Raccoon Removal In VA – (804) 457-2883 or Toll-Free (877) 828-3878
Raccoons in Virginia are usually classified as a pest species because they love to live in attics, they are nocturnal, and there may be many animals in a family. The most common complaints involving raccoon removal in VA include the following:
- Noises in the attic at night
- Odor from raccoon feces (poop) and urine
- Damaging insulation and HVAC duct work
- Damaging roofs, fascia boards, soffit and vents during entry
- Raccoon roundworm from their feces
For these reasons, many people in Virginia wish to have nuisance Raccoons trapped, removed, captured, controlled, managed and excluded.
Raccoon removal in VA is not as simple as it may seem. Raccoons in Virginia are very adaptive animals and as their home ranges have decreased, they are increasingly taking up residence in our Virginia homes and business. Raccoons are masters at finding (and making) entrances into our homes, and some of their favorite entry points include attic vents, roof vents, soffits, eaves, and fireplace chimneys – They have also found pet doors quite accommodating. We often invite raccoon problems by providing them with a food source such as pet food left outside and unsecured trash cans. Raccoons often enter our homes to set up a denning site to give birth to their young, and because our homes make excellent homes for raccoons and their babies. Most raccoon inside of a building are female—not all—but most. The female is looking for a safe place to have her babies. Male raccoons are not as solitary as females, having overlapping territories with other males. This makes the occurrence of a lone male in your house rare. Once you know you have a raccoon, you need to assume there are kits somewhere inside of the home. These denning sites or other heavily utilized raccoon areas may be infested with the eggs of the Raccoon Roundworm. This parasite can cause severe health problems in humans who accidentally inhale or ingest the eggs found in raccoon feces. This is of particular concern when a child’s play area is nearby. Every effort should be made to remove raccoon feces from areas frequented by people. Virginia Professional Wildlife Removal Services, LLC offers attic cleaning, sanitizing, deodorizing and restoration services in Virginia. We have the knowledge, skills and ability to safely and humane remove nuisance animal control pests in VA, repair the areas damaged by these critters and most importantly restore you and your family’s peace of mind.
Raccoon damage to Virginia homes usually includes damaged insulation, wood, vents and HVAC duct work. They can be extremely noisy and can be heard scratching, walking around, growling and creating damage to our homes. If there are baby raccoons in the attic they can often be heard crying and chattering. There is no more protective a mother than a female raccoon with young. She will often defend them to her death. Raccoon removal in Spotsylvania VA can be dangerous and should be left to trained and experienced wildlife removal and control technicians.
Raccoons in Virginia can also pose a serious biohazard. They are host to a number of parasites and diseases that can infect people and their pets. Raccoons can carry and spread Canine Distemper – a common and often fatal disease of dogs. It is caused by a virus and is generally spread when animals come in contact with the bodily secretions of other animals, such as raccoons, who are infected with the disease. Raccoons in Virginia are also one of the top carriers of Rabies – a viral disease that causes progressive paralysis and death in mammals, including humans. Any raccoons exhibiting abnormal behavior, such as fearlessness toward humans, awkward and slow movements, or excessive daylight activity should be strictly avoided. Contact Virginia Professional Wildlife Removal Services, LLC at (804) 457-2883 or toll-free at (877) 828-3878 for raccoon trapping, raccoon capture, raccoon management, raccoon exclusion, raccoon control or raccoon removal in VA. We can safely capture and remove any raccoons that you believe may be sick.
Raccoon Identification in Virginia
The raccoon (Procyon lotor), also called “coon,” is a stocky mammal about 2 to 3 feet long, weighing 10 to 30 pounds (rarely 40 to 50 pounds). It is distinctively marked, with a prominent black “mask” over the eyes and a heavily furred with a ringed tail. The animal is a grizzled salt-and-pepper gray and black above, although some individuals are strongly washed with yellow. Raccoons from the prairie areas of the western Great Plains are paler in color than those from eastern portions of the region.
Raccoon Range in Virginia
The raccoon is found throughout the United States, with the exception of the higher elevations of mountainous regions and some areas of the arid Southwest. Raccoons are more common in the wooded eastern portions of the United States than in the more arid western plains.
