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Old 11-17-2016, 09:13 PM
Location: Lockport, IL
99 posts, read 136,746 times
Reputation: 210


Hello Fine folks

I live in the suburbs of Chicago, in a raised-ranch that I am renting from My brother in-law. Long Story short, My husband and I moved into this house to take over the mortgage for my brother-in-law because he bought another property that he & his wife fell in love with, but couldn't swing both mortgages. Because My Brother-in-law and his wife lived in this house for a good 16 years, but being first-time homeowners, didn't know much about home maintenance, and so did not do much regular upkeep all that time, this home now has numerous issues.

When we moved into this house in 2011, it was understood that in exchange for paying only the amount of the mortgage, instead of the high rent he COULD of charged, my husband would do all the necessary repairs, remodeling and maintaining of the home. However, in June of 2012, my husband died of a massive heart-attack. My brother-in-law has been very good to me since then, but basically, all the home maintenance and upkeep has been left up to me now. I handle what I can (Thank the lord for YouTube & the KIND folks who upload how-to videos!) but this issue really has me troubled.......

Sometime around July of this year, I discovered that a Mother raccoon had made a home of my attic and had her five babies up there. Over the summer I noticed the babies congregating on my garage roof, unable, yet, to climb down the tree right next to the roof to go scavenge for food with their Mom. I seen where they were getting in and out of my attic (Right where the house roof-line met the garage roof-line) which happened to be right next to my living room picture window, that has windows on each side that are openable. I popped out the screen, and the babies (and sometimes Mom) would walk across the window sill to eat cookies and/or peanut-butter smothered crackers, right from my hand! I was in LOVE! they were so gentle, loving and appreciative! I have never in my life encountered wildlife such as these adorable little creatures!

By September, a neighbor, good friends with my brother-in-law & his wife, informed my brother-in-law that there were raccoons in our attic (Thankfully, the neighbor DID NOT tell my brother-in-law that I was hand-feeding them!) and he did not do it to snitch, he just didn't realize that I knew as He seen them up on the garage roof one day when I was not home. My brother-in-law, an animal-lover himself, but recently dealing with a pack of raccoons in the attic of HIS property, told me that once I notice the babies able to leave (go down the tree) that I should throw smoke-bombs in the attic and then once they run out & away, seal up the opening they were getting in from.

To this day, I have not seen them leave! I watched, waited, even set up a camera by that tree, but it did not catch anything! There are now only three left there, two of the "babies" now appear to be full-grown, and the other is a runt, small, but I know the same age as the others. I KNOW they now leave as I've woken up to my garbage all strewn about the front yard and driveway, yet I have not been able to catch them doing so.

The problem is now, my electricity keeps flickering on and off (Power lines run near the left-side of my roof), they yanked flashing off the front porch overhang, I hear them up there all night like they are bowling or something, scratching, running about, fighting and lord knows what.....I have been afraid to go up there to even SEE. The ONLY smoke bombs I have been able to find are the kind you light on July fourth and I cannot place those up there as My Mother-in-law left all sorts of books and dolls and Christmas decor up there when she once lived with my Brother & Sister-in-law and I am afraid such smoke bombs would start a fire. I have seen on other forums that people used bug-bombs, but I do not wish to poison them (or the other animals and humans inside my home) I tried the loud blasting of music a few days ago, for around two hours and somebody called the cops on me. My other neighbor's son set up a trap for me, and at one point caught one of the raccoons, but it appeared as though one of the others broke it out! I am at a loss as to what to do right now

I was told that in Illinois, the law is if you trap a raccoon, you must kill it. I CANNOT DO THAT! I just CAN'T! and I was told that if I called in a trapper to take care of them (which I cannot afford anyway), that they will definitely Kill them!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me there are other animal-lovers on this forum that can tell me exactly what to do to get these critters to leave! My biggest fear now is that they will find the attic trap-door in the closet of my bedroom (the other is in the garage) and either figure out how to open it (it just slides over) or fall through it! I have two German Shepherds, an elderly Lab/Border Collie/Boxer-mix, three indoor cats and a hamster in my home, as well as two daughters and my elderly Mother who also lives with me. I am terrified as to what may happen if these adorable, yet seemingly destructive, critters ever got inside my home! Last night, they were making all sorts of noise right above that closet attic trap-door in my room! I banged on the ceiling with a swiffer mop and they scurried away, but there's no telling if they would return to that spot and figure out a way in.

