How Are Raccoons Getting Into My House

04.13.2010 - Raccoons love to live in attics - for the warmth, shelter, and as a safe haven in which to raise a litter of baby raccoons. But how do they find their way into the attic in the first place? Usually, they just rip part of the house open! But it's not at random. Like any animal, they'll take the path of least resistance. So they'll usually take advantage of an area that's already a bit open, or easy to tear open. In the case of the above photo, one of my readers sent me an email, with this great photograph attached, showing a raccoon who has torn a hole in the roof, at the end, near the gutter, in order to get into the house and attic. It looks to me like there was metal flashing around the edge of the roof, but it was missing in this area, and the raccoon was able to pry away the wood and rip up the shingles in order to get in. Who knows, it might have been the raccoon that tore away the metal flashing, but not necessarily. Maybe this area of the roof was damaged by a branch, who knows. Regardless, when a raccoon wants to get into a house, it usually has no problem ripping its way in. These are very strong animals with nimble hands.

I've found that the most common area raccoons use to gain entry into an attic is the area where a soffit meets up against the roof. But raccoons will also take advantage of gable vents, or even just rip right through the shingles and into the roof, like in this case. Below is the email that accompanied this photo. Usual sort of stuff, with, unfortunately, a bad wildlife trapper. I do it right - I go into the attic and remove the baby raccoons, and trap the mom, then fix the entry hole shut and clean the attic, and the whole job is complete in a day.

Hi David,

I'm currently working with a local professional to get Raccoons out of my attic. However, this whole thing is really stressing me out!

Currently, he has a large cage/trap on the roof over the hole we think is the Raccoon's front door. It has now been two night and no raccoon. I can hear it in the attic occasionally.

I probably shouldn't have read your site because the idea of it falling through my ceiling into my house petrified me. I haven't slept well in 5 days! I was hoping this really couldn't happen and then I read on your site that it can! Terrifying! I was glad to learn that my home insurance company might cover the damage. I'll be calling them ASAP.

Anyway, my raccoon professional is a little odd in nature and not as attentive as I'd like (our daughters know each other, which is why I picked him)... but what can I do to get him to expedite this removal. The idea of the raccoon dying in my attic or this going on for three weeks is enough to make me want to move out until it's over (not really an option). I also don't want the trap over the hole to cause the raccoon to try to burrow into my house or die in my attic (and I'm not sure if the "pro" cares about this).

Please, if you can, put my mind at ease and offer some advice... I've already paid the guy $300...

Thanks in advance,
Holbrook, NY

ps. attached is a photo I took of "our" raccoon. Cute, but not when it's in my attic!

For more raccoon removal info, or to hire a trapper in your town, visit How To Get Rid of Raccoons.

For more of my raccoon stories from the field, click for my full Raccoon Blog.

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