Raccoons can be pesky creatures as they like trash and are very mischievous. They are nocturnal so they often sleep during the day and more active in the evenings. In the evenings, they are searching for food. Raccoons are considered to be lazy so they won’t make a new nest and will use a nest that is already there. What do raccoon nests look like? It is already established like a den, a burrow, under a porch, or in the attic. It can also be a large abandoned nest from a fox or bird.
Let’s take a look to see what a raccoon nest looks like in case you come across one or think you may have a raccoon in the home.
How Raccoons Make Their Nest
As mentioned above, raccoons don’t make their own nests. Instead, they take over one that may have belonged to another animal or a particular place that they will be hidden. Raccoons need to be near water and in a wooded area.
This is because they can hide from predators. Predators such as cougars, foxes, coyotes, great-horned owls, and alligators. In addition, they like animal-based food so they will be near shorelines, ponds, and streams so they can find their clams, fish, snakes, frogs, crayfish, and waterfowl that may be injured.
Let’s look at some of the places you might find raccoons.
Raccoons are the type of creatures that don’t want to work for anything. If they find an abandoned gopher burrow or fox den site, they will move on in especially if the burrow is under tree cover and near water. This is more characteristic of male behavior than females as the males like to be near the ground.
Natural Raccoon Den
Raccoons also like areas that are made by nature. These include caves, beneath fallen trees, underbrush and leaf piles, as well as large rocks. Female raccoons like caverns and natural cavities as they are good dens for building their nests and raising their young.
Depending on the climate where the raccoon lives, they may find swampier areas that have more rocks and fallen trees whiles areas that are more farmland may have cavities of trees to hide in or brush piles. Rarely will you see raccoons in higher elevations as there are fewer trees and water sources.
Raccoons also like trees, especially if they have a hollow hole where the raccoon can hide and seek shelter. Check out the video below about raccoons in a hollow log den.
Unfortunately, we do provide a place that the raccoon likes to go. We have trash bins, outdoor pet food, shelter, and plenty of food for these creatures.
Attic and Chimney
Raccoons like attics. This is because of the trees that may be close to the home and roof, which allows the raccoon to get on the roof and sneak into the house. This might be done by going through a weak spot in the roof, or even the raccoon removing roofing tiles! Raccoons also like to nest in the walls and basement.
Additionally, raccoons like chimneys for the same reason as the attic. They can easily climb in looking for shelter (and being nosy). Also, female raccoons may see a chimney as a place to nest. One way to keep them out is to install a spark arrestor which also helps keep out birds and opossums.
Abandoned Bird Nests
Nests left by owls, hawks, or crows are a perfect size for a raccoon. They are usually up high so the raccoon feels protected from predators that don’t climb. A raccoon can find rest during the day in one of these large nests. Knowing that birds are strong and skilled, raccoons know they will have a strong home.
A leaf pile is another place a raccoon may try to build a nest because it will provide shelter and keep them warm. However, it won’t be a long-term home and just for in-between shelters.
Raccoons love sheds as well as they stay safe from weather and predators. Unfortunately, they can gain access if the walls or doors are poorly maintained. Additionally, they may dig into the foundation to gain access.
Raccoons that are in more northern areas may add in more insulation to their nest in the winter months to keep warm.
Signs You Have Raccoons
- Paw prints in the yard
- SCAT – also known as raccoon poop
- Rub marks on the ground – they like to use the same paths and trails, as well as mark their territory.
- Raccoon hair – looks like dog hair and they shed hair in the spring
- Damage to the property – shingles, soffits, chew beams and insulation
- Messy yard – garbage all over the yard from your trash can is a great indicator of raccoons.
- Bird feeders are empty – raccoons like to take the food but squirrels do as well.
- Noises – these will come from outside but also in the attic
How to Keep Raccoons Away
There are a few things you can do to try to keep raccoons away.
- Radio – set up a radio that changes sound between commercials and music. The reason you need it to be both of these is that the change in sound will make the raccoon more weary of the area.
- Motion activated sprinkler system – this will detect motion in the yard and then will spray whatever is there. This will scare off a raccoon.
- Put pet food inside the house at night – leaving it outside invites the raccoon and other animals.
- Avoid tall grass – keep the lawn trim and this will deter raccoons as they can’t hide from predators.
- Trim bushes – ensure that they are not touching the ground and also the side of the house so the raccoon doesn’t gain access to the roof or attic.
- Get rid of brush piles and lumber – having these on the ground invite the raccoons to create a nest.
- Seal garbage can – if you can, keep it in the garage or a place animals can’t get to it. If you must leave it outside, make sure you seal it.
How to Get Rid of Raccoons
There are some ways you will know that there is a raccoon in your home. Scurrying in the attic or a bad smell may let you know there is a raccoon or more in the attic. This happens often in winter when they are trying to find shelter and they are mating. The time that raccoons breed is from January to March and then baby raccoons are born from April to May. Their litter is called kits and usually 3-4 are born.
If you have an adult raccoon, you will spot them leaving the house at nighttime to search for food. During this time they are out of the house, you can seal up their entry way and keep them out. However, if there are babies, the mother and babies won’t leave for a few months so you may have roommates for a while. About 2-3 months after the birth of the kits, the mother and her babies will leave and then you can seal up their entryway as well.
Now that you know about raccoons, let’s take a look at other maintenance to keep other pests away.
Keeping the grass trim can help you avoid chiggers on your clothes. Anytime you are going to walk through tall grass, wear long sleeves and pants, use insect repellent with DEET, take a hot bath or shower, and wash your clothes. You will want to check all over your body and clothes for the chiggers as they can live on the clothes for 3 days
Another area to check is the wires in your house. If you hear squeaking, chewing, rustling, see grease spots, or see a rodent, you will need to contact a pest control company to check out your home for rodents. Once rodents start chewing on the wires, you could have some electrical issues in the home and damage.
Lastly, squirrels are attracted to many of the same things in your yard as raccoons. They like the food from the bird feeder, trees with nuts, corn cobs, and pine cones. Just like other pests, they like to chew wires in the home so keeping an ear out to make sure they are not there and ensuring there are no spots to get in the home are important.
When to Call a Professional
If raccoons become a nuisance or you have them in your house, you will need to contact a professional. Getting rid of raccoons can be dangerous so calling a wildlife professional or a pest control company may be your best bet. A pest control company can help find out where the point of entry is in your home.
Raccoons are dangerous and keeping your family safe is important. If raccoons won’t leave your yard, are rabid, or are in your home, calling a professional is your next step. All South Pest Control will be able to determine your raccoon removal needs and offer the best preventative maintenance for future pest issues in McDonough, GA, and the surrounding areas.