Please do not berate me for letting this go as long as I have. I now KNOW I was wrong to feed them, and I KNOW it was wrong to not do something about this long ago, but please understand that this is NOT the only issue I am trying to deal with in this house (you have NO idea!), on my own, while also working a full-time job. I'm just overwhelmed and really trying to do the best I can. Plus, I cannot bear the thought of them being murdered! My Brother-in-law would KILL me if he knew I let it get to this point! Can someone here PLEASE help me!?!? PLEASE!?!?

Old 11-17-2016, 09:21 PM
Location: West Virginia
12,436 posts, read 31,491,210 times
Reputation: 8140
Why should they leave since you are feeding them. Call some one that live catch & relocate them. IF your BIL Home burns down do to them messing with the electric lines Yep Killing you be correct! But most likely the Coons you are being nice to will Die of Electricution!
Old 11-17-2016, 09:32 PM
Location: Las Vegas
3,582 posts, read 5,738,492 times
Reputation: 4260
You might try calling your state wildlife rescue for help/advice.

You are correct in believing this needs to be taken care of asap.
Old 11-17-2016, 10:01 PM
Location: Texas
5,621 posts, read 13,018,903 times
Reputation: 10710
Simple and cheap. Go to the dollar store and buy a couple of boxes of moth balls. Throw them up in the attic. They can't stand the smell and will move on. I think you need to know that next to dogs, coons are the #2 animal that carries rabies. You do NOT want them around at all no matter how cute you might think they are. If you have a dog, a coon can kill a dog faster than you can holler. They can be EXTREMELY vicious.
Old 11-19-2016, 11:46 AM
Location: British Columbia ♥ 🍁 ♥
7,216 posts, read 6,570,009 times
Reputation: 14141
AngelEyez, I am so sorry to read about your problems. I read this post last night then spent a long time deliberating whether or not I had the heart to respond to it because what I have to say is not good news. I see that nobody else has had the heart to tell you the entire hard truth either, but somebody has to tell you because you don't seem to fully realize how much danger you and your family, pets and house are in now.

You say you don't want to see the raccoons be "murdered" but you need to ask yourself whose lives are more important to you now, the lives of the raccoons or the lives of you and your family and pets? Because those raccoons have now turned the house into a potential death trap for your family and you are going to need professional help to deal with it. As well you WILL be needing to tell your BIL about it, the sooner the better, because the house is still his property and responsibility and he is going to end up having to lay out some cold hard cash in the long run when all is said and done.

If the lights are flickering that means the raccoons have damaged the electrical wiring and that means the house is at very grave risk of fire. Extreme risk. The longer the raccoons are there the more damage they will continue to do to the wiring and the greater the increased risk of fire. After you get rid of the raccoons you will need to have an electrician as well as other professionals go up there to assess all the damage and other risks and fix it as soon as possible. This is something you cannot avoid, it has to be done or all of you could end up dead or homeless.

An electrician will need to be warned about how long the raccoons have been up there because he will have to get dressed in protective gear to protect himself from infectious diseases and vermin as well as hazardous damage that will have become pulled apart and strewn around in the attic. Take my word on this, I have seen attics and other buildings where raccoon families had free reign and the damage they can do can be unbelievable and indescribable.

Those raccoons have been up in your attic using it as a toilet for the past few months and raccoons crap everywhere on everything. Your MIL's possessions and any other items up there will have been opened up, chewed and torn apart, scattered about, crapped on and completely trashed. But that is not the worst of it.

Raccoon feces can carry infectious diseases, parasite eggs and bacteria that are air borne and may be in the rest of the house now so those diseases are a danger to your family and pets as well as to the clean-up crew who need to be prepared when they go into the attic. Raccoons also carry fleas and lice and ticks so you should check your home and pets for those things too and you might have to get a pest exterminator to treat the attic and lower part of the house.

Here is a website explaining about the 4 worst diseases carried by raccoons: 4 Common Infectious Diseases Spread By Raccoons

Lastly, if those raccoons come in contact with any of your pets, either inside the house or outside of it, they will kill your cats and can inflict very serious damage on your dogs, possibly kill the dogs too if they are ganged up on by a pack of raccoons. Then there is your kids and mom too, you don't want them getting savaged by a pack of raccoons.

So I will say this one more time. You must ask yourself whose lives are more important? The raccoons or your family? If you feel that your family and the house are more important then you already know what you have to do about the raccoons.

I wish you good luck with all of this, you will need it, and I'm very sorry to be the one to inform you of all of the above. I've done the best I could to inform you of very real dangers that you need to know about and I've tried to not sound judgemental.

Good luck my dear.

