raccoon in the forest

How to Spot a Raccoon Infestation and What to Do About It

For many homeowners, the worst thing possible is having a rat or cockroach infestation. These pests can spread diseases, and they can find their way into homes using only the smallest holes. They leave droppings all over the home, and let’s face it: They’re disgusting to find face-to-face in your home.

So if you were to find that you actually have a raccoon infestation in your home as opposed to a rat infestation, you may think you’re better off for it, but that’s not quite true. Having a raccoon infestation can be quite serious, and as cute as they may be, raccoons can cause serious damage to your home. While it’s less likely, they can also carry diseases, and if your pet happens to find one, a racoon could harm your pet.

Raccoon infestations can be handled using green pest control, and if taken care of quickly, your home will suffer minimal damage. Here’s what you need to know about raccoons, how to spot an infestation and how green pest control can help you move them back out of your house.

What to know about raccoons

Raccoons may look adorable with their mask-like faces and cute little paws, and when they’re outside, they’re fun to watch. It’s when they come into your home that it becomes a problem.

Raccoons are nocturnal mammals that are known for eating just about anything. They’re omnivores, and in the wild, they’ll eat crawfish, frogs and anything else they can catch in a river as well as plants, fruits and eggs stolen from other nests. Around your neighborhood, you’ve likely seen raccoons poking around trash cans, trying to find their next meal from your scraps.

Raccoons can live just about anywhere. You’ll find them in forests in the northern United States, but surprisingly, you can also find them in tropical areas like Costa Rica. In a way, raccoons are somewhat similar to bears. They like to gorge themselves in the summer and fall months and then spend the winter months asleep in their dens. 

You can usually find raccoon dens in the hollow of a tree or log or any secure burrow. They need warmth and protection to survive the winter. In cities, you might even find them in storm drains and other little burrows. You may also find them in the attic of your home.

Female raccoons will usually give birth in the early summer months. Usually one to seven cubs may be born at once. The cubs will stay with their mother for the first two months and then start coming out with their mother. They will start exploring the outside on their own and eventually leave the den completely and go make their own homes.

In general, raccoons are just like any other living creature. They’re just trying to live, and really most raccoons only live for about three years. But when raccoons get inside your home, they can cause big problems.

5 signs of a raccoon infestation

As mentioned, raccoons look to make their dens in warm places where they can last through the winter. They spend those cold months usually sleeping, so it can be difficult to know whether you’ve got a raccoon infestation until spring. As you’ll note from previous blogs, female wasps can lay dormant all winter in your attic and then wake up and start a colony in the spring. If you don’t go up to your attic frequently, then you might not notice an infestation before it’s too late.

If you think you may have a raccoon infestation, here are five signs to look out for:

  1. The ongoing smell of feces or urine

When raccoons build a den in your attic, they usually won’t go in or out of it very much in the winter. They will eat as much as they can in the late summer and fall and then snooze through most of the winter. That means they’ll do all their, er, business in their new den — your attic.

Overtime, you will start to smell the urine and feces building up in your attic. You will probably smell it in the upper floors of your home and definitely in areas underneath your attic. 


2. Outside damage to your home

Sometimes you can spot an infestation before it really takes hold. You can spot signs of raccoons hanging out around your home, and by doing this, you can try to prevent raccoons from getting inside.

If you think a raccoon is trying to get into your home, you might notice damage to the gutters, shutters, shingles and vents around the outside. This could mean that a raccoon is scouting out your attic and looking for an easy way to get in. Remember, raccoons can catch fish, and they’re very quick and good with their paws. If they find a weak spot near your roof, they might try to exploit it and work their way in.

3. Scratches and scurrying noises at night in your home

Raccoons are most active at night, so you probably won’t hear them moving around much during the day. But at night, it can usually be hard not to hear a raccoon moving around.

You can easily hear them scratching around the attic and sometimes even in the walls if they can get access to them. Though raccoons are pretty small, you might even hear them walking around your attic. If the raccoons are able to get into your home, then you will probably see scratches in odd places.


4. Tree branches connecting to your home

You might be thinking, “How could a racoon even get up to my roof? I don’t have a patio or an easy way for them to get into my attic.” But the fact is, you probably do have an easy way to get up to your roof — just not for you.

