Raccoon Identification Guide

What are raccoons?

Raccoons are medium-sized mammals (2-3 feet long) that are recognizable by the black-and-white coloration on their faces that can make them look like they’re wearing bandit masks. They also have ringed tails and extremely dexterous paws.

As far as pests go, raccoons in New Haven are notorious for digging into trash cans and clutter in search of food and creatively finding their way into human residences. While they are naturally found in forested and mountainous regions, the cold weather often pushes them into residential areas in search of food, water, and warm shelter.

raccoon eating an apple

Are raccoons dangerous?

The biggest threat many homeowners think of when they think of raccoons is rabies. While not every raccoon has rabies, many do. Rabid raccoons behave in a confused or disoriented manner. They have difficulty walking, display significant aggression, produce loud, unusual sounding noises, foam at the mouth, and have watery eyes. They also appear unkempt with wet, tangled hair.

Beyond the direct threat they pose to humans through the diseases they transmit through their bites, raccoons in the home endanger the occupants in other ways as well. Raccoons often chew on and damage wood, insulation, and electrical wiring creating fire hazards and leaving you with costly repairs.

If a raccoon finds its way into your home, they will most likely create their den in a secluded area such as your attic. In the process, they will damage your property, and leave behind hazardous biological elements such as fur, droppings, and urine. As a result, a raccoon in your attic or other areas in your home can be a dangerous and expensive problem to fix. 

Why do I have a raccoon problem?

Raccoon infestations are most likely to occur in the fall and winter months when the harsh Connecticut weather makes finding food and warmth in the wild difficult. During this time, raccoons will be on the hunt for safe places to nest in proximity to food and water. Unfortunately, your home provides the perfect mix of comfort to a hungry raccoon.

Raccoons are attracted to a number of factors present in your home, but most commonly the first thing that brings them to your property is your garbage. The smell and abundance of leftover edibles make them enthusiastic trash scavengers. However, even if your trash is closed tightly, they may also enjoy the gardens or compost piles on your property. 

Where are raccoons commonly found?

Raccoons are typically found in the attic or basement of the homes they infest, as these areas provide them with space and material to create their dens. Raccoons are primarily nocturnal, so often the first time homeowners become aware of their presence is at night when they hear them move around and scratch surfaces.

Common signs of a raccoon infestation include overturned trash cans outside, destroyed gardens and compost piles, and damage to exterior screens and siding on your home from the raccoon trying to find a way inside. 

How can I prevent raccoons from getting into my home?

Raccoons are a dangerous and destructive pest, and they can be particularly difficult to remove from the homes they infest - making prevention a necessity.

Here are some tips you can use to lower the risk of a raccoon infestation:

  • Use exterior trash cans that seal shut so that raccoons can't crawl inside.
  • Keep exterior trash cans as well as gardens and compost piles several feet away from the exterior of your home.
  • Trim limbs and foliage away from the exterior of your home so that raccoons cannot use them to access your roof.
  • Remove bird feeders from the yard, which can raccoons and other unwanted wildlife.
  • Keep windows, vents, and chimneys leading into the home covered.

How do I get rid of raccoons?

Removing live animals from your home can be a difficult and potentially dangerous process for the average homeowner. Raccoons are wild animals that can be unpredictable, so the best solution for homeowners with raccoons is to call a pest control professional for help. Furthermore, be mindful that relocating or killing raccoons without a permit is forbidden in many areas.

Connecticut Pest Elimination, Inc. specializes in humane wildlife trapping and relocation services. We’ll set up a series of traps in and around your home and monitor them for activity. We will return regularly to replace the bait within each trap. Once every raccoon that’s gotten inside is captured, we’ll release them all in another safe location where they won't threaten neighborhoods. Then, we will identify and seal entry points to help avoid another infestation in the future.  

Suffering a wildlife infestation, or afraid that you could in the future? Contact us today for a consultation and find out how Connecticut Pest Elimination, Inc. can make your raccoon problem a thing of the past. 


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