Raccoon Habitat in Virginia
Raccoons prefer hardwood forest areas near water. Although commonly found in association with water and trees, raccoons occur in many areas of the western United States around farmsteads and livestock watering areas, far from naturally occurring bodies of permanent water. Raccoons den in hollow trees, ground burrows, brush piles, muskrat houses, barns and abandoned buildings, dense clumps of cattail, haystacks, or rock crevices.
Raccoon Biology, Reproduction and Behavior in Virginia
Raccoons are omnivorous, eating both plant and animal foods. Plant foods include all types of fruits, berries, nuts, acorns, corn, and other types of grain. Animal foods are crayfish, clams, fish, frogs, snails, insects, turtles and their eggs, mice, rabbits, muskrats, and the eggs and young of ground-nesting birds and waterfowl. Contrary to popular myth, raccoons do not always wash their food before eating, although they frequently play with their food in water.
Raccoons breed mainly in February or March, but matings may occur from December through June, depending on latitude. The gestation period is about 63 days. Most litters are born in April or May but some late-breeding females may not give birth until June, July, or August. Only 1 litter of young is raised per year. Average litter size is 3 to 5. The young first open their eyes at about 3 weeks of age. Young raccoons are weaned sometime between 2 and 4 months of age.
Raccoons are nocturnal. Adult males occupy areas of about 3 to 20 square miles, compared to about 1 to 6 square miles for females. Adult males tend to be territorial and their ranges overlap very little. Raccoons do not truly hibernate, but they do “hole up” in dens and become inactive during severe winter weather. In the southern United States they may be inactive for only a day or two at a time, whereas in the north this period of inactivity may extend for weeks or months. In northern areas, raccoons may lose up to half their fall body weight during winter as they utilize stored body fat.
Raccoon populations consist of a high proportion of young animals, with one-half to three-fourths of fall populations normally composed of animals less than 1 year in age. Raccoons may live as long as 12 years in the wild, but such animals are extremely rare. Usually less than half of the females will breed the year after their birth, whereas most adult females normally breed every year.
Family groups of raccoons usually remain together for the first year and the young will often den for the winter with the adult female. The family gradually separates during the following spring and the young become independent.
Raccoon Damage & Raccoon Damage Identification in Virginia
Raccoons may cause damage or nuisance problems in a variety of ways, and their distinctive tracks often provide evidence of their involvement in damage situations.
Raccoons occasionally kill poultry and leave distinctive signs. The heads of adult birds are usually bitten off and left some distance from the body. The crop and breast may be torn and chewed, the entrails sometimes eaten, and bits of flesh left near water. Young poultry in pens or cages may be killed or injured by raccoons reaching through the wire and attempting to pull the birds back through the mesh. Legs or feet of the young birds may be missing. Eggs may be removed completely from nests or eaten on the spot with only the heavily cracked shell remaining. The lines of fracture will normally be along the long axis of the egg, and the nest materials are often disturbed. Raccoons can also destroy bird nests in artificial nesting structures such as bluebird and wood duck nest boxes.
Raccoons can cause considerable damage to garden or truck crops, particularly sweet corn. Raccoon damage to sweet corn is characterized by many partially eaten ears with the husks pulled back. Stalks may also be broken as raccoons climb to get at the ears. Raccoons damage watermelons by digging a small hole in the melon and then raking out the contents with a front paw.
Raccoons cause damage or nuisance problems around houses and outbuildings when they seek to gain entrance to attics or chimneys or when they raid garbage in search of food. In many urban or suburban areas, raccoons are learning that uncapped chimneys make very adequate substitutes for more traditional hollow trees for use as denning sites, particularly in spring. In extreme cases, raccoons may tear off shingles or fascia boards in order to gain access to an attic or wall space.
Raccoons also can be a considerable nuisance when they roll up freshly laid sod in search of earthworms and grubs. They may return repeatedly and roll up extensive areas of sod on successive nights. This behavior is particularly common in mid- to late summer as young raccoons are learning to forage for themselves, and during periods of dry weather when other food sources may be less available.
The incidence of reported rabies in raccoons and other wildlife has increased dramatically over the past 30 years. Raccoons have recently been identified as the major wildlife host of rabies in the United States, primarily due to increased prevalence in the eastern United States.
Legal Status of Raccoons in Virginia
Raccoons are protected furbearers in most states, with seasons established for running, hunting, or trapping. Most states, however, have provisions for landowners to control furbearers that are damaging their property. Check with your state wildlife agency before using any lethal controls.
