After 25 years of home watch service, checking attic gable vents, boots around roof penetrations, tampered chimney caps, pieces of asphalt shingles in the flowerbeds and of course discoloration on second floor ceilings is simply muscle memory.
The typical mating season on the Cape runs from January through the end of March though some claim this stretches into June; perhaps the hard to want crowd. During the nine week term from conception to birth, fiercely protective mothers will seek safe quarters and none better than an attic. In fact, left unchecked and/or marked, mothers will return season after season. I’ve had cases where insulation was replaced in order to remove the scent of the female while when ushering the mother out, male urine is often sprayed in the area as males will eat the young in order to begin the cycle over again. Females aware of the males will find a new nursery.
Raccoons need as little as 4” of daylight to find their way in and access is typically through attic louvers and the rubber gaskets around PVC vents through the roof. An unconventional compromise is in the chimney. If the damper is open all bets are off as it takes very little time for a raccoon to create a considerable amount of damage.
There are several measures that can be taken to assure these prospective timeshare owners set down roots at the neighbor’s.
How to get there – Raccoons will climb corner boards but the path of least resistance are branches. Trim everything at least 5’ from any roof surface.
Gable vents – These are the louver vents under the peak typically on each end of the house [the gable] designed to maintain circulation. These are often made of wood and will have simple window screening stapled to the inside to discourage bees, wasps, etc… PVC louvers will not only outlast the elements but aren’t nearly as tasty or comparably delicate as cedar. While PVC units may come with the gratuitous screen, apply ¼” wire to the face of the louver and secure it with screws and washers.
Chimney – Works for Santa. Even with dampers closed, raccoons with set up camp in the flu. The simple remedy here is a stainless-steel chimney cap and no coincidence given the time of year, Fowler Pest Control is in the spotlight this month and well versed at this application.
Food & Water – Trash barrels, water sources even bird feeders and seed will draw attention though for most watch/management customers, this isn’t an issue.
Deterrents – If your local hardware store is all out of male raccoon or coyote urine, ammonia is a simple turn off.