pounds.
- Though there are many theories as to why raccoons apparently “wash” their food, the real purpose behind this behavior remains a mystery.