Exclusion Execution: Raccoons

Do not rush to seal access points

Be mindful of raccoons when making exclusion repairs to home


Figure 1. Raccoon entered foundation through missing access panel to make a new den.

As the cooler Autumn temperatures arrive, raccoons begin to seek new shelter from the colder weather. If your home is vulnerable, they may take advantage and move right in, (Fig. 1).

Do not rush to seal all access points until all raccoons are removed from your home. They can do a lot of damage while attempting to escape, or die underneath your home. The smell of a 30-pound dead animal can be very unpleasant. Not to mention the resulting maggots, flies, and possible infestation of hungry fleas, in search of a new host.

Problems raccoons cause:

  • Damage insulation
  • Contaminate ducting
  • Introduce fleas into the home
  • Can spread parasitic roundworm
  • Spread disease
  • Create latrine odors
  • May increase disinfection and damage repair costs
  • Are hazardous to pets and children
 You may want to call a Pro

When it comes to nuisance animal removal, such as skunks, opossums and raccoons, you may need to call a professional. We at Janus Pest Management can spare you the hassle of trapping and removing the nuisance animals and we can also make most exclusion repairs to your home to prevent reentry. That being said, if you wish to go it alone, please beware that while it is important to repair access points to prevent animal ingress, you must proceed with caution.

At certain times of the year, there could be several raccoons. Raccoons may den together during winter storms or pair up during the breeding season, and mating occurs as early as January to as late as June. The peak mating period is March and April. It is especially important to be mindful of sealing entrances in the spring and summer months, because the young are typically present. After a gestation period of about 65 days, two to five young racoons, known as “kits”, are born during April or May, but occasionally before or after that period. The kits remain in the den until they are about seven weeks old, at which time they can walk, run, climb, and begin to occupy alternate dens.

 Signs of raccoon activity – what to look for:
Tracks, Scratch Marks,

Figure 2. The rear foot of a raccoon shows the “heel” and looks like a small human footprint. Both front and back feet have five toes. The front prints have shorter heel marks and are 2 to 3 inches long; the hind tracks are 3 to 4 inches long.
(From Pandell and Stall, Animal Tracks of the Pacific Northwest.)

Look for tracks in sand, mud, or soft soil, also on deck railings and other surfaces that raccoons use to gain access to structures (Fig. 1). Tracks may appear as smudge marks on the side of a house where a raccoon shimmies up and down a downspout or utility pipe. Check for clusters of rutting in grassy and garden areas. Raccoons will also roll up freshly laid sod in search of grubs.

Sharp, non-retractable claws and long digits make raccoons good climbers. Like squirrels, raccoons can rotate their hind feet 180 degrees and descend trees headfirst. Look for scratch marks on trees and other structures that raccoons climb.

Look for wear marks, body oil and hairs on wood and other rough surfaces, particularly around the edges of den entrances. The den’s entrance hole is usually at least 4 inches high and 6 inches wide.


Raccoons make several types of noises, including a purr, a chittering sound, and various growls, snarls, and snorts.


Raccoon droppings are crumbly, flat-ended, and can contain a variety of food items. The length is 3 to 5 inches, but this is usually broken into segments. The diameter is about the size of the end of your little finger.

Raccoons leave droppings on logs, at the base of trees, and on roofs (raccoons defecate before climbing trees and entering structures). Raccoons create toilet areas—inside and outside structures—away from the nesting area. House cats have similar habits.

Note: Raccoon droppings may carry a parasite that can be fatal to humans. Do not handle or smell raccoon droppings and wash your hands if you touch any.

Source: en.wikipedia.org, ipm.ucdavis.edu, cdc.gov, humanesociety.org, wdfw.wa.gov

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