How to Tell If a Raccoon Has Babies

If you hear loud thumping sounds coming from your attic in the early spring, it’s likely that you have a mother raccoon living there. Raccoons are highly intelligent, and with their dexterous hand-like paws and strength, they’re able to gain entry to pretty much any attic, no matter how secure you think you’ve made it.

Unfortunately, the security, peace, and warmth of your attic make the perfect den for a mother raccoon who is looking for somewhere safe to raise her family. Although it is possible to eject a solitary animal from your roof space, it can be extremely difficult to get rid of mom once her babies have arrived. Call us for a professional raccoon baby removal in Hamilton: 647-977-5890

However, armed with some knowledge about baby raccoon season, you can prevent the masked menace from turning your roof space into a nursery for her brood before the happy event has happened.

Baby raccoon season

Raccoon gestation lasts for about nine weeks after mating, and in Hamilton, most raccoons give birth in late February to early March.

In the week or two leading up to the kits’ arrival, the mother raccoon will search for a den. Favorite denning locations include underneath decks and porches and inside chimneys, attics, sheds, and garages where the youngsters can be hidden safely away from predators until they are independent.

Single parents

Male raccoons take no part in raising their family. Once the raccoons have mated, the male goes on his way, leaving the female to raise the kits alone.

So, if you hear activity in your attic or see a solitary, mature raccoon out foraging on your property at night during February or March, it’s most likely that the animal is a pregnant female.

How to tell if a raccoon has babies

When a raccoon has babies, there are some distinctive signs to look out for:

  1. Often, the first indication that a raccoon has given birth in your attic is the constant crying, chattering, and squealing sounds that the babies make, almost as soon as they’re born. Very young raccoon babies make very distinctive sounds, which you can listen to
  2. At six weeks of age, the kits are mobile and will begin to move around the den site. During this time, most homeowners are driven crazy by the racket made by the raccoon family, especially during the night when the creatures are most active. The scratching and heavy thumping sounds made by raccoons are easily distinguishable from those made by squirrels, rats, and mice, which are much lighter and less unobtrusive.
  3. At around eight to 12 weeks, the kits are mature enough to accompany their mother on foraging trips around your backyard. So, if you see a group of raccoons out and about together, it’s most likely a female with her babies.
  4. If you can get a look at the raccoon close up without trapping her, and you see that her nipples are protruding, that’s a sure sign that the animal is a nursing mother with a litter of kits to feed.

Although male juvenile raccoons usually leave their mother during the fall, females often stay with her until the following spring. Note that, once a good denning site has been found, raccoons will often use that same area every year to raise a family.

Final thoughts

If you think that you have a raccoon or a family of raccoons in your attic or elsewhere on your property, don’t be tempted to take the DIY route to get rid of them.

In Ontario, it’s illegal to trap, kill, stress, or transport wildlife for one kilometer. Also, raccoons can be highly aggressive when cornered or threatened, especially if they have babies to protect. So, our recommended course of action for you to take is to contact a firm of licensed wildlife removal specialists to solve the problem for you.

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