Animals in the Attic

An animal is living in my attic/garage/porch…

Using lethal methods to control nuisance animals can result in orphaned babies. Live trapping and relocating of animals can cause the spread of disease, result in orphaned babies, and decrease an animal’s chance for survival. Instead, use deterrence methods. An adult animal that is effectively deterred will also move its babies to an alternate location.

How do you deter animals? Put yourself in their place…what makes their living space desirable to them? Raccoons, skunks, and other animals are drawn to den sites that are quiet and dark. If you want them to move, you have to change these conditions.

Raccoons

raccoons02If there are raccoons in a chimney, attic, or garage in spring, it usually means that babies are also there. If you want to encourage the family to relocate, place a radio turned to a talk radio station (music won’t work) in the area of the raccoons, turned up as high as you and neighbors can stand. Leave the radio on 24 hours a day for as long as three days to give the mother motivation and time to move her babies. Do not live trap and relocate the adult raccoon as you will be leaving the babies behind. Once you are certain all members of the family are gone, cap the chimney or repair the hole that allowed access.

Skunks

skunksSkunks often make dens under porches and sheds.  Skunks are great to have around, as they aerate lawns and eat lots of insects and grubs.  And, though adult skunks are usually nocturnal, juvenile skunks may explore their surroundings during the day.
If you have a skunk living under your porch or shed in spring, babies may also be there. It is best to let the babies mature and move away.  In the meantime, you can enjoy their antics! However, if you need to encourage a skunk to relocate, bring out your talk radio station again, and place it close to the den site.  You can also shine a light into the den site 24 hours a day to make the den less inviting.

Damage and prevention control

  • Cap all chimneys with heavy screen.
  • Repair holes in attics and building foundations.
  • Store garbage in a metal or strong plastic container with the lid closed tightly (wire, clamp, or tie shut if necessary). Tie garbage can to a solid object to prevent it from being tipped over, or put cans inside a garage or outdoor shed.
  • Feed pets indoors and/or only provide food during the day.