Raccoons are medium-sized mammals who are the largest member of the order Procyon. They're among the most easily-identified nuisance animals in South Carolina and throughout the United States because of their distinctive "masked" facial features and their ringed tails. They're also one of the strongest, smartest, and most determined of all the critters we deal with, and have the best manual dexterity, as well.
Being strong, smart, and determined might not be such bad things in themselves if raccoons weren't also so rude and ornery. Aside from having rather nasty dispositions, raccoons are among the most destructive of all nuisance animals. They often cause serious damage trying to get into a home, but even more serious damage once they succeed.
Raccoons usually get into either the attic or the crawl space of a home. Once they get in, they do a lot of damage and make a lot of mess. They tear away at insulation and heating ducts, shred stored clothing and upholstered furniture, tear window screens, and poop and pee all over the place. You'd think that seeing as how they're living rent-free they'd take care of the place, but they don't. They almost seem to enjoy deliberately damaging things.
This is one of the reasons why raccoon problems should be taken care of as soon as possible. The longer they stay in your home, the more damage they do, and the more expensive it will be to rectify and clean up -- and that's not even including the damage they do to your stored property.
Like nuisance animals in general, raccoons carry parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites, some of which can or are suspected of being able to transmit arboviral diseases. Their urine and droppings also can stink up a house in a big way, especially if your air-handling equipment or flexible duct work passes through the area where the raccoons are living. Their droppings also attract disease-carrying flies and other insects and can serve as breeding media for various molds and fungi, some of which can cause human illness.
Raccoons also present a safety risk, especially if you don't yet know they're in your home. If you happen to go into the attic, crawl space, or other place where raccoons are living, they may attack you -- especially if the raccoons is a female guarding her young. Remember, the raccoon thinks that you're the intruder in their home, not the other way around.
Quite often, raccoons will build nests in chimneys during the warmer months. This causes an obvious fire and smoke hazard the first time the heat or fireplace is used in the fall.
Raccoons also have a fairly high incidence of rabies, a viral disease that affects the nervous system and is incurable once symptoms start to show. Rabid raccoons can exhibit widely varying symptoms, none of which are conclusive. A definitive diagnosis requires killing the animal and examining its brain. Some possible signs of rabies in a living raccoon, however, include being out and about in the daytime, listlessness, passivity, staggering or moving very slowly, drooling, vocalizations, or unexplained aggressiveness.
If you are bitten or scratched by any wild raccoon, whether it's showing symptoms or not, or if believe that you have come in contact with its saliva, you should seek medical care immediately. If the raccoon is aggressive and you must kill it, try to spare its head for necropsy.
As an aside, rabies treatments aren't as painful as they used to be. The standard protocol begins with a shot of something called RIG (Rabies Immune Globulin) near the area of the bite or scratch. That one kind of smarts. It's followed by a series of four rabies vaccine shots over the next two or three weeks, which are given in the deltoid and are no more painful than any other vaccination. So don't let fear of the treatment scare you away from seeking medical help if you think you've been exposed. These aren't your grandad's rabies shots.
Long story short, rabies becomes incurable soon after exposure, and it's a miserable way to die. So don't take any chances. If you think you've been exposed, get yourself to a doctor or hospital right away.
Raccoon removal is accomplished by trapping, followed by repair of the damage they caused and exclusion from the home or building. This can be challenging because raccoons are very intelligent and very physically strong, so they're able to figure out and defeat poorly-done raccoon-proofing attempts. Fortunately, our guys are even smarter and stronger than raccoons are, so we always manage to outwit them.
Once the raccoons are removed and the house sealed up, we clean up after the raccoons, remove and dispose of their filth, treat the area for shed parasites if needed, and remove and replace the contaminated insulation in most cases. We do all this work ourselves using our own staff and equipment, so you're assured of our high commitment to quality and customer service from start to finish.
Rid-A-Critter provides raccoon trapping and removal throughout the Columbia and Aiken, South Carolina areas. Please contact us for more information about how we can help you with your raccoon problem or to schedule an appointment.
Raccoon Control Gallery
Here are pictures of some of the raccoon-removal jobs we've done.
Thwarted raccoon entry attempt in Columbia
Raccoon entry hole into a house in Columbia
Young raccoon awaiting relocation after removal
Raccoon in the attic of a house in Columbia SC
Raccoon damage to an attic in Aiken SC
Do-it-yourself raccoon control - FAIL
Raccoon damage to the soffit of a Newberry home
Raccoon kicked insulation out of attic in Columbia
Raccoon damage to soil line vent in Columbia
Raccoon damage to the roof of a Sumter home
Raccoon damage repair in-progress in Columbia
Raccoon damage to a house in North Augusta
Raccoon hole in a house in Columbia
Raccoon removed from a home in Beech Island
For more information about raccoon control or any of our fine services, please contact us.