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Keep Your Home Raccoon Free

The word "raccoon" was adopted from a native Powahatan word meaning "animal that scratches with its hands." If you've ever had the pleasure (or maybe the displeasure) of getting up close and personal with one of these guys, you'll see that they really do have hands, with ten little fingers that look almost like a primate's.

Those ten little fingers sure are great at ripping open garbage bags.

In our last blog post, we shared all about skunks, a common critter that wreaks stinky havoc on our suburbs and cities. This post will focus on another increasingly bold breed: the raccoon.

If you live in the Philadelphia area, you may remember the Great Raccoon Incident of last summer, when a hoard of raccoons took over the 1400 block of North Hobart in West Philly. In fact, the incident was not isolated. Throughout Philadelphia and the country in general, raccoon populations appear to be rising -- and the masked marauders seem to be only growing in fearlessness.

Here's what you need to know to keep your home protected from raccoons.

How to Inspect Your Home for Raccoons

Sometimes, raccoons themselves are proof of raccoons: You come across one in the middle of the night as you're peering out your back door, investigating the crazy scratching sounds you heard near your garbage cans.

Other times, a raccoon invasion can be more subtle. Signs you have raccoons on your property are:

  • Damage to the lawn and/or landscaping
  • Droppings
  • Tracks
  • Overturned garbage cans
  • Noisy movement on the roof or in the attic

Keep Food Sources to a Minimum

If you suspect or have confirmed that you have raccoons on the premises, the first thing you'll want to do is cut off their food supply to discourage them from hanging around. Raccoons eat both plants – seeds, fruits, berries, acorns, nuts, and grains – and animals like crawfish, snails, insects, frogs, and mice. But they're mostly happy chowing down on the leftover Chinese food in your garbage.

Here are some ways to eliminate food sources in the areas around your home:

  • Don't let trash accumulate outside of garbage cans.
  • Make sure your cans have tight-fitting lids, or consider using bungee cords to keep the lids in place.
  • Never leave pet food outside! It's not cats you're feeding!
  • Cover compost piles.
  • Take down bird feeders near the home.
  • If there are fruit trees on your property, make sure to pick up any fallen fruit.

Block Water Supplies

In addition to cutting off food supplies, you'll want to make sure there aren't any water sources available to your furry invaders. You can do this by:

  • Using wire mesh to cover any decorative water ponds or small fishponds
  • Ensuring that downspouts direct water away from the house so water doesn't collect
  • Keeping your pool covered at night, if practical

Exclusion Services for Raccoon Infestations

Of course, the most surefire way to keep raccoons out of your home is to have a professional perform exclusion services on your property. Exclusion might involve sealing crawl spaces, gable ends, eaves, areas under decks, and other potential entry points. It also entails making sure vents are covered in heavy-duty, animal-proof material. It may even mean cutting trees away from the roof of the home to prevent animals from gaining access!

(The experts at AAA Pest & Wildlife are experienced in effective exclusion and repairs. Learn about our services.)

Thanks for tuning in to our latest creature feature! If you want to know more about some of the wildlife we deal with, read our post about bats!

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