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Wildlife Damage Control/Problem with Raccoons

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Question
Hello, Stephen

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.

Martin C. Meyer


Answer
Raccoons in Attic.
General information can be found here http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=698

Find out the trapping laws in your state visit http://icwdm.org/VendorsService/Default1.aspx Then if legal trap them out. Find where they are climbing up your building and set cage traps that are 10x12x32 inches in size. You know they are gone by corking the hole with newspaper. If the newspaper isn't moved for several days during normal weather, then you know they are gone. Then seal the hole with strong hardware cloth or flashing. I also recommend filling the hole with foam to prevent air flow. Learn more about this technique at http://icwdm.org/inspection/PaperStuffing.aspx  

If you have a female that has had young in the attic, then catch her and go up in the attic (make sure you have the right female going in an attic for young can be dangerous) and remove the young by hand. (Preferably a gloved hand with good strong leather gloves or cat grasper, there is a chance they can bite and when picked up they do urinate so watch out). Remember, wildlife carry diseases dangerous to people so get informed before doing (ANY) work. For some information click http://icwdm.org/diseases/raccoonroundworm.aspx to learn about this lesser known infection. (Everyone knows about the threat of rabies).
Never enter an attic without proper protection which includes at minimum, HEPA filter mask (assuming you have been properly fitted and are healthy enough to wear one), leather gloves and eye protection. Do not capture mom unless you are willing and able to remove the young too.

Eviction products called “Raccoon eviction fluid” and “Vanish” have pretty good reputations for convincing female raccoons with young to leave a building. It isn't a 100% but it has been known to work. Search the web for those terms  to learn how to buy it. You can try harassment. Visit http://icwdm.org/ControlMethods/Hazing.aspx  Understand that harassment isn't instant coffee. Consider how hard it would be for your neighbor to convince you to leave your home. Well the raccoon is in a similar situation. She doesn't want to move the young as that would involve a lot of work. Harassment involves, time, intensity and annoyance. All three factors have to combine to convince the animal to move on. Be careful though, she may abandon young in the process.

Using one way doors is an option. But due to the complexities involved in using this technique, we only recommend that it be done in concert with a professional or someone experienced in raccoon control.

For information on raccoon trapping, visit http://icwdm.org/ControlMethods/TrapSafety.aspx  to learn about trapping safety issues. Then go to http://icwdm.org/handbook/carnivor/Raccoons.asp    Always check with your state laws before doing any trapping. Also BEFORE you begin trapping learn how to handle a skunk as people often catch skunks while trapping for raccoons. Visit http://icwdm.org/wildlife/Skunk.aspx and/or http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=864 for information on handling skunks BEFORE YOU BEGIN TRAPPING.
Sometimes raccoons walk past a trap, that isn't uncommon given the number of people who choose to relocate raccoons. Capturing an educated raccoons can be very difficult. Now for many animal damage controllers cage educated raccoons are no big deal if they live in a state that hasn't been foolish enough to ban traps, Massachusetts, California and Washington are examples of states whose citizens were appropriately duped by the animal rights protest industry. But I digress. Do not trap a female with young unless you can gain access to the young. Do not enter an attic or enclosed space without proper safety equipment and training.

If you choose to hire a professional visit http://icwdm.org/VendorsService/Default.aspx    The previous link also provides listings for professionals if you choose to hire one. Be sure to read our advice on what to look for BEFORE you hire anyone. There are lots of people who think they are professional animal damage controllers but actually aren’t.
If you decide to trap, don’t assume that translocation is humane or necessarily legal in your state. http://icwdm.org/ControlMethods/Relocation.aspx  to learn why. If legal in your state, the raccoon should be released on site (often not practical) or euthanized. See http://icwdm.org/wildlife/euthanasia/Default.aspx  to learn how.

So don't waste your time. Repellents can work but as you have seen these aren't 100 percent. http://icwdm.org/ControlMethods/Repellents.aspx  

I would suggest that you be sure your chimney is raccoon free and then appropriately capped with a stainless steel cap. this will prevent her from moving to the chimney. One of the problems of harassment is you don't know where she will move next. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.
Unfortunately, without more information this about all I can tell you at the moment.

