Wildlife Education - Information About Raccoons in the house

Raccoons in the House

Raccoons are not really wild animals. They are urban animals. Raccoons are FAR more common in cities and suburbs than they are in undeveloped natural areas. Just like rats. Thus, raccoon-human encounters are very common. Raccoons are smart, curious, and agile, and they need a place to live, so they very often break into a house.

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Raccoons can live in and cause problems in many areas of the house. I'll start with the bottom up.

Raccoons in the Basement of the House: This is not terribly common, but it can happen. Like any part of a house, a basement is a decent place to live, because it's enclosed and protected from the elements. Even if the basement is cold and damp, it's likely warmer and dryer than the outside, especially at night. And of course, mother raccoons want a safe place to raise their young. You can actually set traps in the basement, but you'll have better luck trapping outside, near the entry hole. Read more about the basement.

Raccoons in the Crawl Space of a House: I've seen raccoons living in the crawlspace under a house many times. If a home is elevated, with a crawl space underneath, and there's an easy opening, it's an open invitation for raccoons, cats, opossums, and other animals to live under there, just like under a deck or shed. The key, as usual, is to find the opening(s) and seal them shut, either when the animal is out, or when it's been trapped or removed. Read more about the crawl space.

Raccoons in the Living Space of a House: If you are unfortunate enough to have a raccoon in your home, inside the living space, such as the kitchen or living room, be careful. Raccoons aren't necessarily aggressive, but they are relatively fearless, and they will defend themselves if necessary. It's not common for a raccoon to get in the house, but it does happen. I've even heard of cases of a raccoon in the bedroom. The four most common ways are: 1) Through an open pet door - to prevent this, don't leave tempting pet food out all the time. 2) Through an open fireplace and chimney damper, if they entered the chimney. 3) Falling or chewing through the ceiling or wall, if they were living in the attic or walls. 4) Simply through an open door or window. If a raccoon does get in your home, leave it alone! Any attempt to fight it might result in injury! Keep your pets away! Open every window and door that you can find, and let the animal find its own way out. Or call a pro off of my list, and he will be able to come get it safely, with a snare pole.



Raccoons in the Walls of the House: Fairly common, especially if the mother wants a safe place to stash young. They usually enter from the attic space, and crawl down the wall. Read more about the wall.

Raccoons in the Ceiling of the House: Unless it's the ceiling between floors, you're just hearing raccoons walking in the attic, on the ceiling material (sheetrock). Read more about the ceiling.

Raccoons in the Attic of the House: The home page of this site has all the information you could ever want to know regarding the safe and effective removal of raccoons from the attic of your home. They can get into the attic many different ways. One common way is raccoons climbing the downspout. This is a very easy way, like climbing a tree, for a raccoon to get onto the roof and the vulnerable areas into the attic. Read more about the attic.

Raccoons in the Roof of the House: In my experience, if a raccoon is on the roof, it's either looking for a way to get into the attic, or it already has one. But in some cases, these animals are just exploring for food, or they have found some little nook, like an eave, to sleep under. I even found one roof that was so covered in debris - old sticks and leaves and such - that raccoons were nesting in it. Read more about the roof.

Raccoons in the Chimney of the House: A chimney is a fine place for a coon to live; it's like a big old hollow tree. It's usually easier to get them out of a chimney than other areas of the house, but now always, depending on the architecture of your home. Be sure to leave your damper shut, or else the raccoon(s) could crawl out, and into your living room! Read more about the chimney.



What to do if you have a raccoon in your house - There are two kinds of raccoons in a house: the ones that are in there on accident and the ones that want to make your home their home. If you have a raccoon that wandered in through the pet door or an open window, your best tactic is to open your door and then herd the animal outside. Most raccoons will be just as scared to be inside your home as you are to have them in there. Shooing the critter out with a broom probably won’t be too difficult. If, for some reason, the raccoon decides to hide in your bathroom, lodged behind your toilet, you should call a wildlife removal company to come and get it. You should never risk tangling with a raccoon. If it isn’t easily coaxed to the door, don’t try to harass it or antagonize it. The raccoon that is living in your attic is a different matter. This raccoon needs to be trapped and removed, and the home needs to be repaired. Most states require raccoon trapping to be done by a professional with a special license. Employing an expert will also ensure no babies are left behind somewhere in the building.

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Actual Situation: Last night it seemed as if someone was moving around in my attic...quite scary...just in time for holloween. In any event I went out on my deck in the dark to see if some animal was walking on the roof when from behind me something swished by ..an animal...and headed towards the stairway. The stream of light from my next door neighbor showed me that it was a RACOON. It stopped...looked and me...and scurried across the lawn and away into the backyard bushes. This morning I went up into the attic but I didn't see anything. What do I do to keep this racoon away from my attic if he or she hasn't moved in already. It was as big as a dog and quite frightening in the dark. Please let me know........Thank you........Sincerely, Peggy

My response: Do a full inspection of your home, especially the roof and vents and eave areas, and see if there are any openings that a raccoon could crawl through. Though they look large, raccoons can fit through deceptively small spaces. If there are openings, you might already have raccoons inside, and you must remove them. If not, secure everything before one gets inside. Actual Situation: If trees are cut back and if raccoons can climb the walls and downspouts anyway, is there anything at all that will deter them from climbing up the downspouts or climbing walls onto my roof and making holes? - Vivian

My response: It's pretty hard - they are very good climbers, and downspouts are no problem.

If trees are cut back and if raccoons can climb the walls and downspouts anyway, is there anything at all that will deter them from climbing up the downspouts or climbing walls onto my roof and making holes? Vivian Article topics include:
How to get rid of raccoons in the house and home.
Get raccoons out of the house and keep them out.
How to remove raccoons from inside the house.
Please be kind to raccoons! They are intelligent animals, and believe it or not, they definitely have emotions!
For any questions about raccoons in attics, just email me: david@raccoonatticguide.com or click: call a local pro.