Old 11-19-2016, 12:35 PM
Status: "Funny. Like, a clown." (set 28 days ago)
1,076 posts, read 645,043 times
Reputation: 2267
Get a professional. Tell them you want them all relocated to the woods, and follow the trapper in your car to watch. I totally get your love for animals. Just don.t do a poison as that goes into the food chain for the birds and such.
Or wait til momma is out for dinner with them all and seal up the openings: hire a compassionate handyman who understands.
You need to then simplify your life with having elderly dogs and such. It will be painful to have a pet put down but it sounds like you have too much on ur plate overall.
I did the same thing (feeding, letting them stay) when living in the burbs but my wildlife comapnions moved on. Good luck. You don.t want them crashing thru the ceiling. Find a handyman. Joys of home ownershi+. LOL!
Old 11-19-2016, 12:53 PM
Location: British Columbia ♥ 🍁 ♥
7,216 posts, read 6,570,009 times
Reputation: 14141
Originally Posted by TrapperL View Post

Simple and cheap. Go to the dollar store and buy a couple of boxes of moth balls. Throw them up in the attic. They can't stand the smell and will move on. I think you need to know that next to dogs, coons are the #2 animal that carries rabies. You do NOT want them around at all no matter how cute you might think they are. If you have a dog, a coon can kill a dog faster than you can holler. They can be EXTREMELY vicious.
Trapper, I agree with the rest of your post but I disagree with the suggestion of moth balls to make the raccoons move out. If it was smaller animals like mice, rats, squirrels or birds living in a smaller enclosed space then mothballs might be simple and effective, but not on a pack of raccoons in a spacious attic. The OP has a much more serious problem, a truly dangerous health hazard up there.

Those raccoons have been living up there for months crapping and urinating daily in what probably amounts to a stinking, crawling cess pit now. If they can tolerate the stink of piles of their own feces, urine and the fumes of ammonia soaked into floorboards and insulation, and mold on rotting food and garbage that they've brought up there, the smell of mothballs is not going to bother them, it won't even be noticeable to them. They won't leave because of mothballs.

Old 11-19-2016, 01:16 PM
2,288 posts, read 2,616,874 times
Reputation: 7023
Zoisite, that was the nicest post I've ever read that had to get after another poster. If only everyone could talk over problems without having to degrade others. Wish I could rep you a thousand times.

Nothing to add OP, but I'm sorry for the troubles you're having and for the loss of your husband. Good luck and I hope all goes well.
Old 11-19-2016, 01:38 PM
Location: British Columbia ♥ 🍁 ♥
7,216 posts, read 6,570,009 times
Reputation: 14141
Originally Posted by earslikeacat View Post

Get a professional. Tell them you want them all relocated to the woods, and follow the trapper in your car to watch. I totally get your love for animals. Just don.t do a poison as that goes into the food chain for the birds and such........
I won't comment on all the rest of your post but in god's name, what makes you think town raccoons will survive in the woods in winter if they are relocated?

A professional won't do it. A professional will professionally and honestly tell the OP that they are town raccoons. They are habituated to city life, that is the only life they know. They depend on humans and all the things that humans have been providing them with. Safe shelter and food and lots of garbage and not a lot of wild predators trying to kill them.

You can't relocate a family of city raccoons to the wilderness at the beginning of winter and expect them to survive and not starve and suffer while being attacked by other wild animals defending their own territory and whatever little amount of wild food is available in the woods in winter. If they are lucky enough to survive the first few days they will find some farmer's property and home and will become a farmer's problem. Then the farmer will have to kill them.

I know it sounds unfair and cruel but if the raccoons don't leave the house voluntarilly (which they won't) these raccoons need to be disposed of properly and quickly by a professional and that means they need to be killed humanely, without any suffering.

It's just an all round horribly sad situation for everyone involved, it makes me cry just thinking about it, and it should not be compounded by giving the OP bad advice that is so unrealistic.


Last edited by Zoisite; 11-19-2016 at 01:49 PM..
Old 11-19-2016, 02:15 PM
16,018 posts, read 19,666,166 times
Reputation: 26195
By harboring these animals you have risked all of your family and your pets.

Have you been in your attic? I'll guarantee it is full of feces and parasites from these raccoons living up there so long. You really need to call a pest control company that can get these animals out of there and sterilize and repair any wiring that has been damaged, before it is too late.
Hope these links will help.

Raccoons in the Attic - Guide To Humane Raccoon Removal

Attic Restoration - Cleanup and Decontamination from Raccoon Poop & Urine

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