Raccoons are medium sized animals similar to the size of a medium sized dog. With a body length of 15 to 30 inches and a weight range of 8-20lbs raccoons vary in size depending on location and diet. Raccoons, sometimes referred to as masked bandits have just that. A black stripe cutting across both eyes bordered by white creating the look of a burglars mask. Raccoons have a hunched over appearance with their rear positioned higher. Raccoons are also able to stand on their back legs in an up right position just as bears stand. Further down the raccoons body is its trademark feature, it’s ringed tail. Mainly a nocturnal animal, raccoons can be observed in the night hours typically where it’s food is sought.
Raccoons are omnivorous animals, meaning they like to eat both plant and animal matter. According to research a raccoons diet consists of approximately 40% invertebrates, 33% plant foods, and 27% vertebrates. Invertebrates being night crawlers and vertebrates being crayfish and mice, as an example. Berries are evident as a main food source for raccoons as raccoon feces is highly concentrated of seeds. Raccoons are amazing predators and also opportunistic feeders. Raccoons can fish in streams for clams, mussels, crayfish, minnows, water snakes, frogs, salamanders and other water dwelling creatures. Raccoons in farmland feed on corn, livestock feed and have even been known to kill live chicken. Raccoons in forest areas kill mice and birds, eat carrion, raid bird nests for eggs and babies and as stated find water ways to hunt. Raccoons in urban areas have become very adapted to the handouts that are usually unintentional. Bird feeders, fruit trees, gardens, garbage cans, pet food left outdoors, park picnic areas and in some cases feral cats have all made their way into an urban raccoons diet.
- Procyon lotor, the scientific name for the raccoon comes from the phrase “washes with hands” or other closely related phrases such as “washer dog”.
- Raccoons are closely related to bears.
- The population of raccoons in suburban and city areas can be higher by as much as 20
times the amount in rural areas.
- Purring, whistling, growling, hissing, screaming and even whining are all parts of a raccoons vocal noises for communication.
- Raccoons have been long sought after as dog like pets, in fact President Coolidge’s wife owned a pet raccoon. Although very intelligent and eager to accept food by hand, raccoons are no good pets becoming aggressive as they mature and destroying homes to make it more suitable to their likings.
- Raccoons have an extreme attraction to shiny objects, when pet raccoons are left to roam they steal shiny objects and stash pile them.
- A raccoons bite has more poundage per square then a pitbull.
Raccoons and Man
Raccoons have been hunted and trapped for their beautiful fur coat as well as for table fare and sport hunting with raccoon hounds or more referred to as coon hounds for centuries. In the south, raccoons as table fare are quite common. To talk of eating raccoons further north and it may not be taken for nothing more then a joke. Raccoon hunting with hounds became the start of a popular heart warming story of a young boy, the unconditional love of his dogs and the proof you really can have anything you focus your heart and mind on, that tale would be Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.
Trapping raccoons fall to winter with coil-spring, long-spring, cage traps, snares and body gripping traps is quite popular. At times raccoons are caught by fox and coyote trappers as raccoons are very curious and investigate. Raccoons have small hands and feet yet are very strong and powerful so raccoon traps must always be strong and anchored properly.
For coil-spring raccoon trapping, typically the #1 1/2 is the perfect size trap for land and water applications. The #1 coil-spring raccoon trap will work as well yet leaves a smaller target area. Other raccoon traps such as the Duke #1 3/4 and the Bridger #1.65 are more modern for raccoon trapping since they boast extra jaw size and holding power for accidental coyote catches.
Trapping raccoons with long-spring traps started with the trusty single spring #1 1/2 long-spring trap that has far more jaw spread then the same number size coil-spring and far more stability. Raccoon trapping with the #11 became increasingly popular as the double springed #1 proved it worth and holding power more and more even holding coyotes and playing an integral part in the otter restoration in Illinois. #2 long-spring raccoon traps are he same as the #1 1/2 yet has 2 springs for more speed and holding power, able to even hold beaver and coyote with ease.
Body gripping traps are very effective in bucket, cubby sets and blind sets in raccoon trails. For raccoon trapping with body gripping traps #160 & #220 are the best sized suited for raccoons and usually the sizes fitting state laws for body grip sizes. Of the two, the #220 is the more frequently used raccoon trap as it has a more inviting opening as well as a significant amount of power for a humane and fast kill on raccoons.
Other traps also exist for raccoon capture and all have their place in having a raccoon trap for all situations. Dog proof traps, poly traps and snares are all great for specific raccoon trapping needs. Even the Canadian made ram power snare is great for raccoon trapping as it allows for very fast dispatch.