Raccoon Damage Prevention Control Methods in Virginia
Raccoon Exclusion Methods in Virginia
Exclusion, if feasible, is usually the best method of coping with raccoon damage.
Poultry damage generally can be prevented by excluding the raccoons with tightly covered doors and windows on buildings or mesh-wire fences with an overhang surrounding poultry yards. Raccoons are excellent climbers and are capable of gaining access by climbing conventional fences or by using overhanging limbs to bypass the fence. A “hot wire” from an electric fence charger at the top of the fence will greatly increase the effectiveness of a fence for excluding raccoons.
Damage to sweet corn or watermelons can most effectively be stopped by excluding raccoons with a single or double hot-wire arrangement. The fence should be turned on in the evening before dusk, and turned off after daybreak. Electric fences should be used with care and appropriate caution signs installed. Wrapping filament tape around ripening ears of corn or placing plastic bags over the ears is an effective method of reducing raccoon damage to sweet corn. In general, tape or fencing is more effective than bagging. When using tape, it is important to apply the type with glass-yarn filaments embedded within so that the raccoons cannot tear through the tape. Taping is more labor-intensive than fencing, but may be more practical and acceptable for small backyard gardens.
Store garbage in metal or tough plastic containers with tight-fitting lids to discourage raccoons from raiding garbage cans. If lids do not fit tightly, it may be necessary to wire, weight, or clamp them down to prevent raccoons from lifting the lid to get at garbage. Secure cans to a rack or tie them to a support to prevent raccoons from tipping them over.
Prevent raccoon access to chimneys by securely fastening a commercial cap of sheet metal and heavy screen over the top of the chimney. Raccoon access to rooftops can be limited by removing overhanging branches and by wrapping and nailing sheets of slick metal at least 3 feet square around corners of buildings. This prevents raccoons from being able to get a toehold for climbing. While this method may be practical for outbuildings, it is unsightly and generally unacceptable for homes. It is more practical to cover chimneys or other areas attracting raccoons to the rooftop or to remove the offending individual animals than to completely exclude them from the roof.
Homeowners attempting to exclude or remove raccoons in the spring and summer should be aware of the possibility that young may also be present. Do not complete exclusion procedures until you are certain that all raccoons have been removed from or have left the exclusion area. Raccoons frequently will use uncapped chimneys as natal den sites, raising the young on the smoke shelf or the top of the fireplace box until weaning. Homeowners with the patience to wait out several weeks of scratching, rustling, and chirring sounds will normally be rewarded by the mother raccoon moving the young from the chimney at the time she begins to wean them. Homeowners with less patience can often contact a pest removal or chimney sweep service to physically remove the raccoons. In either case, raccoon exclusion procedures should be completed immediately after the animals have left or been removed.
Habitat Modification for Raccoon Control in Virginia
There are no practical means of modifying habitat to reduce raccoon depredations, other than removing any obvious sources of food or shelter which may be attracting the raccoons to the premises. Raccoons forage over wide areas, and anything other than local habitat modification to reduce raccoon numbers is not a desirable technique for reducing damage.
Raccoons sometimes will roll up freshly laid sod in search of worms or grubs. If sodded areas are not extensive, it may be possible to pin the rolls down with long wire pins, wooden stakes, or nylon netting until the grass can take root, especially if the damage is restricted to only a portion of the yard, such as a shaded area where the grass is slower to take root. In more rural areas, use of electric fences may be effective (see section on exclusion). Because the sod-turning behavior is most prevalent in mid- to late summer when family groups of raccoons are learning to forage, homeowners may be able to avoid problems by having the sod installed in spring or early summer. In most cases, however, removal of the problem raccoons is usually necessary.
How to Frighten Raccoons in Virginia
Although several techniques have been used to frighten away raccoons, particularly in sweet corn patches, none has been proven to be effective over a long period of time. These techniques have included the use of lights, radios, dogs, scarecrows, plastic or cloth streamers, aluminum pie pans, tin can lids, and plastic windmills. All of these may have some temporary effectiveness in deterring raccoons, but none will provide adequate long-term protection in most situations.
Raccoon Repellents, Raccoon Toxicants, & Raccoon Fumigants in Virginia
There are no repellents, toxicants, or fumigants currently registered for raccoon control.
