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Wild Animals/Problems with Raccoons.


Hello Dana,

I am writing to you, to see if you can help me in this situation. And again,

I am writing to you about a problem that I have with Raccoons in the attic in my garage.
Well they seem to not be doing any damage in the garage as though I have read that they can do some damage. Mine, don't (sort of speak) so it appears to me that it is no problem. I mean if they are not doing anything. Just to have some shelter. I have seen them. They are so CUTE in person then see pictures of them. And they have seen me and go back up in the attic in my garage. They I guess wanted to see who I was talking to when I was in my garage talking to someone on the phone. They show themselves and go back up in the attic. This happened a couple of times. The last time I saw them they showed themselves go back up in the attic and they were walking around in the attic as they did not do this when I did see them those other times right now I am staying out of the garage, at least at night. I am a animal lover and I am thinking of their safety. As well as mine and I do have a dog in my house and thinking of her safety as well.

I do not want to hurt them as they can get hurt. I have had Raccoons fall from the ceiling in my bedroom and this was so many years ago. They had gotten in the attic in my house through a hole that my dad covered up. But, anyways I guess I always have had a feeling something was up in the attic in the garage, but now they are making themselves known.

Where do they go during the day? If they are in my attic at night. I figure they prowl at night and sleep all day.

How can I keep them away? How are they getting in the garage as you are asking, well there is a hole in the back of the garage, but to board it up I have to know if Raccoons are still in my garage I do not want to block them in as to how would they get out, they would probably do some damage. So, how can I know if the Raccoons are out before boarding up the hole?

And one more thing for now. Do they understand what you say to them? I have talked to them to tell them I will not hurt them. I did say, the last time I saw them at least and this was on Oct 27th that I can not get attach to them as a animal lover because well it is getting mushy thinking about it I did not see them when I talked to tell and when I was finished. They thought I was I saw the come down from the attic in the garage. They were leaving to go thru the hole outside I can not see the hole in the back of the garage where I was standing talking to them it was two Raccoons as their are more then one and one said, well made a noise loud enough to hear in the garage. So, I guess they understood me what I was saying to them, I think. Now, after I saw them again on Nov 4th they were walking in the attic in the garage after I saw them and they saw me. And walking around in the attic.

What can I do about this? I can give you more info on what I have done if you are going to ask. I just want them to leave without hurting them. If you know of something I can try I will not do this along though.
Thank you very much for your time and can help me in this matter.

In closing, What can I do about the Raccoons? (To get rid of them to say, politely) What would you suggest and recommend? We used to hear them in the attic in the house, but when we did we made noise to where we heard the noise coming from and did not hear any noise and did not hear any in a couple of nites. When hearing them, so, I do not know, what is going on. Again, what would you suggest and recommend? I live in Park Ridge Illinois. I hope you can help? And thank you.

Sincerely yours,

Martin C. Meyer

Dear Martin,

Raccoons don't understand human language, so they don't likely understand what you're telling them.  They can be aggressive and dangerous, so don't try to approach them in any way.

Because they are nocturnal, they will leave the attic at night.  As long as they don't have babies (which is not likely this time of year), you can safely block the entrance they're using once it's well past dark.  You might be able to install a one-way flap that allows them to get out, but not back in.  Just overlap the edges of the flap.  Problem is:  raccoons are very smart, and you might need to fashion some type of spring-loaded flap that they can't open from the outside.

Another alternative is to hire the services of a nuisance animal removal service.  They usually will set a live trap and remove the animal, though you might check with them first, to be sure they do not euthanize.

I hope this helps.


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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I'm an evolutionary biologist with a passion for animals. Ask about natural history, behavior, ecology, evolution. PLEASE NOTE:

If you have found an "orphaned" or injured wild animal or bird:
Please don't waste time asking questions on the internet, as the answers may come too late. DO NOT FEED THE ANIMAL, and DO NOT HANDLE IT unless it is in imminent danger. (Many wild "orphans" are not orphans at all!) If you are absolutely sure it is orphaned, keep it warm and quiet, and find a LICENSED WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR HERE. Don't try to raise a baby yourself, or rehabilitate an injured anmal. Many a well-intentioned rescuer will do more harm than good, especially with baby birds and baby rabbits.

Without geographic location, time of day and habitat, I can't help. A clear picture is always best.

It's impossible for me to I.D. an animal call without hearing it myself.

I'm not an expert on comparative strengths of different animals (more complicated than you might think!) nor bite forces.

I refuse to answer "Which of these two animals--X or X--would win in a fight?".

These hypothetical matchups range from impossible (Grizzly Bears and Gorillas don't even occupy the same continent.) to ridiculous (Someone asked me "Who would win a fight between a Great White Shark and a tiger?").

The vast majority of animals--even the fierce and powerful--are not as warlike as Homo sapiens, and it's childish to project our aggressiveness onto them.


I have been the fortunate caregiver to a group of Black-tailed Jackrabbits rescued from the Miami International Airport, and not releasable in this area because they are not native. I also have rehabbed and released Eastern Cottontails, and am in contact with many very experienced wildlife rescuers who regularly handle injured or orphaned rabbits and hares.

House Rabbit Society

Exotic DVM journal

I have a Ph.D. in Biology, with main areas of expertise in evolutionary biology, genetics, botany, and ecology.

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