Raccoons seem to have adapted very well to city life. I remember seeing a family of raccoons which included a mother, father, and about 3 babies walking down my block when I was a kid. Little did I know that over the years the city would practically become infested with raccoons. For me, raccoons have gone from being fun to watch to being an overall nuisance.
Raccoons are able to adapt to their surroundings. They will dig through your garbage to find food and they are very territorial animals-even when they are making their home on your property! In my old residence, raccoons made a hole in a brand new roof and decided to make a home for themselves in the attic. You could hear them scratching, clawing, growling, and sometimes even fighting other raccoons who were trying to get in. They would fall down in the walls making an awful amount of noise and many times we were afraid that they would get through into our living area. Calls to the city’s humane department have done nothing. Apparently all they can or will do is put you on a waiting list to get a wild animal cage which you have to set up and trap the animal yourself in. Once trapped, they will come and pick up the cage. The problem with this is most times stray cats or dogs end up going inside these cages and getting stuck and you still have to worry about the raccoons.
You would think that the purpose of a city’s humane and wildlife department was to trap and catch the wild animals themselves, not leave it up to the residents who are having problems with the wild animals. And in the city of Chicago where I live, it’s illegal to shoot or otherwise harm these animals even if they are on your property.
Raccoons are very active during the night time hours. There were many nights when my family and I couldn’t sleep due to the raccoons making all kinds of noises over our heads in the attic and in the walls. Another problem we faced was when the raccoons would have babies. They usually breed between January and April. Their gestation season is eight weeks and whelping usually is from March until June. The average raccoon litter size is three to five young, who make all kinds of annoying animal noises. The mother becomes even more territorial since she has babies and you will hear her fighting anyone who comes too close. The raccoons that made their home inside of my former home seemed to have babies more than once during the year. After doing some research, I found out that it was not uncommon for raccoons to have another litter during the late summer.
Imagine coming home at night and seeing raccoons sitting on your roof like they own the place. This is what my family and I came home to on several different occasions. Neighbors would call and say they see so many raccoons on the roof at night that they can’t even count them all.
Having tried and failed possible deterrent methods to get raccoons to leave the residents, years later they are still there. With the abundance of food and shelter in the city, raccoons seem to be making their homes where they are not wanted. And these animals are very dangerous. Coming in contact with their feces can be very harmful to humans since there is several life threatening bacteria that live in raccoon feces. Raccoons also carry rabies so you don’t want to come in close contact with them. If you are face to face with a raccoon, they will not back down. Being territorial, they are willing and ready to fight.
Websites offering information of how to get rid of raccoons recommend soaking rags in ammonia and hanging them around. Another possible solution is sprinkling coyote urine around to keep them away. The problem with those solutions is ammonia can be harmful to humans if they breathe it in long enough. And where on earth are you going to find coyote urine?
In the end, if any of the deterrent methods happen to work for you and you are able to rid your home of these pests, you will most likely need to get repairs done on your home, not to mention cleaning out the area they lived in. Since the city does very little to help us solve our raccoon infestation problems, this is a problem we have to somehow solve ourselves.