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How to Get Rid of Raccoons in Your Attic

By January 23, 2024No Comments
How to get rid of raccoons in the attic

A rustle in the night, a soft patter above your head, or perhaps a mysterious disappearance of pet food – all of these subtle hints point to an uninvited guest. If you suspect raccoons have invaded your attic, while it’s important to act fast, there’s no need to panic as you work to get rid of them.

With their dexterous paws and inquisitive nature, raccoons are adept at finding their way into the cozy and warm environments our attics provide. However, as endearing as these creatures might be in the wild, their presence in your home is cause for concern.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to detect raccoons, practical tips to drive them away, when to call an expert, and how to prevent their return in the future. With a focus on humane methods and long-term solutions for home safety, let’s get started!

Why We Find Raccoons in the Attic

Raccoons are more than just woodland bandits. They’re natural survivors, constantly scouting for the perfect hideaway. As temperatures dip or when it’s time to nurture their young (kits), they will embark on a mission for comfort and safety, which might inadvertently lead them to your attic.

Compared to the shelter options outside, your attic is a penthouse suite of raccoon real estate. It’s cozy, offers solitude, and is often full of soft materials perfect for a nest. This space becomes particularly attractive to mother raccoons who are looking for a safe place to raise their kits. The unintentional welcome mats we lay out for them make it all too easy to move in.

Your attic is not just randomly chosen, but a calculated move on the raccoon’s part. They’re drawn to the availability of food, like pet food that might be left out overnight or any nearby garbage cans. Understanding an attic’s appeal to raccoons is the first step in turning your home into a no-raccoon zone.

Raccoon on a mission to get to the attic.

Signs of a Raccoon Infestation

If raccoons have turned your attic into their private quarters, you’ll likely notice several indicators. Firstly, listen for unusual noises. Raccoons are nocturnal, so pay attention to thumping or scratching sounds coming from your attic at night. This could suggest they are active and moving around.

Second, look for physical evidence. Raccoon tracks are akin to small human handprints, and you might find them in the dust of your attic or around the exterior of your home. Droppings, which are another clear sign, pose health risks and should be handled with care.

Third, inspect for damage. Raccoons need to create an entry point to your attic, so check for torn vents, ripped shingles, or holes near the roofline. Inside, chewed wires, shredded insulation, and damaged ductwork can all point to a raccoon’s presence.

Lastly, be alert to any outdoor pet food or trash disturbances, as these might be the food sources enticing raccoons to your property. The faster you see the signs, the faster you can rid your attic of raccoons once and for all!

What to Do and What Not to Do

So, you spot telltale signs that raccoons are getting comfortable in your attic. When addressing this, certain actions can help you resolve the issue effectively, while others may further complicate things or even break local wildlife laws. Here are a few general parameters to consider:

What to Do

  • Secure the Perimeter: Seal all potential entry points, except the main raccoon entrance. Then double-check! This will prevent new raccoons from entering while you deal with the current culprits.
  • Install a One-Way Door: At the main entry point, install a one-way door that allows the raccoons to leave but not re-enter. This humane device is crucial for eviction.
  • Remove Attractions: Secure your garbage cans with locking lids, don’t leave pet food outdoors, and pick up fallen fruit or nuts in your yard.

What Not to Do

  • Do Not Use Poison: This may be illegal, depending on your area. Additionally, poisoned raccoons can die in hard-to-reach places, causing odor and attracting other pests.
  • Do Not Trap and Relocate: This can be illegal and often unsuccessful, as relocated raccoons often fail to survive in unfamiliar territories.
  • Do Not Seal the Entry With Raccoons Inside: Trapping raccoons in your attic can lead to further damage as they try to escape and can result in dead animals in your home.
  • Do Not Ignore the Problem: Raccoons can cause significant damage and pose health risks. Prompt action is necessary.
  • Do Not Attempt to Handle Raccoons: They can be aggressive when cornered and may carry diseases like rabies.
Avoid and get rid of raccoons in the attic by securing any garbage that attracts them

Recommended Prevention and Maintenance

After evicting raccoons from your attic, it’s essential to make your home less appealing to the masked invaders moving forward.

  • Seal the House: Start by repairing any damage. Close off all entry points by sealing holes, fixing vents and chimney caps, and reinforcing weak spots on your roof. This not only keeps raccoons out but also improves your home’s insulation and security.
  • Remove Food Temptations: Raccoons are attracted to easy meals. Keep your trash cans sealed, don’t leave pet food outside, and secure your compost bins. Without a food source, your home is far less enticing to hungry raccoons.
  • Tidy the Yard: A clutter-free yard offers fewer hiding spots. Trim branches that lead to your roof, clean the gutters, and reduce dense shrubbery. A well-maintained yard discourages raccoons from setting up home.
  • Use Deterrents: A couple of strategically placed motion-activated lights or sprinklers can work wonders at night, spooking raccoons away. Natural repellents like ammonia-soaked rags near potential entry points can also discourage them.
  • Regular Checks: Keep an ear out for noises in the attic and an eye on the exterior of your house. Early detection of raccoon activity is crucial to stop them before they settle in again.
  • Reinforce the Perimeter: Make sure your porches, decks, and basement windows are not welcoming to raccoons. Some wire mesh or concrete barriers can prevent digging, blocking off another common entry route.

When to Call a Professional

Even the most diligent homeowners may encounter a raccoon problem that’s beyond their ability to solve. If you try the methods we discuss and still find raccoons in your attic, it’s time to call experts.

Experts should also be consulted if you discover a mother raccoon with kits, as these situations require special care. Professionals are equipped to handle the nuances of eviction and relocation humanely and following local laws.

Moreover, get help if you’re not comfortable or equipped to deal with the potential health risks involved with getting rid of attic raccoons. A professional can also provide a thorough assessment of any damage caused and help fortify your home against future invasions.


In summary, getting rid of raccoons in your attic requires a blend of vigilance and prompt action. Whether you’re deciphering the signs of an unwanted visitor, implementing humane eviction methods, or fortifying your home against future intrusions, remember that the key to success is a proactive stance.

While these creatures are certainly resourceful and resilient, with the right approach, your attic can remain solely your space, not a wildlife refuge. For those instances where the problem persists or presents risks beyond your comfort zone, don’t hesitate to call on the expertise of wildlife professionals. To get help fending off existing raccoons or other preventative pest services, reach out to the experts at All South Pest Control today.

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