How to Trap Raccoons in Virginia
Raccoons can be difficult to catch in traps, and it takes a sturdy trap to hold one. For homeowners with pets, a live or cage-type trap is usually the preferable alternative to a leg-hold trap. Traps should be at least 10 x 12 x 32 inches and constructed with heavy materials. They can be baited with canned fish flavored cat food, sardines, fish, or chicken. Place a pile of bait behind the treadle and scatter a few small bits of bait outside the opening of the trap and just inside the entrance. Traps with a single door should be placed with the back against a wall, tree, or other object. The back portion of the trap should be tightly screened with one-half inch or smaller mesh wire to prevent raccoons from reaching through the wire to pull out the bait.
Conibear®-type body-gripping traps are effective for raccoons and can be used in natural or artificial cubbies or boxes. Because these traps do not allow for selective release of nontarget catches, they should not be used in areas where risk of nontarget capture is high. Box or leghold traps should be used in those situations instead. It is possible, however, to use body-gripping traps in boxes or on leaning poles so that they are inaccessible to dogs. Check local state laws for restrictions regarding use of Conibear®-type traps out of water.
Raccoons also can be captured in foothold traps. Use a No. 1 or No. 1 1/2 coilspring or stoploss trap fastened to a drag such as a tree limb 6 to 8 feet long. For water sets, use a drowning wire that leads to deep water. The D-P trap and Egg trap are new foot-holding devices that are highly selective, dog-proof, and show promise for reducing trap-related injury. They are available from trapping supply outlets.
The “pocket set” is very effective for raccoons, and is made along the water’s edge where at least a slight bank is present. Dig a hole 3 to 6 inches in diameter horizontally back into the bank at least 10 to 12 inches. The bottom 2 inches of the hole should be below the water level. Place a bait or lure (fish, frog, anise oil, honey) in the back of the hole, above the water level. Set the trap (a No. 1 or 1 1/2 coilspring, doublejaw or stoploss is recommended) below the water level in front of or just inside the opening. The trap should be tied to a movable drag or attached with a one-way slide to a drowning wire leading to deep water.
Dirt-hole sets are effective for raccoons. Place a bait or lure in a small hole and conceal the trap under a light covering of soil in front of the hole. A No. 1 or 1 1/2 coilspring trap is recommended for this set. It is important to use a small piece of clean cloth, light plastic, or a wad of dry grass to prevent soil from getting under the round pan of the trap and keeping it from going down. If this precaution is not taken, the trap may not go off.
Shooting Raccoons in Virginia
Raccoons are seldom seen during the day because of their nocturnal habits. Shooting raccoons can be effective at night with proper lighting. Trained dogs can be used to tree the raccoons first. A .22-caliber rifle will effectively kill treed raccoons.
Many states have restrictions on the use of artificial light to spot and shoot raccoons at night, and shooting is prohibited in most towns and cities. It is advisable to check with state and local authorities before using any lethal controls for raccoons.
Economic Damage and Loss Caused by Raccoons
Statistics are unavailable on the amount of economic damage caused by raccoons, but the damage may be offset by their positive economic and aesthetic values. In 1982 to 1983, raccoons were by far the most valuable furbearer to hunters and trappers in the United States; an estimated 4.8 million raccoons worth $88 million were harvested. Raccoons also provide recreation for hunters, trappers, and people who enjoy watching them. Although raccoon damage and nuisance problems can be locally severe, widespread raccoon control programs are not justifiable, except perhaps to prevent the spread of raccoon rabies. From a cost-benefit and ecological standpoint, prevention practices and specific control of problem individuals or localized populations are the most desirable alternatives.
(Source: Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management – Prevention & Control of Wildlife Damage)
We are often asked by potential customers, How to remove raccoons from my Virginia house. Whenever you hear a noise in your Virginia home, it’s generally safe to assume there is an animal inside. Most homeowner are only familiar with mice and rat infestations, but are ill equipped to handle problems involving raccoon removal in VA. That’s why we recommend that you contact a professional Virginia wildlife removal and animal control company in Virginia.
For the best raccoon removal in VA – call us at (804) 457-2883 or toll-free at (877) 828-3878 for humane animal removal, animal capture, animal control, animal trapping, animal exclusion and animal management of all wildlife pests. You can also visit us on the web “CLICK HERE” for additional information on wildlife removal and animal control of pests in Virginia.
Still need information of raccoon removal in Virginia? <————Click Here