06.03.2008 - Here are a couple of classic raccoon entry points. This house has wooden soffits. Oftentimes, homes such as these have vent holes in the soffits.
These vent holes are a standard size and shape, about a food long by four inches wide, with round ends. This hole may not look very large, but animals can squeeze through
very small areas. While it's easy to imagine a rat or squirrel running through these types of holes - and they do - a full sized raccoon can also easily slide through
these openings. Yes, a big fat raccoon.
In the above photos you can see a lot of muddy footprints on the wall below these vents. That's classic raccoon sign. Raccoons often forage near water and have muddy feet, and they don't bother to wipe them before coming home. In the photos on the right, the raccoon easily climbed up the downspout, or climbed onto the roof from a nearby tree and used the downspout for support. In the photo to the right, the raccoon was able to swing over the edge of the roof and the screen to the right, and grab onto the edge of the hole and get in. In the process, it tore the hole up a bit, into a larger hole. Raccoons are very strong, and they are amazing climbers.
Why are these holes wide open, you might ask? Well, they originally had vent covers. If you go to a home supply store such as Lowe's or Home Depot, you'll see them for sale, in the standard shape and size. This home had them installed. The problem is that they attach with little plastic clips, and a raccoon has no problem ripping these vent covers out in order to get into the attic.
Raccoons like to live in attics for safety, or just to have a warm, dry place to live. I trapped and removed the raccoon living in this attic, and after I was sure that there was no more wildlife living inside, I fixed these entry holes. However, I didn't buy the cheap plastic snap-in kind. I bought these metal vents, which I bolted into the soffit. These are much sturdier. If you have a problem with wildlife, I often recommend that these types of vents are installed across the entire house in place of the cheap plastic vents.
Remember, the most important step in a total wildlife control solution is to stop the source of the problem - if you have wild critters in your attic or home, the only way to permanently solve the problem is to close all the entry points! This is a special skill, and it requires extensive knowledge of both architecture and animal behavior. Being a skilled repairman also helps. All repairs should be done in such a way that keeps animals out for good - this often means sealing with steel, and sealing openings so that they are airtight, with no trace of airflow for animals to detect. Remember, rodents can gnaw through almost anything, and raccoons can tear through almost anything. While it's important to trap and remove animals, and clean up the waste they leave behind, the most important step in solving the critter problem and in keeping animals out forever is to identify and repair every last critter access point into the building. Without this crucial step, the job isn't complete.
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Raccoons are not the easiest creatures to deal with. Raccoons can enter various parts of the house especially the attic through holes that lead right into it. The evidence of their presence is not that difficult to spot since they are pretty noisy animals and you can hear them scratching and scampering easily. Not only this but if they are in your attic, chances are that they have started nesting and even the nesting material can be spotted. Raccoons have muddy feet and leave prints of these wherever they go and the same can be spotted when they climb through holes that lead into the attic. Also, when they climb into the holes, the majority of the time that hole is extended and enlarged since the edge of it is used to hold on for support and it starts to chip away and form a bigger hole.
Now, the question is how do these raccoons make their way into the attic. The answer is through holes. A standard vent that is a foot in length and at least 4 inches in width is usually used to access the attic. A vent of this size can accommodate raccoons entering though it and then later into the attic. If you have ever wondered how these raccoons surpassed these vents, the answer is by ripping the covers of the vent. Vents are clipped and deemed secure, however, in reality, they can easily be brought down if enough force is applied. There are a few clips attached as a method of the standard procedure but the truth is that they are not very secure. Raccoons can easily get past these without any issue and before you know it, all the clips will be unhinged.
Raccoons, like all other animals, look for a safe place to stay where no predators can harm them. They prefer a place that is not wet and provides a nice, cozy environment for them to take shelter in and this is the reason why hiding in the attic is often preferred by raccoons. It is a warm place where there is very little human intrusion. However, it is understandable that you might want to get rid of raccoons and make sure they do not enter your attic again. In such a case, there are a few solutions you can employ to get the best and safest outcome.
The first step involves the removal of all raccoons. Now, you can either do it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. The next and most important step is to make sure that raccoons or any other animal cannot enter again. You can do this by finding all their entry holes by examining your attic thoroughly and seeing if there is any passageway through which they can gain access. Next, you need to seal these entry points permanently. You can use metal vents and use sturdier clips to avoid raccoons ripping through it. At the same time, seal all openings so that there is no way for them to enter.