Raccoon love to climb, and they’re good at it. They’re small enough and agile, so if you have just a few tree branches dangling over your roof, that will be enough to help them get from the tree to your roof.

5. Pets acting oddly

Sometimes our pets know things long before we do. Dogs, of course, have much better hearing than we do, and some cats are natural-born hunters looking for their next prey.

If you notice your pet acting oddly, it might be because your cat or dog heard a raccoon or even smelled it. Your pet might stare up at the ceiling in a bedroom or pace near a spot where they might hear a raccoon scurrying around in the wall. Your pet might whine or you might have a hard time getting them to leave the room. If you notice these issues with your pet, they might know something that you don’t.

Raccoon infestations can look a little like rat infestations. If you’re not sure what could be living in your home, make sure you contact a green pest control expert sooner rather than later.

What do when you find a raccoon infestation

It’s not always easy to tell if you have raccoons living in your home. Sometimes it’s just luck that you happen to catch one on your property. If you think you might have an infestation, call a green pest control expert and have them take a look. It will put your mind at ease.

There are also some things you can do around your home to make it less hospitable for raccoons and hope they’ll find some other place to make their homes. The first thing to do is trim all trees and bushes that come into contact with your roof. If you have branches touching the roof, trim them, no matter how thin and how little they touch your roof. Raccoons are quick and can get on your roof with only a little bit of help.

Trimmings should be done in the fall when raccoons are looking for places to make their dens. As you’re trimming your trees, you should also check your roof and see if you can find any rotting wood, holes or damage where raccoons could exploit it.

These tips won’t necessarily prevent a raccoon infestation, but they could delay it and stop it from getting out of control. Raccoons look for ease when they want to make their dens. If it’s hard to get in or out of a potential den, raccoons will probably move on and look for something better. If you may your home less hospitable, you may never have an infestation.

What you should definitely not do, however, is try to poison or shoot and kill a raccoon in your home. Poisoning can be dangerous to your family. Your pets could potentially get into it and get sick or even die, and your small children could also ingest some if they don’t know what it is. If a raccoon does eat the poison, then it could die somewhere in your walls and end up rotting there. That will be a cleaning and repair job you won’t want to do. Shooting a raccoon can be just as dangerous. You could hit someone else on accident or damage your home.

All things considered, raccoons are mostly just pests. You just need to get them out of your house, but you don’t need to kill them. What you need is green pest control.

Why green pest control works best for raccoon infestations

At Natran Green Pest Control, we believe in the live capture of animals. We practice capture-and-release practices, and we don’t kill the animals that we capture. We balance the need to get pests out of homes with their wellbeing, and we know how to humanely capture animals and where to release them.

When you call our green pest control experts, they will come out to your home and identify the entrance and exit points. These are places where raccoons — and really any other pest — may be moving in or out of your home. Once these spots are identified, our experts will seal them up and provide you with tips on how to better protect your home. Our green pest control experts have seen all types of homes and infestations, and there’s very little they haven’t seen. They will use their expertise to help you build a plan to better protect your house.

Once it’s been determined that there is a raccoon infestation, our experts will set humane traps with bait in key places around your home. We have a lot of experience catching raccoons, and we know the best places to set traps. The bait is safe to be around pets, so you won’t have to about your furry friends getting sick if they happen to, er, set the traps themselves (hey, it’s happened before). 

It may take some time, but eventually when we catch the raccoon, we will take it from your home and make sure that they are set free in a safe place they can enjoy. Our experts know Houston well, and they’ll make sure the raccoons are in a place where they cannot get into your home again.

Having a raccoon infestation isn’t exactly something to celebrate, but there is a silver lining. All things considered, a raccoon infestation can be less devastating to your home than other pests. Raccoons mostly live alone in their dens. They don’t live together like mice or rats. If you’ve found one, that’s likely the only raccoon in your home.

Of course, a female raccoon might have cubs living with her, but they too can be taken out with their mother. We do our best to take care of all raccoons in one go, and our green pest control experts can help you protect your home against future infestations.

Tell us: Do you think you might have a raccoon infestation? Share your experiences with us in the comments and reach out to use for help in green pest control.

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