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Raccoon in the Attic

Raccoons are known mischief makers, between their masked bandit appearance and their ability to make big messes of our garbage cans. They can be the most nuisance, however, if they find a way into your attic. It’s not always easy to know right away whether the sounds or movements you are detecting are that of a raccoon or another critter.  

Conducting an inspection of your home yourself in order to determine whether a wild animal has made your house their home, is relatively straightforward. Read on to learn about how to inspect your home for wildlife, what to do if you find live animals, and how they commonly enter your home so you can prevent them from taking up residence in the future.  

How Do I Inspect My Home for Animals? 


Examine your home for signs of structural damage that may have been caused by raccoons or other animals as they enter the attic. Raccoons are known for shredding wallpaper, and removing insulation that surrounds any pipes, the roof, and vent ducts to use as bedding material. This type of damage is typically easy to spot and is a good indication that an animal is present in the area. 

Raccoon Sighting 

This may seem obvious, but sighting the animal within your attic is the most surefire way to confirm the presence of a raccoon (or other critter) in your home.  

Nocturnal Sounds & Movements 

Raccoons are naturally nocturnal animals, which means they tend to sleep all day and be most active at night. Pay attention to any strange or unfamiliar noises in your home at night, especially ones that might be coming from the roof or attic. Raccoons typically make rustling and scurrying noises. They also tend to communicate with each other with a variety of sounds and can be highly vocal. Baby raccoons tend to “mew” like a kitten and also make whining noises. The presence of any of these sounds is a good sign that a raccoon has made a home in your attic.  

Fecal Droppings 

One of the other ways to determine the presence of raccoons or other critters is to examine the area thoroughly for any fecal matter. If you do find feces, make sure you don’t come into contact as they can carry viruses and infections. Raccoon feces is mostly tubular in shape and can produce a pungent odor.  

Garbage Remnants 

Examine the area for any garbage debris such as food wrappers, or other food remnants as this can be a good sign that a raccoon has taken up residence in your home.  

How Do Raccoons Enter My Home?

Raccoons are incredibly resourceful animals and they can make a home in just about anywhere within your home.  

Attic – The attic is one of the most commonly seen places for raccoons to make a home. They typically enter through a window, vent, or any small cracks that may exist along the framework. Raccoons have long and strong front nails which makes them excellent climbers.  

Chimneys – Chimneys are great avenues for wildlife to easily enter your home. Chimneys offer protective shelter and darkness once they reach the top of the damper.  

Roof Vents – In order to ensure proper ventilation, all houses are equipped with roof vents which can often be used as an open door to raccoons, even the ones with aluminum or plastic covers. On colder nights, the warm air from the vents often attracts raccoons to the area.  

Pet Doors – Raccoons can be quite fearless when they smell food, and there isn’t much that can do to stop them from attempting to gain access. Pet doors can make it very easy for raccoons to enter your home, and once inside, raccoons will cause mischief and destruction as they build their dens and search for food. 

Nearby Trees – In more urban areas, taller trees can become an oasis for a family of raccoons. Trees provide raccoons and other animals with essential resources such as shade, shelter, and a place to stalk their prey. Raccoons will also often use trees that are close to a house in order to gain access to the interior of your home. 

Open Windows and Framing – It is important to ensure that your windows and casings are always secured and closed, especially at night. A raccoon simply needs to track the smell of food through an opened window in order to plan to gain entry. 

What Do I Do if I Find a Raccoon in my Attic?

If you happen to find an animal in your home or have confirmed its presence through other means, it is important to proceed cautiously. In order to effectively remove the animal, you should contact a reputable wildlife removal service, and ensure that they use humane tactics. You should never try to remove a wild animal yourself, as it can carry rabies and other diseases that could seriously harm you or your family.  

If you want to learn more about what to do when you have a wild animal in your home or to receive your free quote, contact us at Building Insights today!  

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