Raccoons – Detection, Treatment, & Trapping
Categories: Critters & Pests
San Antonio is blessed with a lot of nature, and that includes raccoons. Raccoons are interesting little critters. They are generally pictures as nature’s little bandits since they wear that Lone Ranger mask. They also have a ringed tail that kinda reminds me of prison stripes. When it comes to mischief, raccoons can be one of the hardest critters to deal with.
RACCOONS, WHO ARE THEY?
To understand the problem, it helps to understand just who raccoons are. Raccoons are pervasive in our culture. From Davy Crocket’s coon skin cap to cute cartoon characters, they are everywhere. How did they get that way though? Mostly, it’s due to the behaviors that make them really tough pests to treat.
Raccoons are nocturnal which means they sleep during the day and are busy at night. In fact, they usually don’t come out during the day unless they are either ill or very very hungry. However, it’s incredibly dangerous for them. They are pretty low on the food chain since they are primarily scavengers.
In nature, they look for food like grubs so they have a lot of skill when it comes to scrounging. During the summer they eat insects and frogs. Come winter, they revert to eating things like plants and fruits. In urban settings like San Antonio, they are naturally attracted to trash cans and other readily available food sources like pet food containers and even bird feeders.
Easy fix: put a cinder block on top of your garbage cans. That will keep raccoons from getting into your garbage or pet food containers. There are also many different manners of straps or giant rubber bands as well as locks but a cinder block usually does the trick. It’s also cheap to free. If you don’t live in San Antonio and have your pick of trash cans, there are many “locking” trash cans on the market.
Squirrel proof bird feeders are also usually raccoon proof as well. So that’s an easy fix. If you feed feral cats or maybe feed your dogs outside, don’t leave the food out overnight otherwise you’re begging to also be feeding raccoons.
So, just where do those raccoons come from? They live in trees, usually in hollows. So, if you have a really big old tree, you may want to check if you have some freeloaders living there. They also love living in logs so check that awesome wood pile you have for your fireplace. Mind you, they are more likely to be living under a porch or a crawl space if your house has one. If those aren’t available, they have been known to find a safe place in your attic.
Easy fix: Close off your crawlspace. Ditto for your attic. They usually get through holes in the soffit or other vents that are left open. Simply covering them with chicken wire can usually be enough to discourage them.
So, how do you know you have raccoons? Raccoons usually leave a fair amount of evidence behind. They are known to tump over trash cans if they aren’t weighted down. They also leave a ton of trash behind including half eaten pieces of food strewn about. This may also be the sign of having teenagers but those are usually found inside the house. We can not treat infestations of teenagers, sorry. Raccoons are not always the most svelte of creatures so if they are getting into a crawlspace or a hole in your attic, it’s usually a pretty decent sized hole. Raccoons also just love your chimney. Ideally, you have a proper vent and spark arrestor installed at the top of your chimney. If you don’t, you should get one.
HARD LESSONS AND FIRE HAZARDS
Which brings us to the other hard lesson learned reminder: check your chimney before you start a fire. Raccoons build nests. They may have built a nest inside your chimney. So, if you start a fire without having checked your chimney first, you may be starting a much larger fire than you anticipated.
Also, if the raccoons are in the chimney at the time, they may accidentally drop down into the fireplace in their eagerness to escape the heat. It has been known to happen and if it does, you have a very serious, potentially life threatening problem on your hands. Having a licensed and bonded chimney sweep check your fireplace at the beginning of winter is a really good idea anyway.
Raccoons are actually not disease carriers for the most part. However, they have been known to carry rabies like skunks and bats. This alone is a good reason to control your raccoon population.
HOW DO YOU GET RID OF THEM
Raccoons are actually pretty easy to get rid of. If you simply follow our tips for keeping them from getting food and make it hard for them to nest, they go away. However, if they are a real problem for you, then getting a pro like Jitterbug Pest Service to live trap them is a good idea. Instead of using poisonous baits, we recommend live trapping where they can be relocated somewhere away from your house.
If you haven’t ever trapped animals, now isn’t the time to start. Leave that to the professionals please. Give us a call today at 210-653-9700 and we’ll help secure you home from raccoons. Sorry, but you’ll have to secure your house from teenagers yourself.