raccoons pests

3 Signs You May Have RACCOONS In Your Attic

Raccoons are nocturnal animals that are known for being crafty dumpster divers. They may seem comical or even cute, but not if they invade your home. Raccoons are considered pests for several reasons. They carry various diseases. Raccoons are messy creatures that scratch, shred and destroy almost everything they come into contact with.

It’s important for you to know and be able to recognize the signs of a raccoon in the attic, so if one does gain access, you can call professionals to get rid of it asap!

It’s reproduction season

Early spring is baby raccoon season. It peaks in early March, and this is when raccoon mothers are desperately seeking a warm, isolated and safe space to protect their babies. The is the most likely part of the year in which raccoons will try very hard to gain access to your attic. After baby raccoons are born, it takes approximately three months for them to be able to move around on their own. So the raccoons will probably hang out in your attic until the babies are ready to go out into the world independently. Have you seen an adult female raccoon hanging around outside during the spring months? If so, it’s almost a guarantee that she has babies nearby. Or you might hear a high-pitched whining sound- that’s the raccoon babies crying for their mother. Don’t worry! If you’re reluctant to take action because you don’t want to hurt the babies, rodent and wildlife removal experts can remove baby raccoons safely without killing or hurting them.

Listen Carefully

Are you noticing unusual or unexplained noises around the house lately? Don’t brush this off! Stop and take notice. Listen carefully and identify where the noises are coming from. Are they coming from the attic? Here’s a descriptive list of different types of noises that signal a raccoon is in the attic:

  • Sounds like growls may be from an adult raccoon, and the babies make crying sounds. These sounds are unique to raccoons; other rodents like mice, squirrels, and rats do not make vocal sounds.
  • Sound of scurrying is likely the raccoons moving around in the attic.
  • Gnawing sounds signal the process of chewing or otherwise damaging wood or other items in the attic or on the outside of the house.
  • Sounds like scratching and tunneling are made when the raccoons are constructing a nest. Raccoons often use attic insulation as nesting materials.
  • Sounds of burrowing or tearing are made by a raccoon trying to enlarge an entry or exit location into the attic.
  • Sounds of scraping or scurrying are often signs of raccoons walking on rooftops. This sound is more likely to occur at night.

Using a keen ear can be one of the best ways to identify if a raccoon has invaded your attic space. Their weight and size make their movement sounds more pronounced and easy to distinguish. If you recognize any of these noises, you need to check out the situation immediately.

Related post: How to keep squirrels off the roof?

Damaged Materials

As soon as a raccoon finds its way into your attic, it will begin to nest. Raccoons are crafty and smart animals. They are resourceful and will use any of the materials on hand in your attic to make a cozy nest. Most likely, they’ll bring in some scavenger things from the outdoors- leaves, twigs, and other debris. But they’ll mainly find and shred paper, cloth and attic insulation as the primary bedding materials for their nest.

Shredded cloth and paper can be messy but mostly harmless. Shredded insulation, however, is useless. Without proper insulation, your home will not be able to regulate a comfortable temperature, and you’ll waste energy and money. Another major concern is the structural support in your attic- the wooden beams are likely to be scratched or gnawed on by raccoons. If the integrity of the structural support becomes compromised, you have a very dangerous situation on your hands.

A raccoon can wreak havoc in the attic. The best preventative measure is to be alert and ready to take action if you recognize any of these warning signs. Contact your local pest control experts right away to remove the raccoon and minimize potential damage to your attic.

Raccoon diseases and symptoms

Raccoons are susceptible to many different infectious agents, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Several of these infectious diseases are zoonotic. As a result, veterinarians are faced with the diagnosis and treatment of wildlife, including raccoons. They need to be able to make the correct diagnosis and educate clients on the potential health hazards associated with exposure to raccoons.

Leptospirosis is a prevalent bacterial disease in raccoons caused by several different species of Leptospira.  Trans­mission is thought to take place via urine contamination of water and feed. Antemortem diagnosis is derived from serology and dark field examination of urine. Histopathologic examination and fluorescent antibody testing of the liver and kidney are two postmortem procedures that can help further aid the diagnosis of leptospirosis. Further natural bacterial infections reported in raccoons are listeriosis, tularemia, yersiniosis, and pasteurellosis.

