In Ontario, in late February and early March, you may begin to notice tiny noises and larger bangs coming from your attic. That’ll most likely be a mother raccoon making a nest for her babies in preparation for her litter’s arrival in April/May.
Raccoons usually have a litter of between two and eight kits, and once those little critters are mobile, the family can wreak havoc in your home, causing costly damage to your fixtures and fittings, and causing a real nuisance by disturbing your sleep at night.
How to tell if you have raccoons in your attic
Your attic is the perfect place for a mother raccoon to raise a family. The space is warm, elevated safely out of reach of predators, and there’s plenty of nesting material to be had in the form of your insulation material.
The following signs are a pretty good indication that you have raccoons in your attic:
- Adult raccoons weigh between ten and 60 pounds, so you will definitely hear them moving, thumping, and rustling around as they prepare a nest.
- Damage to siding, soffits, roof shingles, vents, etc., are clear signs of animal entry.
- Baby raccoons are very vocal, chirping, and crying throughout the day and during the night time too.
- The mother raccoon won’t go far from the property while her kits are still dependent on her. So, if you see an adult raccoon foraging in your backyard or raiding your garbage cans, it’s probably a mother with a family to feed.
How long do baby raccoons stay in your attic?
Baby raccoons are totally dependent on their mother for the first three months of their lives, remaining in the nest while mom goes out foraging for food.
At around three months, the kits are able to start exploring by themselves, moving out of the attic to your backyard. However, that doesn’t mean that your troubles are over. Raccoons often stay around once they’ve found somewhere warm and safe, returning to have another litter when the next season comes around.
Another important point to note is that female raccoons will return to their birthplace to have their own litters. And every subsequent year, those females will return again. So, you can see how important it is to get rid of the raccoon family as soon as possible to prevent that cycle from starting.
What to do if you have a raccoon family in your attic
First and foremost, don’t take the DIY route!
Trying to get rid of raccoons by yourself can make the problem go from bad to much, much worse. If you lock the mother raccoon out of the attic while her youngsters are still inside, she will destroy your roof, ripping off shingles and tearing through siding and soffits to get to her babies.
Even worse, if you seal the raccoons in the attic, the whole family will starve to death. That’s not only cruel and unnecessary, but you will then have the odor of decomposing raccoon corpses in your attic, attracting other vermin and pests.
Also, it’s illegal in Ontario to kill, cause stress to, or relocate wild animals more than one kilometer. So, if you can hear activity in your attic, you must always call a firm of professional wildlife removal specialists to remove the raccoon family humanely. Expert wildlife removal technicians will have the necessary licenses and permits to remain within the law, saving you a lot of expense and hassle in the long run.
Raccoons seek out somewhere safe, comfortable, and warm where they can raise their family. Unfortunately, that place can be your attic, outbuildings, garage, or underneath your decking. Although raccoons will eventually vacate your property once the kits are independent, females will return year after year to raise families of their own.
DIY methods of raccoon removal are seldom effective, and you could even be breaking the law. So, if you hear sounds in your attic or notice raccoon activity around your property, always call a firm of raccoon removal Hamilton specialists to deal with the problem and break the cycle.