Pest Control – Raccoons are Huge Furry Rats

July 28th, 2010 · 2 Comments · Commercial Property, Pest Control, Property Management, Rental Property

I got an excellent question about raccoons yesterday. I used to like raccoons when I lived up North. They have predators up there. Here in the city we’ve killed all the animals that eat them and raccoons reproduce and invade houses. We also provide an all-you-can-eat buffet of garbage for them. People who think raccoons are cute have never had them in their house, living in their ceiling and peeing and defecating and having babies in their insulation. Here’s the question.

Question about Raccoons

Hi Rachelle,

Enjoying your site a lot. I have written before but since you mentioned in today’s post that you love questions, here’s a new one for you.

We have been in a rented house in mid-town Toronto, recently we found that raccoons gotten into and taken up residence in the space between the second and third floors of the house. This is through no fault of our own. The pest-control guys hired by the landlord are of the opinion that they will have to fumigate (the access space is too small to install trap doors, etc.)

Fumigation usually means that the house is uninhabitable for a few days. In this case, if we have to stay in a hotel for a little while, who pays? Us or the landlord?

How Raccoons are Dealt With

I have never heard of raccoons being fumigated. Ever. Here’s a article about How Fumigation Doesn’t Work On Wildlife. Raccoons are trapped. Raccoons are fairly large. They make sizable holes and those holes have one way doors put on them. In the spring mommy raccoons migrate inside houses en masse to have their babies. Unless the babies can easily be reached, the remedy in this case is to leave the mother in place and wait until the babies are grown up enough to leave on their own. No one wants to install a one way door and trap a mother raccoon outside away from her babies. This only ends in two ways. The first outcome that happens is the mommy goes nuts and does everything she can to get back to her starving babies. She gets back in and makes another hole. The second outcome is that she doesn’t get back in and after several days of squeaking for food the babies die inside the house. Then they decompose stinking up the entire house. This is also bad.  Some pest control guys will trap the mom in a metal cage then they’ll collect all the babies and put them outside so the mother raccoon can bring them to a new home.

Current Raccoon Removal is Pretty Idiotic

There are laws regarding raccoon removal. They trap them and move them about 1 kilometer away. Then they come back to their home (you think it’s your house) but the holes to get back into the house are blocked. Hopefully they move on. Raccoons can find their way back to your house from the local park.

THEY DON’T GET RID OF THE RACCOON. Because of animal rights activists and bleeding hearts we don’t kill any pest raccoons even thought there are way too many in the city. The natural predators of raccoons are NOT allowed to live in the city. No one wants wolves, coyotes, bobcats, foxes or pumas living in their backyard. About the only thing that kills raccoons in the city is cars.

Raccoons Look Cute, No One Wants Them Dead.

People generally feel OK about killing scary creatures like bears or wolves living in their backyard. Other people (who conveniently don’t have these creatures in THEIR backyards) will put up a stink. Raccoons look cute and harmless and shuffle. They are cute when they live outside. I don’t even mind cleaning up the mess they make when they get into the garbage. They are not cute when they live in a house. Then they become evil, furry, masked rats. Location, location, location as the real estate agents say. Many people will think you are a horrible person if you want to kill raccoons that are living in your property. Not me.I think the people who think it’s OK to have raccoons in other people’s houses should offer up their own houses. Let’s see how they like it when their dining room ceiling becomes a latrine for raccoons.

Raccoons are NOT STUPID. Why did they pick my house?

Raccoons can smell rotting wood. They know it’s soft and can easily be dug through. That’s why they picked your house. One landlord I knew had absolutely endless problems with raccoons at his property. They would dig holes over and over again in his roof. He patched and patched and patched. Finally he bit the bullet and got the roof (which had 5 layers of shingles on it) stripped. Under all the layers of asphalt shingles there was an old deteriorating layer of cedar shake. Those were removed and he never had another problem. Raccoons’ natural den site is a rotting hollow in a tree. This means home sweet home to them. So if you have rotting wood on your soffits or siding or window sills you are sending a giant invitation to the raccoons in your neighborhood.

One year I had a plague of raccoons in several of the houses I managed. In one house on Carlaw we trapped 16 raccoons. It was a tall three story semi. It had old wood sills and an old wood deck on the third floor. The raccoons were getting in through there. We blocked it off. Finally we thought we were done with them and they had moved on. The house was sold. I went to the house a final time to give the keys to the agent to give to the lawyer. I looked up one last time at the house, there on the third floor deck was a cute little raccoon sneering at me.

Who Pays For The Hotel ?

The landlord is responsible to pay for the hotel if you have to stay away from the house. Even if you fumigate; which shouldn’t be done anyways, you only have to stay away for 4 hours. As I’ve complained about at length in my bedbug posts, current approved poisons are so fracking safe they only kill bugs when applied directly to the bug. I imagine that whatever this pest control guy has in mind is so safe it won’t do a thing to the raccoon or you either. If you have friends or family around go crash there if you can and cut your landlord a break. Just because the landlord is responsible to pay doesn’t mean that you get a suite at the Royal York. He’s already paying through the nose to get rid of the raccoons for you. Take it easy. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should! Your landlord didn’t bring the damn raccoons in either.

Personally I would find a pest control guy who knows what he’s supposed to be doing. He need to find a wildlife control company. In Toronto I use Ontario Pro-Pest. I really like their service. Their prices are decent. You shouldn’t go anywhere. The raccoon is the bad guy; he has to go!

I was also corrected by the original questioner. He lives in one of those lovely houses that is 6 inches away from the next house. The raccoons find it easy to get in to get to their den. The pest control guy… not so much! The landlord is working hard to solve the problem; our questioner is getting sick of the raccoon noises. They make a lot of noise! We’ll get an update on this one!

Happy Raccooning!

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