Raccoon exclusions and home repair

Raccoons are medium-sized mammals that usually are 2–3 feet in length and weigh 10–30 pounds. They are easily recognized by the distinctive black “mask” over their eyes and a black-and-gray ringed tail. Raccoons are found throughout the United States but are most common in the East.

Whenever possible, exclusion is the best method for preventing raccoon damage.

Attics and buildings: Raccoons can enter structures through vents or other openings. The minimum size opening that raccoon’s need for access is only 2.5 x 4 inches—surprisingly small! Replace damaged and vulnerable roof and ventilation vents with designs that prevent entry.

Crops and gardens: Electric fencing can be very effective at excluding raccoons from crops and gardens. The fence should be turned on in the evening and turned off after sunrise. If you decide to use electric fencing, be sure to install caution signs where appropriate.

Chimneys and rooftops: Prevent raccoons from entering your chimney by securely fastening a commercial cap of sheet metal and heavy screen over the top of the chimney. Before you install the exclusion device, however, be sure that the animals are not already inside the chimney, especially in the spring or summer when young may also be present. If the animals are still inside the chimney, you will have to wait for them to leave or contact a wildlife control expert.

Poultry houses and yards: Exclude raccoons with tightly covered doors and windows, mesh-wire fences with an overhang, or electric fencing.

Trapping: Trapping raccoons can be an effective way to deal with a “problem” raccoon. Nuisance or sick raccoons can be trapped, but check with state and local authorities for current policies. The most commonly used trap is a cage-like device that captures the animal without physical harm. These traps can be purchased, or built by you. If you decide to trap, be aware that raccoons can transmit rabies, canine distemper, and parvovirus to domestic animals and humans. You should avoid any raccoon that is active during daylight hours, is unafraid of humans, or appears sick, confused, or uncoordinated. In these cases, consult a wildlife professional for assistance.

Shooting: Lethal control is often not necessary, and you should try other alternatives first. You must check with state and local authorities before using lethal control.

Raccoon Control and Raccoon Removal: Exclusion, if feasible, is usually the best method of coping with raccoon damage. A chimney cap or exclusion device will keep raccoons and other animals out of chimneys. These are available commercially and should be made of heavy material. Tightly clamp or fasten them to chimneys to prevent raccoons from pulling or tearing them off.
To decrease the opportunity for future conflicts experts install screening vents, chimney caps, and close entry holes. Without proper exclusion and follow-up work, the removal of an animal will open up habitat for another animal to move into and your problem will occur again.

Raccoons are destructive by nature and often tear things apart for no apparent reason. What compounds this problem is that they are very strong and have the ability to do great damage to all sorts of personal property. There is a large list of damages that raccoons can cause to your home.
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