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 By Mike Coviello (Tanner)
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Raccoon In Attic; Raccoon Damage

Raccoon Damage To A Florida House. This is what a mother raccoon can do to a Florida house if not repelled effectively or evicted promptly.

 Raccoon In A Raccoon Trap
 Raccoon In A Raccoon Trap
 

 

Raccoon Pictures 1-3

I began hearing noises (especially at dusk) coming from my attic. I thought it was a squirrel because I see so many of them in my back yard. I didn't pay it too much attention. Then the noised got louder and sounded like things were being torn up and destroyed in my attic. I didn't think a cute little squirrel could make such a commotion. Later I was surprised to find out that it was a raccoon. I eventually saw it outside on top of my patio roof, beneath the eves. Now I was concerned.

Raccoon trapping was not a subject that I was familiar with. Should I buy a raccoon trap and trap it myself or hire a professional trapper? I had to make a decision so I went online and researched raccoons, the damage they can do to a house and how to trap and get rid of them. I was concerned about raccoon droppings in my attic posing a health risk as well as further damage that the raccoon can do to my house. Furthermore it was Spring time. And Spring is usually the time a mother raccoon enters houses in Florida to make nests for their raccoon babies or raccoon pups. That would be really bad, having a mother with pups living in my attic causing more raccoon droppings, more damage and more sleepless nights worrying about it all.

I decided against buying a trap and trapping the raccoon on my own. They can be dangerous and possibly carry rabies. I figured what I would pay for the raccoon trap could go towards hiring professional wildlife trappers. Besides once I trapped the raccoon (or raccoons) what would I do with them. I would never kill it or have it killed. I would have to humanely capture it and release it somewhere it would be safe. The next thing to do would be to search for a trapper. One who would capture and release the raccoon and not kill it.

Finding a professional raccoon trapper was difficult. There were quite a few wildlife trapper listed in my area but most of them trapped only select animals like wild hogs and snakes. The raccoon trappers that I did find in my area were not good at returning phone calls. After a frustrating search for a trapper I finally found one that would trap and release the raccoon. I scheduled an appointment.

Two trappers came out to my house and they were very pleasant and friendly. They looked between the eves of my house and the top of my screened enclosure (patio) and spied the raccoon laying there. The then set a raccoon trap on top of my patio roof and told me to call them when I heard a commotion (the raccoon trapped in the raccoon trap). They said they would come back right away to transport and release the trapped raccoon to a safe area about 5 miles north of me. The told me to call anytime.

At about 9pm the raccoon was trapped in the raccoon trap. It made a little noise rattling the cage on top of the metal roof but not too much. I immediately call the raccoon trapper. No answer, no call back. I called four more times that evening and throughout the next day. I was getting angry with them. The poor cute raccoon sitting in the hot sun without any food or water and suffering.

 

1. Raccoon Trap 2. Trapped Raccoon 3. Raccoon Nested Beneath House Eves
4. Trappers Were Late 5. Pups 6. Baby Raccoons
7. Damage To House Eves 8. Raccoon Damage 9. Patio Roof Removed To Fix Damage


Catch and Release
Live Animal Trap

10. Raccoon Proof House Eves 11. Damage Repaired  

 

Raccoon Picture 4

I couldn't stand it anymore so the next day my neighbor helped me move the trap from the roof and place it on the ground in a shady area next to my house. It was cooler there and I could feed it some peanut butter and give it some water.

 

Raccoon Pictures 5-6

The trappers FINALLY called the following night around 10:30 pm. I told them there were raccoon babies or raccoon pups because I could hear them crying in the attic. I also found a dead baby on the ground outside of the screened enclosure. Apparently the pup had wandered out of the raccoon nest and fell off of the roof and died. During the day because I was so frustrated and angry with the raccoon trapper, I made several attempts to find the babies in my attic without success. I could hear them, but I could not squeeze into the confined areas of the attic to find them or their nest. All I got was a roofing nail stuck in my head for my efforts.

Finally the trappers came and apologized for being late. They said they had to work. I told them about the babies and they went into my attic in search of the pups. They discovered that the actual nest was not in my attic but rather on top of my screened enclosure roof, beneath the eves. Then they went onto my house roof, laid flat on their stomachs and reached beneath the eve to fish out two newborn raccoon pups. They gently placed them in a container with a blanket then searched for more. No more were found.

