Raccoon presence in Ontario has increased relative to previous years. There is approximately 100 to 150 raccoons per square kilometer in Toronto. Though raccoons are nocturnal that doesn’t necessarily make them strictly present at night. They may be present during the day for other reasons like hunger, health, or diseases like distemperment etc. Raccoons prefer dark areas environmentally for shelter, which is why they are occasionally found in people’s window wells. They are also found under decks. This is not however their main area for shelter, almost every raccoon has three to five different dwelling sites nearby.
The most common area raccoons target is the attic of your home. Attics are dark, warm and comfortable. Your insulation makes the perfect shelter and breeding site for generations of future raccoons in the neighborhood. The maturing period for raccoon babies to become mobile is roughly 3 weeks to a month. During this time they will be very vocal and will sound like birds chirping. The removal for baby raccoons is often difficult and time consuming. This can sometimes leave no other choice than to cut drywall and remove them physically from within the walls. So it is quite important to wildlife proof your home to prevent raccoon entry into your attic in the first place.
Raccoons have babies once a year, in the month of March you can start seeing and hearing their babies chirp for the mother to bring them food and warmth. Because of their tiny size and inadequate fur development at their age, they cannot retain heat as well as a fully matured raccoon. Often times they will die because their bodies can’t regulate heat.
The following tips may help you avoid raccoons in your property. This is a process of eliminating living space and food to repel raccoon interest.
There is no absolute way to fully avoid having raccoons in your property. To reduce your chances to shelter them, there are a few things you can follow to help. First do not leave garbage with any form of food inside of it outdoors. Raccoons have an amazing precision for food via smell. Garbage bags which are left outdoors at night, will most likely be torn up by the morning by raccoons.
Strive to live hoard free. If your backyard is filled with objects that you’ve kept from previous homes laying around, try to remove them. Or place your belongings stacked up without gaps and spacing. Plywood or objects that provide shade and are leaned against fences are a great source of shelter for raccoons and other wildlife.
Interlock your deck / shed. We highly recommend placing heavy and sturdy objects around the perimeter to discourage digging up of your soil.
Basement window wells are also a good shelter area for raccoons. In the months of March-April we find an increased amount of raccoon mothers and babies sheltering in window wells. If you have a window well, install and secure a barrier on top of your window well. You may have a handyman do it, or do it yourself if you’re handy.
Swimming pools are a great source of water for wildlife. There isn’t much that can be done in this case. You may want to make sure your cover is secured tightly, but that may not be enough to discourage raccoons. If you are providing no other source of shelter, raccoons may just drop by and leave once they have had their fill of water.
Things to do / not to do:
Don’t feed wildlife.
Harvest your fruits as soon as they ripen.
Clean your barbecue after each use.
Store your garbage indoors until collection day appropriate to your neighborhood.
Always keep your garage doors closed, raccoons love an open garage storage with lots of shelter.
Keep pet food away from pet door, or lock pet door if possible at night.
Consider wildlife proofing your chimney cap, septic pipe(s), ventilation caps, and vulnerable roof areas.
Consider Wildlife proofing your home. Raccoons love your soffit, vents, and roof pipes. Corners of your roof where your soffit meets shingles are the easiest entry points. Raccoons will sit in tight corners of the roof and use their powerful legs to push up into your soffit, bending, breaking, and dislocating it. This is a great entry point and very common. For these problems we seal the area with a carbon steel mesh screening, essentially making it wildlife proof.
Roof vents are the second most common entry point. We find that raccoons pop them open with ease, and enter into your attic. You may wake up one day to find that you’re vent cap is laying in your front lawn. And you may soon start hearing a ruckus on your ceiling. If that is the case, you may be a victim of an intelligent raccoon. The process is similar here, we will install a box shaped screening that will fit directly on top of your vent, and secure it properly and make sure there is no leakage into your roof. If you already have a raccoon in your attic we will attach a one way door to humanely remove your problem within just a few days. We will return later to remove the door, and seal the mesh and effectively solving your problem.
Roof pipes which belong to your bathrooms, may seem like an impossible entry point but they aren’t. Roof pipe problems usually starts with squirrels chewing the plastic covering. Because the plywood isn’t cut perfectly for the pipe placement, it provides gaps which squirrels and raccoons can chew and claw at to widen the area for entry. The process of removal is no different. We will install the appropriate one-way door, and if possible repair the area on the next visit.