Raccoon Damage to Attics
Attic insulation damage from raccoons trampling is the main damage restoration to homes that homeowners insurance companies cover. Attic insulation is finely and lightly blown in as snow falls. Once smashed it’s R or resistance value is destroyed making it useless, causing a large rise in energy bills. Attic insulation damage is caused from raccoon fees and urine as raccoons pick toilet areas to urinate and defecate. Raccoon urine has a very distinctive foul odor that will ruin dry wall and at the very least cause stains. Raccoon feces carries raccoon roundworm eggs, parasitic eggs that when ingested by inhalation or ingestion damage the central nervous system in people and animals. These sticky durable raccoon roundworm eggs can not be killed by anything but fire and can lie dormant for years until ingested. Raccoon roundworm eggs have even caused blindness in children. Unfortunately raccoon feces and urine is also attractive to other raccoons yet removal is not typically covered by homeowners insurance. So once raccoon removal is completed the next raccoon coming along the vacant den can and will try to enter with out the previous raccoon present to defend the territory. Raccoon feces & urine removal is always recommended along with odor removal.
Structural Damage from Raccoons
Structure damage from raccoons is very common. Raccoons chew and gnaw wooden beams and joices not only partially but all the way through. Many times structure damage from raccoons is so bad soffit areas and roofing can not be efficiently done due to nothing to anchor to. When raccoons have destroyed the structure of a home it is imperative that the structure be restored so no collapsing will happen.
When raccoons have found a weak or rotted roof, it only takes minutes for entry to happen. One the raccoon makes entry it is very unlikely it will leave any time soon. Raccoon roof damage can also happen to areas that are not damaged or rotted however it is not as likely. Raccoons tearing though roofs typically happens when birthing is about to occur in the spring months, it is not factual however an opinion that it is a last desperate measure to find a safe birthing place as the numbers of raccoons coming in through the roof are higher in spring.
Drywall Damage from Raccoons
Damages from raccoons to dry wall is typically the result of either raccoon urine and feces or moisture damage from the raccoon entry point allowing the elements to enter. Raccoon feces is usually accumulated in areas opposed to scattered through out the attic. Raccoon urine has a very strong smell, it will stain dry wall with dark coloration and also make it weak from the moisture. Other moisture damage from raccoons is due to the large entry points torn open that allow rain and other outside moisture to weaken drywall and cause mold growth. When moisture damage to dry wall happens from raccoon damages The dry wall must be removed and at times even the supporting 2×4′s must be removed if moisture damage or mold has become an issue. Raccoon damages from entry points are very detrimental to drywall and wood inside a home.
Raccoon Proofing & Exclusion
Raccoon proofing must be done with raccoon proof materials. Any one looking to place wood, sheet metal, flashing, wire mesh or chicken wire as your solution needs to read up a little more on raccoon proofing. As a rule of thumb if you can buy the material at a Home Depot type store it probably will not keep a raccoon out unless your talking about a chimney cap. Our raccoon proofing whether being placed for deck and stoop proofing or a soffit on a roof is always done with STEEL and only steel. If not, with residual smell left behind it is only a matter of time before the area will be torn open again.
Raccoon exclusion for some may seem impossible, after all raccoons can jump, climb, swim, run and chew with a jaw pressure that pushes more pounds per square inch then a pitbull. Raccoons power their way through aluminum soffits, rip their way though roofs shredding shingles and plywood, dig under decks, climb right up down spouts with ease and will even make a 3 foot leap from a tree limb. With that said keeping raccoons off of a roof is pretty tough for a determined raccoon and the only realistic approach is raccoon exclusion. The next step would be raccoon exclusion, which is keeping them out when they want to get in. This is usually done for soffits, attic vents and attic fans. These are the most vulnerable areas on a home for raccoon intrusion. Raccoons will also go for the roof line of a home which can also have raccoon exclusion placed if this is a concern. Raccoons typically chew though roofs in early spring months when birthing occurs however they will also rip a hole into a roof anytime of the year.
Raccoon mothers give birth to 3-6 raccoon babies in the spring after winter breeding. Raccoon mothers seem to tear holes into roofs more when its time to have babies then any other time. The father raccoon is no where to be found when the mother raccoon gives birth as male raccoons will kill the babies. In fact when raccoons are in confined spaces, the smell of a male will make her move her babies and find a new den site in fear of the male raccoon killing her babies. Female raccoons will defend her babies however ironically will kill their own young when confined with them in a raccoon trap. Many people speculate the reasons behind. Raccoon baby removal is typically done to remove babies from behind drywall, out of chimneys, removal from soffits and baby raccoon removal from attics. Raccoon babies begin to walk around 4 weeks and follow the mother learning how to climb and find food. The raccoon babies will stick together though out the winter to share body heat and then will disburse the following spring to start families of their own.
Our Raccoon Removal Service Areas
60188 –Carol Stream
60514 –Clarendon Hills
60515 –Downers Grove
60516 -Downers Grove
|60137 –Glen Ellyn
60139 –Glendale Heights
60523 –Oak Brook
60181 –Villa Park
60185 –West Chicago
60191 –Wood Dale