Raccoons are intelligent creatures capable of living in many different environments and climates.
This means, of course, they can easily adapt to living in your house.
Raccoons can get inside through crevices or openings around attics, basements, or even inside walls. Once raccoons are inside, it can be difficult to get them to leave.
In many cases, people will need to contact a professional to trap them.
If one does get in your house, here's what you can do to get them out and reclaim your home again!
Why Do Raccoons Go Inside Your Home?
Raccoons like to go into houses because they make excellent food sources and den sites. The animals typically fight with one another over food and shelters because up to 15 and 25 raccoons can live within 1 square mile of one another.
John Hadidian of the Nation Humane Society explains the opportunistic nature of the raccoon in detail in the video below.
Mother raccoons in particular enjoy houses because they are safe areas where they can have their babies. Raccoons avoid areas where humans frequently go, so they don't nest in the living room or the kitchen. Instead, they will likely hide in low-traffic areas like attics and basements where they can sneak in and out with food.
What Do Raccoons Like to Eat?
Raccoons are omnivores, which means they eat meat and plants. Indeed, they will eat most things they can get their paws on, including bugs, fish, fruits, vegetables, and edibles from human trash bins like pizza crusts and crackers.
Many of these foods can be found near human homes and inside kitchens, which make residential areas an all-you-can-eat-buffet for the average raccoon.
Does Raccoon Bait Work?
Raccoon bait is special, edible material designed to attract raccoons either to lure them into a trap or away from a certain area. It can be a liquid, paste, or kibble.
Most are not poisonous and are highly effective in attracting raccoons through the use of scents like anise or animal musk. Raccoons, though very intelligent animals, can't resist the scent of a gourmet meal and will normally dive headfirst into a delicious-smelling bait that's set out for them.
How to Trap a Raccoon In Your House?
The easiest way to get a raccoon out of your house is to trap it. Many pest control and wildlife removal experts recommend a process that follows these steps:
First, you need to identify where, exactly, the raccoon lives in the house. This is usually the easy part since these animals make noise as they rustle through the trash. They tend to live in areas where they can easily get in and out. They like places that people don't often enter: attics, underneath porches, and in spaces in the walls are popular.
Once you know where it lives, determine whether or not it has kits, or babies. If it does, pick up the kits separately and keep them in a container where they can breather. They can be reunited with the adult once it is caught.
The easiest way to get a raccoon out of a house is to trap and release. Humane cage traps are growing more popular since it's easy to lure a raccoon inside. Just set one up near its home in your house and use a bait. Once it is inside the trap, you can get it out of the house.
What if the Raccoon Doesn't Have Babies?
If the raccoon doesn't have any kits, just focus on the adults. This simplifies the process and only eliminates the reunion step of the process.
Where to Take the Trapped Raccoon?
Once you have trapped a raccoon, you need to know where to take it. States have different trap laws that dictate where you can release a wild animal. Be sure to do some research with your local Fish and Wildlife division before making a decision.
If release by a homeowner is acceptable, then choose a location at least 5-10 miles away from your property. This way, the raccoon won't find its way back. Be sure to release the kits with it.
What Are Some Basic Trapping Safety Tips?
Although they are cute, don't forget that raccoons are wild animals. Be sure to follow these steps to avoid being bitten or getting a parasite like fleas:
- Wear thick gloves to prevent bites
- Always wear long sleeves
- Have some form of eye protection
- Avoid touching the raccoon as much as possible
- Follow all of the instructions for setting up a trap
- Wash your hands and clothes after handling the raccoon
How to Prevent Future Raccoons
If you don't want any more wildlife visitors, you need to seal up their original entry point in your house. Your first step should be to identify how the raccoon was entering and exiting your home, then close the hole with an appropriate sealing or caulking agent.
If they came in through a vent or chimney, replace the damaged area and then take steps to create a raccoon-proof environment. This might mean using stronger building materials, keeping a trap nearby, or even catching any other raccoons in the area before they get to your house.
It's a lot of work, but keep in mind that raccoons are destructive. The average cost to repair a hole is $350 to $500, and internal damage by raccoons is usually not covered by insurance. A single raccoon can cost you between $500 and $1,500 overall!
Home Raccoon Removal Final Thoughts...
Trapping raccoons in your house may seem like it will totally hold up your day-to-day life, but don't let it become a daunting process.
This is the easiest way to get them out of your home so you can return to your normal life without the unsettling thumps, scuttles, and squeaks that come with having one of these bandit-faced intruders creeping around your house!
Other Raccoon Guides
Curious about other raccoon articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.