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Help! There’s a raccoon in my attic!


By B J A Jones

A radio or fan placed near the nesting areas of raccoons can help homeowners prevent these unwanted guests from settling down in your attic or garage. This is one of tips representatives of the the Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuse Centre provided to people who attended an information session this spring called Help! There’s a raccoon in my attic. The prime nesting season for raccoons is from April to June. A female raccoon will have an average litter of five or six offspring during this time. During this period, the Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre can get anything up to 10 calls per day from concerned homeowners looking for advice. Raccoons are creatures of habit and don’t tend to wander more than a kilometre while looking for nursery accommodation.These masked animals like to make their dens in chimneys, garages, under and inside sheds, attics, porches and under decks. If they’ve found a welcoming spot in one year, there’s a very good chance they’ll return to make use of it again. They’ll generally have more than one nesting site too – most have two or three to pick from and will move from one to another as they wish or as circumstances change. Alicia Irwin, co-ordinator of the Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre, says there are many simple, non-aggressive steps people can take to reduce a raccoon problem. These include placing a fan or a radio close to the nesting space – wildlife creatures don’t like noise and will try to avoid it. Another good tip is to soak rags in bleach and hang them in the vicinity of the nest – the strong smell is another thing these guys really dislike and the chances are good they’ll pack up and move on. Some folks can (with the best will in the world) make the mistake of trapping, transporting and then releasing a raccoon family in the bush. While it may seem like a good idea, it’s not. A female raccoon will often abandon her young after such a move and the cubs will die. Irwin says a bit of forward thinking goes a long way to avoid having problems in the first place. In the fall, it’s a very good idea to inspect buildings and seal off any possible entry points. In the spring, house-hunting raccoons will look elsewhere for easier, more accessible properties.   This article appeared in the summer 2015 issue.

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