Raccoon Control in New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, Connecticut, and Delaware
What Do Raccoons Look Like?
Size: Adult raccoons measure 18 to 28 inches (457.2-711.2mm) in length, including the tail. The pests usually weigh between 5 and 35 pounds (2.27-15.88kg), with males traditionally growing heavier than females.
Color: The bodies of raccoons are various shades of grey and may carry tints of yellow or brown. The underbelly of the pest tends to appear closer to white in color, and most adults possess distinguishing black markings on their faces and tails. In special cases, raccoons may be albino, solid black, or rufous, which is a reddish-brown.
Characteristics: Perhaps their most well-known characteristic, adult raccoons look as though they have a black mask over their eyes, which is made more prominent by the white markings on the snout and above the mask. Additionally, raccoon tails appear to be striped with alternating light and dark rings of fur.
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- Species: Given their special place in popular culture, raccoons are often considered curious and mischievous mammals. However, despite featuring prominently in popular cartoons and movies geared toward children, the animals should not be taken lightly.
- Dangers: Social and aggressive when cornered, raccoons pose many problems to people and house pets. With sharp nails and long, slender feet, the pest is a skilled scavenger and climber and easily transmits diseases through scratches and bites.
What Do Raccoons Eat?
Raccoons are omnivores and stick to a balanced diet of plants, insects, and small mammals.
Other food sources include:
- Beetle larvae
- Freshwater mussels
- Pet food
Additionally, raccoons are notorious for scavenging trash and compost. Gardens, especially ones containing sweetcorn, are another prime target for the pests. Lastly, raccoons are known to eat the flesh of dead animals.
Raccoon mating season starts in late winter and stretches to the late spring months. Females will mate with several males before the season is over.
As raccoons prefer to dwell in dens and similar spaces, they often settle in rock crevices, tree cavities, caves, farm buildings, storm sewers, hollow logs, and chimneys to give birth and raise the young.
An average raccoon litter produces three to five offspring, though the mammal is capable of having up to seven cubs at a time. The gestation period lasts about 63 days, and it takes another 2 to 4 months to wean the cubs.
Raccoons have the capacity to live for 17 years, though few live past six years of age due to the many dangers and potential problems encountered in the wild.
- Yard Damage: Overturned turf as a result of grubbing
- Sightings: The sighting of an adult raccoon
- Odor: Unpleasant odors produced by urine and feces
- Property Damage: Damage to shingles, rooftop ventilators, and/or attic insulation
Problems Caused by Raccoons
Raccoons pose threats to the health and well-being of humans and household pets, as well as gardens and lawns. The pests are known vectors of several diseases transferrable to humans.
While rabies serves as the most notable and common threat raccoons pose to human health, the animals also vector leptospirosis, Chagas disease, and tularemia. Additionally, raccoons are often infested with ticks and fleas, which can be transferred to pets.
Attracting Other Pests
The existence of raccoon excrement in the home attracts various other pests, such as insects and the like.
Raccoons also scavenge gardens and lawns for food, which proves aesthetically displeasing and costly. To get into attics, chimneys, and other den-like areas of homes, raccoons tend to cause structural damage by shredding insulation, prying off singles and fascia boards, and breaking vent covers and windows.
Signs of Infestation
- Sighting: The most common sign of infestation is the sighting of an adult raccoon. As the pest is nocturnal, human encounters are typically rare.
- Damage: Physical damage done to the siding, attics, and landscaping of homes may also signify a raccoon infestation.
- Trash: The disruption of trash cans usually indicates the presence of the pest.
- Odor: Raccoon urine often stains ceilings and gives off an objectionable odor.
Secure Trash Cans
Mid-Atlantic homeowners may limit raccoon food sources by making sure all trash receptacles have secure lids. To prevent the containers from tipping over, residents should consider binding trash cans to posts with wire or cords.
Like most pests, invading raccoons are looking for areas that provide shelter, food, and water. Therefore, limiting access to the basic necessities effectively prevents the pests from settling in homes.
- Limit Food & Shelter: Bringing in any outdoor pet food and water and purchasing special fences for gardens also deters raccoons from hanging around the house. To limit options for shelter, homeowners should consider eliminating tree branches that hang over roofs.
- Landscaping: Thinning overgrown shrubs, removing woodpiles, and fixing holes which lead under porch areas also reduce the chances of raccoon infestation.
- Exclusion: Covering chimneys with fire code-appropriate caps remains an effective way of keeping raccoons from nesting.
Tips for Removal from Home
Call the Professionals
Raccoons are easily frightened and may quickly become aggressive when approached by humans. Given the threats the pests pose to human health, attempting to remove raccoons from the home without professional assistance is inadvisable.
Methods of home removal include live-trapping and exclusion. Typically, these methods require special certifications or licenses.
As a result, homeowners should refrain from removing or attempting to remove raccoons without the help of a pest control professional.
Getting rid of raccoons is a technique best left to the experts: these tenacious pests can be persistent, and cause serious headaches when they set up camp at your home.
They can also transmit rabies, so the right approach to the problem is essential.
Expert Raccoon Removal Techniques
Much in vertebrate control is about knowing and understanding breeding cycles.
For raccoons, exclusion is a key element in solving the problem, but a nesting mother can create tremendous damage attempting to get back in if separated from her nest.
Western uses insight on raccoon biology and behavior to approach raccoon control humanely and effectively.
- Identifying raccoon entry points: First things first, your technician uncovers how raccoons are getting in
- Raccoon removal: We then take a safe, ethical approach to removing them
- Keeping raccoons out: Finally, your technician will suggest repairs and exclusion techniques to prevent future problems
In the past, raccoons were considered to be more of a suburban problem, but urban raccoon removal calls are on the upswing.
Raccoons will go wherever they find food and shelter, and the cities offer both in abundance. If you’re having problems with raccoons in your home, contact Western for expert raccoon removal services.
Learn more about Western’s comprehensive Home Pest Control Plans.
Call for service: (877) 250-3857