Getting Rid of Raccoons + How To Keep Them Away
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While raccoons may look cute and cuddly, they are pests due to the mess they leave in their wake, the noise they make, and the diseases that they harbor.
These mammals are nocturnal and are very rarely seen during the day. They tend to linger around neighborhoods due to food scraps and are renowned for causing havoc in your garbage cans. While raccoons are found across the United States, they are much more common in heavily wooded areas due to the mimicking of their natural habitat.
How To Prevent Raccoons
Preventing raccoons can be an easier task than for other pests, such as crickets, bugs and critters. Being larger mammals, they are more obvious to see and hear. Raccoons tend to leave a trail of disaster behind them. This mammal is keen to find shelter within your home and may get into your attic space, destroying loft insulation, electrical wiring and wooden rafters. If you smell or see droppings or urine stains, these are telltale signs that a raccoon has chosen your home for its new dwelling.
To try and prevent raccoons from seeing your humble abode as a potential new habitat, you need to remove anything attractive to them from your immediate environment. Ensure that all garbage cans are housed away in sheds. This can prevent lingering food smells from permeating the area, attracting the pest.
Raccoons are not backward in coming forward, and will never try to hide their tracks They are bold creatures. If you hear your garbage cans crashing on the ground at night and find food scraps all over your garden in the morning, the chances are that a raccoon has had a good meal from your detritus.
Keep your home as secure as possible. Ensure that roof tiles that have slipped are replaced or fixed back into place. Any sign of an opening into your attic space and a raccoon will take it. They may also destroy bird nests, wreak havoc across your pristine border plants and terrorize pets. It can be challenging to prevent raccoons, but there are plenty of courses of action you can take to ensure that they never return.
How To Identify Raccoons
Raccoons are very unique in their appearance and require less formal identification than other pests that can be found within the home.
- -Gray and black.
- -Salt and pepper coloring.
- -Signature black mask over the eyes.
- -Stocky build.
- -Two to three feet in length.
- -Large fluffy ringed tail.
Signs and Symptoms of a Raccoon Bite
Raccoons burrowing about in your garbage hunting for food scraps may not seem like the end of the world. However, raccoons can harbor many diseases and, as such, are classed as vermin.
While not every raccoon carries rabies, they are thought of as one of the world’s most likely mammals to infect humans with this deadly disease. This makes these pests potentially lethal to you and your family. Populations of raccoons are growing rapidly in the eastern states of the US and are thought to harbor rabies more readily than elsewhere in the country.
Those raccoons with rabies can be difficult to spot, but there are some common traits that many share. If you spot a raccoon that looks unkempt, has wet or matted hair or is walking off balance, it may signify rabies. At the same time, you may spot raccoons that are overly zealous or disorientated. This can also be a sign of rabies infection. The most common sign of a raccoon with rabies is the noise that they make. They sound feral, wild and uncontrolled, and can often be heard during the day rather than just at night.
A raccoon bite is not something that you can manage at home. Because of the risk of rabies, it is vital that you seek medical attention immediately. Even if the wound that the bite causes doesn’t appear infected or the skin doesn’t look to be broken, you must receive assessment and treatment.
Rabies is a virus that once inside the human body will attach itself to nerve cells attacking the nervous system. Symptoms include headache, confusion, fever, hallucinations, aggression and severe agitation. Before these symptoms have any chance of taking hold, it is vital that any bite is treated immediately by a medical professional.
It is not just the bite of a raccoon that carries rabies. Their bodily fluids such as blood, urine and stools can carry the virus. This means when cleaning up after a raccoon infestation, extra care must be taken and protective clothing must be worn.
Never be tempted to corner a raccoon on your own. It will lunge and it will bite out of fear. This can increase your chances of rabies infection. You must contact a pest controller or a wildlife professional for onsite advice.
How To Get Rid Of Raccoons
While raccoons are bold, they can be scared off if they sense imminent danger. If you can stay far enough away, heading outdoors at night, making a noise yourself and flashing a light at them can scare them away. However, this will not prevent their return the following evening. Alternatively, pick up some motion sensors that alert with a noise to try and frighten raccoons away.
To get rid of a small infestation of these mammals, you must remove what is attracting them to your home. This means sealing up garbage cans so that they cannot be opened, putting them behind a shelter so they are not exposed and sealing up vents and putting mesh over chimneys to limit the chances of raccoons from entering your home.
Raccoon traps are another way to combat and infestation. However, many states require a permit or license to use one. If in doubt, always seek the help of a professional who has years of experience combating these pests.
Do’s and Don’ts of Raccoon Removal
You need to look at a few things when you are tackling this issue yourself. You want to be smart and savvy and not make things work. It’s important to look at the following checklist of dos and don’ts to ensure that you don’t make any mistakes:
- -Go on a preventative mission to make your home more secure from raccoons. This means covering chimneys with mesh, ensuring roof tiles are stable and sealing up vents through brickwork.
- -Review local legislation on the use of raccoon traps.
- -Keep your distance when observing raccoons. They may harbor rabies
- -Get too close and personal with a raccoon. They can lunge and bite.
- -Use traps illegally.
- -Try and capture a raccoon on your own.
- -Leave garbage and food scraps out to attract raccoons
FAQ About Raccoons
Not all raccoons are rabid but if you spot a raccoon that is active in the day, has matted hair, is aggressive, disorientated or confused, this could be a sign that rabies is prevalent.
In their natural habitat, raccoons will eat berries, nuts, mice, birds eggs and frogs making them omnivores. In a built up human neighborhood, they are not fussy and will make do with food remnants in garbage cans.
This depends on the state in which you live. Sometimes you will need a permit, so it’s best to check with your local wildlife controller.