Knowing What Attracts Raccoons and How to Identify Them Can Help to Keep Them Out of Your Home and Yard
Raccoons are most commonly recognized for having black “masks” across their faces. The true purpose of those masks is to help these medium-sized mammals see better.
However, that hasn’t stopped the raccoon from getting the reputation as a mischievous, thief-like animal. They are quite intelligent and very curious animals by nature. However, if you’ve ever had one get into your home, you know they can also be very destructive animals.
Where Do Raccoons Live?
Raccoons can be found throughout most of North America, including in the Northeast United States throughout New York and New England.
Racoons prefer wooded areas where there are an abundance of trees, water, and plant life. Ironically enough, raccoon populations typically tend to be more prevalent in big cities than anywhere else. They’re very resourceful animals, as they can use just about any kind of space for their den: attics, garages, dog houses, and sheds, to name a few examples.
To keep raccoons out, repair any holes or structural damage and sure up entrance ways to prevent unwanted entry. Be mindful that adult raccoons can squeeze through holes as small as four inches in diameter.
What Do Raccoons Eat?
Raccoons are scavengers and will eat just about anything. Typically, raccoons are known for eating nuts, fruit, small animals like birds and frogs, fish, snakes, and insects. However, raccoons will also eat pet food and garbage when food they are used to eating is harder to find. They can be attracted by bird feeders, gardens, and even fish ponds.
Raccoons have a strong sense of smell. Using natural repellents like cayenne pepper can deter them from even entering your yard to begin with. You can also spray liquid repellents on bird feeders to prevent raccoons from feeding on bird seed, while not causing harm to birds. Make sure trash can lids are secure or locked to keep smells from the garbage from attracting raccoons. Washing them out routinely is another good raccoon deterrent. It is important to make sure that extra food isn’t left out where a raccoon can reach it, ensuring they aren’t attracted to your home.
Raccoon Mating Habits
Raccoons live on average between two to three years of age but can live up to 20 years in captivity. Mating season for raccoons is typically between January and March, with most females giving birth April and May. Females can have litters of between three and seven raccoon cubs. Males don’t have any part in raising the young and will attempt to mate with multiple females during the mating season, while a female will typically only mate with one male.
Females are very protective of their cubs, so take extreme caution when trying to remove any babies, as the mother will defend them, sometimes aggressively if need be. Attics and chimneys make great places for raccoons to have their babies. The babies can be easily hidden from people in hard to reach spots.
Signs You Have Raccoons in Your Home
Raccoons, like mice and squirrels, are nocturnal, which means they feed at night. So, identifying them is important when trying to determine if raccoons have invaded your home, or if you have another common pest problem.
Raccoons are extremely vocal creatures and can use upwards of 200 or more different sounds to interact with one another. Some raccoon sounds include; purring, growling, whimpering, hissing, and screeching similar to what an owl might sound like. A baby raccoon will cry and whine for the most part.
Before you ever see a raccoon, you’ll most likely hear them first. Rustling or scurrying around your attic, on the roof, or even in your chimney are the most common sounds you’ll hear at night. These sounds may be a clue that a raccoon or family of raccoons has invaded your home. Outside, you might hear trash cans being rummaged through or knocked over in an attempt to get at garbage that might contain food scraps. Keeping tight lids on your trash cans is a good way to prevent raccoons from entering your property.
If you do hear or even see a raccoon in your home, it’s important to know that, unlike mice, raccoons can become very aggressive if they feel threatened and will defend themselves, so it’s recommended that you let a professional handle any removal of raccoons from your home.
Finding animal droppings is a good indication that you have a pest problem. Identifying the animal droppings is a crucial step to determining which animal has invaded your home. Raccoon droppings look very similar to dog droppings but can be differentiated by berries found in the droppings. Raccoons tend to return to the same spot to defecate, called latrines, so if you discover such a place in your home, garage, or someplace outside, it’s another good indication that you have a raccoon infestation. You should approach raccoon droppings with extreme caution as it may contain diseases. It is recommended that you let a pest control professional handle raccoon droppings instead of doing it yourself. This will ensure that you, your family, and your pets are safe from potential diseases that might be carried within the droppings
As stated before, if you think you have a raccoon problem inside your home or living in your yard, it's advised that you seek the help of a professional. A pest management professional has the education, experience, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a raccoon problem. We’ll work with you to make sure any raccoons are effectively removed from your home or yard, ensuring your family’s safety as an utmost importance in doing so. Contact us and we’ll put together a plan to rid you of your raccoon problem.