I received a call from a homeowner in Deal, NJ who had a raccoon issue. The homeowner kept hearing noises in the middle of the night and actually saw a raccoon climb down his drainage pipe. Trapping raccoons this time of year is a slippery slope. We have no way of knowing if we are dealing with a pregnant female, a female that has already had her babies, or a male. We won’t find out until they are trapped. If we do capture a raccoon that is a mother and it cannot get back to its babies, then we have a bigger problem than before. The mother raccoon will do anything to get back to its young and cause more severe property damage than before. If you HEAR or SUSPECT something living in the attic, and it is NOT the DEAD OF WINTER, please assume that there are babies present!
As I inspected the exterior of the home I came across several muddy paw prints leading up the drainage pipe to the soffit. The soffit had a nice size hole in it as well. You could tell that the soffit was ripped apart. Raccoons are extremely intelligent, but they are also extremely predictable. They will always take the least resistant path and follow that same path over and over again. Their razor-sharp claws can rip apart roofs, sidings, and soffits, but they leave the evidence behind.
There are scenarios we come across where a “positive set” or one-way device isn’t possible or would be difficult. A "positive set" is a device set that covers the entire access point, leaving no room for the intruder to use any other access point, and forces the raccoon out of the attic and into the set — so we are "positive" that we'll catch it. A one-way device is a device that allows a raccoon to exit the home safely and prevent it from returning. This is an example of those scenarios. Preventing the mother raccoon from returning to its young can be dangerous. So instead, I will try to get the animal in a couple of camouflaged ground traps. I placed the traps along the path the raccoon takes and placed bait inside of them. Next, I placed tape over the access point. This will allow the animal to come and go, but let me know if it has. A pregnant female and a female that has already had her litter will be extremely cautious. It is sometimes very difficult to get them to just go into a trap. Their cautiousness will cause them to shy away from anything that looks suspicious. Hopefully, the camouflaged traps will work and we won’t have to resort to more intricate and difficult measures. If we catch a raccoon here, we will again tape the access point to make sure we have the right raccoon. Once the tape is no longer being broken, we can go ahead and close up the access.