Can raccoons transmit diseases to humans?

Viral diseases of raccoons include rabies, pseudorabies, canine distemper, raccoon parvoviral enteritis, and infectious canine hepatitis. Rabies is a zoonotic disease endemic to raccoon populations in New England and Pennsylvania. Over the last several years, there has been a shift of rabies-infected raccoons westward into the state of Ohio.

Canine distemper virus infection is arguably the most prevalent viral disease in raccoon populations. The clinical signs and histopathologic and gross lesions in raccoons are similar to distemper in dogs. Neurologic symptoms due to distemper virus infection in raccoons are virtually indistinguishable from rabies-induced neurologic disease. Diagnosis is based upon histopathologic lesions in the brain, lung, spleen, and small intestine.

Intranuclear and intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies can be visualized in scores of, including epithelial cells in the respiratory epithelium, and transitional epithelium lining and gastric mucosa urinary bladder and the renal pelvis. Therefore, the best tissues for fluorescent antibody testing and virus isolation of canine distemper virus are the urinary bladder, lung, brain, stomach, small intestine, and kidney.

Parvoviral enteritis in raccoons is attributable to a unique raccoon parvovirus that is most antigenically similar to feline parvovirus. Clinical signs include bloody diarrhea, lethargy, inappetence, and loss of fear of humans. Raccoons do not develop the clinical disease while exposed to canine parvovirus. Diagnosis is based upon histopathologic lesions of necrotizing enteritis and confirmation of the virus by fluorescent antibody testing. The most typical method in which raccoons acquire pseudorabies virus infection is by ingesting virus-infected pig carcasses.

A critical parasitic disease of raccoons is toxoplasmosis. It is a protozoal disease caused by Toxoplasmagondii. Felids are the definitive host for T. gondii, and they excrete potentially infective oocysts in their feces. Toxoplasmosis in raccoons is commonly associated with immunosuppression from canine distemper virus infection. In addition, necrotizing encephalitis and pneumonitis are frequent lesions related to toxoplasmosis.

An additional parasite of importance in raccoons is Baylisascarisprocyonis. It is an intestinal roundworm found in raccoons. Baylisascaris is a well-known cause of ocular and visceral larval migrans and cerebral nematodiasis in humans and domestic and non-domestic animals. Transmission often occurs through the ingestion of infective eggs, which results in aberrant migration in hosts other than raccoons.

Raccoon Prevention

Raccoon prevention is a major factor in protecting your home and family from these critters and their diseases. However, the preventative measures you choose to take on can only be effective if you commit to the follow-through.

Keep raccoons out by eliminating food sources

  • Store food in metal or heavy plastic containers. These tend to be rodent-proof. Especially be sure to store grains, pet food and birdseed properly.
  • Store grass seed in sealed containers and make sure to put away any uneaten pet food.
  • Raccoon-proof your garbage cans with tight-fitting lids. You could even use rubber cords to fasten them down if necessary. Replace damaged garbage cans (cracks or holes.) with new ones.
  • Clear your yard of any food, even fruit, that may fall from trees in your yard.
  • Walk around your home and look for holes (even small ones) around your foundation, eaves and soffits. Fill each hole with steel wool or fill with each hole with caulk, plaster or cement. If a hole can’t be filled, cover it well with sheet metal.

Keep raccoons out by eliminating easy water access

  • Including leaky pipes or runoff.
  • Cover pools effectively.

Trim back tree branches, to keep raccoons off of your roof

Critters love the attic.

Daytime raccoon sightings, such as droppings and chewed holes or wires, are signs of a severe rodent problem. However, setting mouse traps or following DIY rodent extermination may not be enough. They may work for a short while, but they will always come back without professional raccoon control and rodent prevention.
Raccoon control is definitely best left up to professionals to handle. Rats, mice, raccoons, squirrels and opossum are perfectly adapted to many parts of the country.

Rodent prevention and control techniques should be safe for your family and your home.

Raccoon prevention could involve any of the following:

  • Natural Raccoon Control
  • Green, Environmentally Friendly Raccoon Control
  • And No-Kill Options