Serving Mercer, Ocean, Monmouth, Somerset, & Middlesex County
Recently, I went out on a call in Neptune, NJ for a homeowner who had a squirrel issue. She informed me that she had squirrels in her attic and she could hear them running around late at night. Immediately, I realized it wasn’t squirrels, but raccoons. Raccoons are nocturnal creatures. They usually sleep during daylight and spend their nights foraging for food. Squirrels are diurnal, which means they're active during the day and get their sleep at night. Regardless, a full inspection needs to be done.
As I began my inspection I came across something interesting. Tiny paw prints along the downspout leading up to the roof. I continued my inspection to the roof and immediately saw the entry point. A huge hole had been torn into the roof! Squirrels are incapable of inflicting this degree of property damage. This is the work of raccoons. Raccoons have remarkably sensitive hands, with five long, tapered fingers and razor-sharp claws. It’s no challenge for them to rip apart a roof to gain access inside a home. Raccoons may be expert break-in artists but aren’t very discreet (hence the paw prints on the downspout leading up to the attic).
For this situation, the most effective method for humanely removing the raccoon is a baited trap. I set-up two baited traps at the opening of the entry point. I also placed tape over the entry point to monitor the raccoon's activity. This will let me know if the raccoon has left the attic or not. That way if a raccoon is in our trap and the tape has been disturbed, I know that it came from the attic. This time of year it’s extremely important not to use any one-way exclusion devices that would keep an animal from re-entering a home to get back to their young. It can cause extreme amounts of property damage. All of that can be avoided with proper trapping techniques. In this case, the mother actually picked up her young and relocated them to a new location. After not hearing any activity for the remainder of the week I decided it was time to seal this area before another critter made their way into the attic.