At 11:30 at night, all this caused quite a commotion in my neighborhood. Guys on my roof with flashlights yelling back and forth. It put on quite a show. Anyway the trappers did a good job when they finally came and released the mother raccoon and her pups together in the woods. Now I have some cleanup and repairs to do.

 

Raccoon Pictures 7-8  Raccoon Damage

Raccoon problems can be expensive. These pictures show the damage the mother did to the eves of my house. Raccoon damages included 5 large holes in my eves to gain access to my attic. She used the debris from the holes for material for her nest and her babies. I later found all the eve material on top of the roof in her nest area. I was now faced with fixing the raccoon damage.

 

Raccoon Picture 9

The damage caused by the raccoon was inaccessible because of the screened enclosure roof. I debated with myself whether to have professional home repair company come out and fix the damage or do it myself. I estimated the damage repairs would cost me about $2500 because the patio roof would have to be completely removed for the repairs tot be made, then reinstalled when the repairs were completed. I decided to do it myself and save the money. Note - I installed the screened enclosure by myself some 25 year earlier.

 

Raccoon Pictures 10 -11

Raccoon damage repairs have been completed. But before I reinstalled the screened enclosure roof I decided to "raccoon & squirrel proof" the eves to prevent this from ever happening again. To deny future raccoons access to my house through my eves I covered the entire length of eves (above my screened enclosure roof) with small grid steel wire fencing. No way they can chew through steel.

  

Raccoon Problems Lesson Learned

  1. If you hear a raccoon or any noises coming from your attic, take care of it immediately. Don't put it off. It will get too expensive and worrisome later.

  2. Trappers are unreliable. Don't trust a trapper to return phone calls or come back when promised.

  3. Raccoon proof your house. Deny them entrance to you house before they have a change to enter. Once a raccoon is there it is too late.

  4. Raccoons and their damage is smelly. Even after they are gone the area of damage still stinks until cleaned up and repaired.

  

-----------------------------------

The following emails between myself and a friend tell the story of how a mother raccoon entered the attic of my Florida house and the damage that she caused before she was evicted.

EMAIL SENT
Mon, March 29, 2010
Startled awake by loud noises inside the house in the early morning hours.
Still dark outside. Someone in my house? Tanner (my dog) was on my bed so it wasn't him.
More noises coming from the attic.
At 5 o'clock in the morning even a squirrel can sound menacing. (At least I am assuming it is a squirrel. Later I heard scurrying sounds coming overhead. Outside investigation revealed that one of my air vent covers on my eve was knocked off and laying on the ground. I hope it can find it's way out.)
Some guard dog. Tanner didn't even make a noise.

EMAIL RESPONSE
Great title for your email.
I was expecting to find hot how your guns had just paid for themselves.
Not even a dead squirrel to show for it!

EMAIL SENT
When I first hear the noise I did get my gun. I did not put one in the chamber though.
My investigation revealed that the squirrel had gotten into the attic from a different location. He came into the attic because he was trying to escape the high winds and torrent of rain. He was walking around the inside perimeter of the attic and stepped onto a grated air vent cover on the underside of an eve. The cover gave way and fell to the ground outside (it was only held in place by plastic snaps). The squirrel fell through the open hole but managed to grab the ledge with his two upper hands. His lower feet scratched madly at the underside of my eve trying to find a foothold and leaving claw marks in the process. He managed to pull himself up, his little heart was racing and he dashed madly across the attic knocking things over in the process. He later escaped the same way he got in.

EMAIL SENT
It's a raccoon not a squirrel.
Now I have a lot of work to do.
Have to find a humane trapper to trap and remove the critter(s).
Then lots of work to
- move back the entire roof of my screened enclosure to gain access to the open vents on the underside of the eves
(access points).
- add steel mesh/gratings to the vents.
- paint (while I am there)
- move the roof back and secure

EMAIL RESPONSE
Just buy a have-a-heart trap at the hardware store. I caught some coons that were raiding our vegetable garden and deported them elsewhere. How do the get up to the roof?

