Guests in your attic

By Cheryl Conley, TWRC Wildlife Center

Who doesn’t enjoy seeing squirrels scamper from tree to tree? Everyone loves seeing birds at their feeders. Who doesn’t love seeing the does with their fawns? We live side by side with wildlife. Is it any wonder that conflicts arise between humans and the animals?

This is baby season for raccoons. You may find that a mama raccoon has taken up residence in your attic or garage. The best advice we can offer you is to leave her alone. Within a couple of weeks, she will lead her babies out of your attic or garage to live in the wild. If you just can’t wait, here are a couple of things you can try. Put a bright light in the area at night and play some loud music. Some say talk radio is best. You can throw some moth balls in the area or ammonia-soaked cotton balls. She will probably choose to move the babies to a darker, quieter place outside. When she moves out, it’s your responsibility to find out how she got in and block the entrance or your attic will always look like an apartment for rent to wildlife.

We often receive calls from homeowners asking for advice on how to stop raccoons that are getting into trash cans. Solution: try using some bungee cords to secure the top. Another issue we hear about is that raccoons are eating food that is being put out for feral cats. Since raccoons are nocturnal, simply removing the cat food at night will fix the problem except in the spring when mama raccoons can be seen looking for food during the day. No, they are not rabid! They are just hungry. Some homeowners ask about trapping and relocating.

While removal may seem like a solution, it usually only creates an enticing vacancy for another animal in search of a meal. Remove raccoons from an area and it’s only a matter of time before others move in to take their place. Additionally, the survival rate of relocated raccoons is very low.

Raccoons are territorial and putting a lone raccoon into an area already populated with other raccoons can often result in death as the other raccoons will consider him/her as an intruder.

There are products available that may help not only with raccoons but other animals as well. One such product is the motion-activated sprinkler. When an animal gets close to the food source, the sprinkler goes off and scares them away. Just do an internet search and I’m certain you’ll find other products that may work as well.

With urban sprawl and loss of habitats, we need to learn to live in harmony with wildlife. TWRC Wildlife Center can often help you find solutions to your issues. Check our website at www.twrcwildlifecenter.org or call us at 713-468-8972.

 

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