How to Evict a Raccoon from Your Attic (Maybe)

Please note we are in no way experts on this subject. There are however some links at the end of the post with more professional advice.

Over the weekend we learned we have an unexpected house guest (or possibly guests).

source

Yep, that’s right. A raccoon. Considering the season, it’s most likely a mother raccoon and her babies.

A couple of weeks ago I told Robert (and Twitter) that it sounded like something large scurried across the dining room. Since we didn’t hear the noise again, we (foolishly) thought that maybe it was on the roof and not actually in the attic. Later, a neighbor told us they saw a raccoon on our roof, and we felt a bit better.

Haha, suckers! (source)

A few days later the neighbor told us they saw a large raccoon climbing into our roof, and yesterday Robert and I heard it while standing in the guest room.

Crap.

We have bad luck when it comes to critters. Really bad luck. Cue furious Googling for humane ways to evict a raccoon family from an attic.

Supplies:

By all accounts, raccoons are strong, and can cause surprising amounts of damage. They can pretty much rip through anything, so while we will be boxing the soffits in with soffit material soon, we opted for a lower cost combination of tactics for now, and when we’re sure they’re gone we’ll completely enclose the eaves.

First, we checked all our soffits for holes, and counted how many there were total (33 triangular soffits, and 19-20 rectangular openings). Then we went to Lowe’s to access our options. We decided to go with a product that is sold as a rain gutter covering. It’s vinyl mesh with a screen backing, made by Amerimax. At $2.10 for a 6″ by 36″ strip, the price was right, too.

We got home and got to work. Robert broke out the air compressor and pneumatic stapler while I started cutting the mesh to length. For our soffits the best fit was about 12 inches of mesh, or roughly one third of the strip. I also cut off the “snap in” part meant to hold it onto a rain gutter so that it laid flush to the wall.

You can see below that our eaves need some serious repainting up close it’s not the prettiest, but it should do the job. Fortunately from the ground you can’t tell that the edges don’t meet the joists perfectly.

Since our soffit openings are triangular, Robert did his best to line the middle of the two panels up with the point of the triangle. Before stapling the mesh down, Robert sprayed Critter Ridder into the opening. It gets mixed reviews, but for $17 it was worth a try. Just a few squirts in places where the previous screen (most of which was installed from the inside of the wall, possibly when the house was built) was intact, and liberally in the areas where we knew the raccoons entered/nested close by. Spray, staple, repeat.

Also, try not to step off the ladder and twist your ankle. (No, we don’t know anyone who did that, why do you ask?)

Speaking of the raccoons entering/exiting, it’s best to leave the most popular opening uncovered until you no longer hear the raccoon(s). We may also follow another bit of advice we read and shove some wadded up newspaper in place to help gauge if they’re still coming & going.

I call the below our Raccoon Super Highway. And you can bet I basically open hand face-palmed when I realized this had been open for the past 3 years. D’oh! No idea why I trusted the former owners to have enclosed it properly. You can see we closed up the righthand side, and have left the lefthand side open for now.

I call this next one the Raccoon Super Highway Part 2. It’s basically a row of 19-20 openings over the screen porch. Fantastic, right?

The Raccoon Super Highway is located to the right of the patio below (behind the tree branch) and Raccoon Super Highway Part 2 runs the entire length of the porch.

You can also see the patio we hastily threw together for Robert’s birthday, the storm door that shattered and caused him to need stitches (damn door! I’m replacing you with barn doors, just you wait!), and our DIY adirondack chairs.

Also our semi brake drum turned fit pit, and Robert’s beer bottle collection. Keepin’ it classy.

So that’s Part 1. Part 2 involves sealing off the Raccoon Super Highway Part 2, and playing loud music in the house/attic to disrupt their sleep and encourage them to leave. If all of that fails then Part 3 will be paying someone to remove them/their nest (which should be interesting given the size of our attic craw;space), and to attempt to remove the raccoon soiled insulation.

Having your own critter problem? We found these links helpful: Raccoons In the Attic, Getting Rid of Raccoons in the Attic, Get Rid of Raccoons, wildlife-removal.com

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9 Responses to How to Evict a Raccoon from Your Attic (Maybe)

  1. My dad had raccoons in his shed. He waited for them to leave and then boarded it up (he claims to have served them an eviction notice 2 weeks prior, but I cant confirm that). Anyway, the raccoons, clearly pissed at their abrupt eviction from the shed, ripped a GIANT hole in the roof of the house and invited all their friends over.

    Thousands of dollars later, my dad had a new roof and no raccoons.

    so what im saying is- you need to nip this in the BUD.

    • Cait says:

      That is crazy! The soffits needed to be re-screened anyhow, so that was Phase 1. We will probably call someone out to see if they can see them/get them out.

  2. Gamble says:

    Wish I knew y’all were having critter problems sooner. We still have a humane animal trap we had to use to catch our poor Domino after he escaped from my parents’ house a couple of years ago.

    • Cait says:

      Thanks, Gamble! I did actually ask my dad about the humane traps my granddad used to use, but now that we know it’s in the attic I’m unsure where to put the trap.

  3. Eek! The only critters we’ve had problems with so far are spiders and a minor winter mice infestation. And, we had a skunk living in our back yard for a few weeks last summer. We have lots of raccoons about though, so I’ll file this away for any potential laters and cross my fingers really hard in the hopes that I never need to follow in your foot steps.

    Raccoons kind of freak me out…

    • Cait says:

      Thanks, Jeanette! Fingers crossed that you never need to know how to rid your house of critters!

      We had a possum living in the grove of orange trees behind our last place, but he never really bothered the house/garage. He just stole oranges that had already fallen from the trees. I’m somewhat hopeful that we won’t suffer major damage this time, but raccoons kind of freak me out too, and I’m also wary of letting things go too long…

  4. Pingback: Back Porch Daydreaming » Hernando House

  5. John says:

    Before doing any raccoon trapping, even with humane type traps, go to the Humane Societies’ website to read up on humane eviction of raccoons. There is much more to it than you think.

    • Cait says:

      Thanks, John. At this point you could say we’re mostly exercising the “patience” phase. We’ve secured all but one of the entrances/exits to the attic, and applied the repellant. We’re hoping once the babies are large enough they family will move out, but as I mentioned above, we are also considering calling in the professionals.

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