Prevent future problems by following the advice found at http://icwdm.org/Prevention/Default.aspx  Always remember when looking to prevent raccoon entry, the principle is “strength before beauty”. NEVER secure an opening without being sure that it is no longer being used by an animal. Visit http://icwdm.org/Inspection/PaperStuffing.aspx to learn how to tell.

Animal Disposal If you decide to trap, don’t assume that translocation is humane or necessarily legal in your state. http://icwdm.org/ControlMethods/Relocation.aspx  to learn why. If legal in your state, the raccoon should be released on site (often not practical) or euthanized. See http://icwdm.org/wildlife/euthanasia/Default.aspx  to learn how.   To learn how to dispose of the carcass visit http://icwdm.org/wildlife/euthanasia/CarcassDisposal.aspx  

I am always looking for images (if you can safely take them) of wildlife damage to help us in our educational mission. To learn how to take better photos visit http://icwdm.org/Photos/Default.aspx  I prefer  high resolution, (3 mg or higher). Send to wildlifecontrolconsultant@gmail.com  

Please include permission to use the images and where and when the photos were taken. Month/year is fine as is county or city  and state.

Disclaimer: As with any activity, remember that animal damage control comes with its own risks and problems which can include but are not limited to legalities, health threats, and personal liabilities. Be sure to follow all state laws governing wildlife and make sure you have a thorough understanding on how to resolve the animal damage complaint. My advice is only as good as your understanding of me and my understanding of your situation. If you have any questions be sure to write back.

Wildlife Damage Control

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Stephen M. Vantassel

Expertise

I can assist the public in responding to all kinds of wildlife related problems in the United States and Canada, including birds, mice, rats, skunks, raccoons, beavers, opossums, voles, moles, chipmunks, woodchucks, pocket gophers, and more. Please note that I specialize in vertebrates only, (animals with a backbone). While learning about insects, other experts should be consulted with insect questions. My passion is wildlife damage identification, for if you don't know what animal is causing the problem, you can't begin to resolve it responsibly. My latest book is the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook 3rd edition (2012). It is available at my site http://wildlifecontrolconsultant.com or by visiting my various vendors. (A simple internet search on the book's title will bring you to them).

Experience

I was a full time animal damage controller for over 5 years and a part-time animal damage controller for over 10. I have been a volunteer for AllExperts.com for over 5 years under the Pest Control Category, when they graciously created a new category that better suited my experience (I don't answer bug questions). I was a licensed animal controller in both Massachusetts, Connecticut and Nebraska. I presently run the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, http://icwdm.org and http://wildlifecontrolconsultant.com.

Organizations
National Wildlife Control Operators Association, Community Integrated Pest Management group at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Publications
I have published multiple books, including The Wildlife Removal Handbook rev. ed. and the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook 3rd ed. Additionally, I have written dozens of articles which have appeared in Wildlife Control Technology Magazine, Fur-Fish & Game, The Trapper, The Fur Taker, The Probe, and others. I have co-authored wildlife related publications for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension program and was responsible for revising the handbook designed for the Pest Controllers looking to obtain their category 14 license.

Education/Credentials
I was a trapper education instructor for the state of Massachusetts, and have attended a variety of conferences and trainings, including but not limited to Vertebrate Pest Conference, Wildlife Damage Management Conference, National Wildlife Control Association national conference, Wildlife Control Technology Conference. I have not only attended these meetings but have also been privileged to have been a speaker. I have received the National Wildlife Control Operators Association Educator of the Year Award in 2008 and 2012.

Awards and Honors
Certified Wildlife Control Operator (2001), Academy Certified Professional (2008), Master NWCOA Instructor (2012)

Past/Present Clients
I have helped thousands of people around the U. S. through my work at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Wildlife Control Consultant. Specific tasks include: Ghost writing, Research, Expert Witness, Writing Training Manuals, Public speaking at Conferences, Workshops, and Trainings

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