I received a service call for a residence in Lanoka Harbor. This homeowner had a few restless nights hearing strange noises in the attic. He suspected animal activity, but wisely decided to not further investigate the situation. When I arrived on the scene, I spoke to the homeowner to get a better understanding of what was going on -- the types of noises he was hearing and when he heard them. I immediately had my list of usual suspects of the trespasser above.
I conducted a thorough inspection around the exterior of the home for signs of animal activity. Sometimes these signs are subtle, sometimes not. With this particular call, there were signs galore. First, I saw where the animal was gaining access to the attic. The corner trim of bent siding and a broken area of soffit was more than enough for most New Jersey wildlife to gain access.
As an experienced wildlife technician, I saw something relatively unusual. Because the ground was a bit wet and muddy, the animal left paw prints outlining how it climbed up the handrail to gain access to the attic. These animal tracks were very distinctive. The footprints were hand-shaped measuring about 3 inches across with five finger-like toes in both front and hind feet. Front tracks had longer toes that were spread apart and the hind feet had a larger palm and heel pad. I knew exactly then and there what I was dealing with: a raccoon.
I set and bated animal traps on the roof so I could safely and humanely catch the animal outside of the house to relocate out of harm's way. Because of the time of year, I thoroughly inspected the attic to see if there were any signs of babies. The last thing I wanted to do was separate raccoon cubs from their mom. Raccoon cubs, anxious for mom to return, cry and make all sorts of noises. Fortunately, there were no babies in the attic.
I spoke to the homeowner to explain what I found and what I did. With the traps set, arrangements were made to clean and sanitize the attic and fix the roof. The homeowners extremely excited and relieved that I was going to solve their animal intrusion. I enjoy safely catching wildlife and removing them from human habitats. There is nothing better than talking to a grateful family who can finally sleep at night without listening to strange noises overhead.