EMAIL SENT:
I guess he climbed up the side of the house at the junction of the screened enclosure to house. I see some hand/paw prints at the top (but they are pointed down). The only other location would where the 6 foot stockade fence connects the house near the gate. He could possible jump onto the roof but I see no evidence of that. I heard more noises yesterday. Sounds like she is building a nest. Hope she is deported before having pups. Turns out trapping and release of nuisance wildlife (as in my situation) is illegal around here (unless you own the property that they are released on). The state wants you to kill them humanely rather than deporting your problems elsewhere. Luckily I found a trapper who does it anyway. He is coming tomorrow morning.

EMAIL SENT:
Today I meet with my raccoon trapper.
I will also start the laborious process of closing off the raccoon access points (installing gratings and wire mesh over the roof vents). That wouldn't be so bad, but I have to remove the roof of my attached screened enclosure to gain access to the vents. That's the hard part. Of course I won't close them all off until I know that the raccoon is out of the attic. I did not hear any noise last night so maybe it went for a walk and spent the night elsewhere. I think today I will have to go into the attic to investigate.  Not looking forward to a face to face meeting with a raccoon in a confined space. Plan on making lots of noise and giving it a wide berth (if it's there).

EMAIL SENT:
Raccoon is a Mom.
Pups are still in the attic.
Waiting for trappers to come back and remove them all.
Mom did a lot of damage.

EMAIL SENT:
Trappers came last night around 10:30 pm and took away mother raccoon and two babies.
Mother had 3 pups but one fell off the roof and died the previous day.
Trappers were very unreliable and cause me much frustration (my blood pressure actually increased). They never came when they said and when they did they were always late.
Since they never came back after repeated phone calls and promises, my neighbor and I had to remove the caged raccoon from the roof to prevent it from suffering from heat and lack of water.
BUT, they were excellent when they did come. I could never have rescued the babies from their inaccessible location.
The trappers ended up laying upside down on the edge of my house roof and scooping the babies out of the eves of the house. I had given the babies up for dead before the trappers came back. I tried five times to retrieve them myself from inside the crawl space of my attic. I felt really bad for the caged mother raccoon and worse for the babies after the mother was caught. They were released near where Ann used to live. Tanner can now have his yard back. Frustrating but happy ending (except for the repair work yet to do).

EMAIL SENT
One little raccoon. So much trouble. About a solid week of "raccoon" repair (6- 8 hours per day). Reinstalled screen enclosure roof yesterday. Covered soffit with wire cloth to prevent future intrusion. It's stapled, screwed and liquid nailed up there to keep it in place. Should be good for another 20 years. Wire mesh pictured is not visible when roof is installed. On the good side. Lots of exercise, finally met my neighbors in the condo behind me and it got me back into the mood for home repair.

SUMMARY
Mother raccoon broke into my attic to have babies.

She climbed up the side of my house, got on top of the screened enclosure under the eves and made five holes in my
soffit. Made nest in attic.

One mother, 3 babies.

Hired trappers.

Mother and 2 babies trapped and relocated safely. One baby fell off the roof and died.

Lots of damage to the soffit of my house. Had to remove entire roof of screened enclosure to get access to damaged
areas.

Just finished doing the repairs myself. Glad that's over with.

 

Raccoon Information

Raccoon trapping can be dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. Raccoons can bite and may carry rabies. Be advised not to get too close to a raccoon inside of a trap. Often they can reach through the bars with their hands and scratch you. If you get too near the trap the raccoon may hiss or growl at you and show his teeth.

Traps come in many varieties and sizes. Some are more humane than others. Be sure to get a trap large enough for your needs. You can buy traps at a Home Depot or Lowes or you may be able to get a loaner from your local wildlife department office.

Wear gloves when cleaning up and disposing raccoon droppings. Raccoon droppings may carry several potentially dangerous diseases, including rabies.

Get rid of raccoons as soon as possible. Not only are they a potential health hazard from their feces, they are a wild animal that may bite. Raccoons are also well know for their destructive nature.

Raccoon problems can start out small and grow big fast causing you to spend a lot of money, not only getting rid of the raccoon but repairing the damage that it causes.

How to get rid of raccoon - Get rid of a raccoon first by not having to deal with a raccoon problem. May your yard an unfriendly environment for the raccoon. Remove all food sources. If you are faced with a raccoon problem you have the following choices to remove the raccoon from your property.
- trapping raccoons using traps.
- raccoon removal by professional trappers.
- commercially available repellents and deterrents

 

Authored By Mike Coviello (Tanner)

 

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