Gary Evans is passionate about home improvement. He loves finding out how to make improvements in the easiest, most practical, and most affordable ways. Upgrading his home kitchen is one of his ongoing hobbies. Gary is also a long-time content creator and enjoys spending his free time tending to his hydroponic vegetable garden.
How To Get Rid Of Raccoons In The Attic (Do This!)
Waking up in the middle of the night due to strange noises can be a frightening experience. In all likelihood though, ghosts are not the producers of those odd noises. Instead, what you may be dealing with are raccoons that have taken up residence in your attic.
Raccoons roaming around neighborhoods are fairly common these days. If your attic is accessible to them, they will likely not pass on that opportunity. Once they’re in your attic, getting rid of them can be a challenge.
Mother raccoons often take their kits with them when they take shelter in an attic. Get them to take shelter elsewhere by exposing them to scents they dislike along with annoying lights and noises. Turn to animal control as a last resort because trapping a raccoon on your own can be troublesome in many ways.
You cannot risk having raccoons stay in your attic because of the harm and damage they may potentially cause. Shoo them away humanely yet effectively by following the tips featured in this article.
Table of Contents
- Why Raccoons Are in Your Attic
- How to Get the Raccoons to Leave Your Attic
- Related Questions
Why Raccoons Are in Your Attic
Knowing why raccoons have made their way into your attic is important for prevention. Once you understand why they went into your home, you’ll be able to keep them away in the future. Detailed below are some of the reasons why raccoons will stay in your attic.
They Need Shelter
Raccoons are very adaptable. They can do just fine in most environments once they’re mature. The younger raccoons, otherwise known as the kits, may not be as resilient as their parents just yet though.
In many cases, mother raccoons take up shelter in attics because they want to keep their kits protected. The four walls of your home grant their young protection against potentially bad weather as well as predators.
Attics that remain relatively warm during the winter thanks to insulation will also be appealing to raccoons. It’s hard to blame raccoons for finding your warm attic preferable to the harsh wintery environment waiting for them outside.
They Found Food in Your Attic
Finding food is always a priority for any living creature. The raccoons may be in your attic because they’ve found it to be a reliable source of food.
That can happen if you always keep a window open in your attic. Some seeds or other edible treats from trees nearby may get blown in there by the wind. The raccoons will happily dine on those stray goodies and they’ll stick around too hoping to find more food.
They Can Reach Your Attic Easily
Raccoons may also decide to stay in your attic simply because they can. They may only inspect the attic at first, but after deeming it safe, the raccoons may decide to stay. You need to put barriers in place that will discourage the raccoons from entering your home.
How to Get the Raccoons to Leave Your Attic
Traps often work if you’re trying to get rid of unwanted animal intruders, but they may not be appropriate for raccoons. The reason why you shouldn’t use a trap immediately is because you’re likely dealing with a mother raccoon and her kits.
You may be able to trap the mother, but the younger raccoons may not be strong to move around just yet. Separating the mother from her kits is also a bad idea. Without their mother, the younger raccoons could very well die inside your attic.
It’s also worth noting that handling trapped raccoons can be complicated. The laws in your area may prohibit you from relocating the trapped raccoon, meaning euthanizing it will be your only option. As much as possible, you should try getting the raccoons to leave on their own. Detailed below are the steps you need to take to remove raccoons from your attic safely.
Step 1: Collect the Items Needed to Shoo the Raccoons Away
To get started, you will need to acquire some items that will be used to drive the raccoons away. You’re mainly looking for objects that can produce plenty of light and noise. High-powered flashlights will work and you can also use a wireless speaker to blast sounds from your smartphone.
It’s also a good idea to pick up an item that produces a scent raccoons will be wary of. Raccoon eviction fluid works well for that job.
Because male raccoons are known for killing kits, mother raccoons will naturally be afraid of them. The aforementioned eviction fluid is made from fluids produced by male raccoons. Catching a whiff of it can cause the mother raccoon to pick up her young and relocate right away.
Raccoon eviction fluid can be somewhat hard to find though. If you cannot get your hands on that eviction fluid, apple cider vinegar works as a suitable substitute. Apple cider vinegar doesn’t strike fear in mother raccoons, but they hate its smell nonetheless.
Step 2: Close All but One Path Out of Your Attic
The next step involves closing off your attic. You want the mother raccoon and her kits to move out. They may not do that if they find other suitable places for hiding inside your home.
Close off any potential pathways the raccoons can use to get out of your attic. Only leave one way open for them and make sure it leads outside. Scratch marks may also tip you off to which path the mother raccoon uses often. If possible, leave that path out of your home open so the raccoons can use that.
Step 3: Start Bothering the Raccoons
Before you start working on shooing away the raccoons, it’s smart to wait until night time. Since raccoons are nocturnal creatures, you may startle them if you start the racket early. They may become disoriented and damage your home as they try to flee.
Once the night has settled in, you can start setting up. Position the wireless speaker inside your attic and get it as close as possible to where the raccoons are. You can also start applying whichever repellent you chose. Use a fan to spread the smell inside the attic faster. You can also turn on the flashlight now and train it on the raccoons.
Keep bothering the raccoons until you hear them start to scurry away. It likely won’t take that long before the raccoons start moving.
Optional Step: Contact Professional Animal Control
Hopefully, the raccoons will go away after you start bombarding them with noises, lights, and unpleasant smells. That doesn’t always happen though as some raccoons are more stubborn than others.
Again, trapping is an option, but you have to prepare for handling the raccoon after capturing it. You’ll also have to handle the kits and that can be an ordeal unto itself. In this case, it’s better to be cautious and call in the professionals. Contact animal control and let them take care of your raccoon problem.
You’ll probably have to spend somewhere in the range of $200 to $500 to get the raccoons removed from your attic. That’s not cheap, but paying that price is preferable to having raccoons damage your home and possibly cause other problems.
What Are Signs That a Raccoon Is on Your Property?
Raccoons are pretty hard to spot since they often move around at night. Still, they do leave behind some signs that indicate their presence on your property. If some of your garbage bags have been torn open, that may be a sign that you have an unwanted visitor. Some raccoons may also leave behind prints that may be visible in the mud or snow.
You can also check if you have raccoons in the attic by listening closely at night. A noisy attic is a pretty good sign that you do indeed have a raccoon problem.
What Health Problems Can Raccoons Cause?
Rabies is probably the first thing you’re worried about when it comes to dealing with raccoons. Notably, though, the odds of people contracting rabies from raccoons are very low, per The Humane Society. Instead of rabies, homeowners should be more worried about leptospirosis and roundworms. Leptospirosis is a disease people may contract after exposure to raccoon urine while roundworms are present in raccoon feces.
Allowing raccoons to stay in your attic for too long increases the chances of you being exposed to their disease-causing waste. Take action as soon as you suspect raccoons are in your attic and give them a reason to go away.
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