It’s hard to imagine that there was a time when I actually thought that raccoons were cute. I was aware that they can potentially carry rabies and that many people think of them as pests,but they seemed rather harmless. In fact, at times I found their antics to be amusing. I rather enjoyed watching the clumsy, overt attempts of the brazen creatures as the scuffled alongside the house and riffled through the garbage. They acted as thought they were searching through a treasure trove of tossed goodies, a buffet of mangled leftovers fit for raccoon royalty. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t listen to my young son’s pleas to investigate the strange thumping and knocking noises that originated from the attic of our Davidson, North Carolina home. I figured the raccoons were just living in the trees or somewhere nearby, not raccoons inside my house.
I tried to justify the unexplained sounds – I knew that rats couldn’t cause these noises, for those rodents are stealthy and scurry rapidly, so I wasn’t too worried (I loathe rats.) Still, I was a little concerned that some kind of critters had taken residence in our attic. Sometimes during the day and night I’d hear what sounded like a symphony of scampering and clunky walking, but I ignored the sounds in the same manner one ignores a cavity that subtly rots and decays over time until it turns into a costly, painful root canal. I didn’t know (or at least until it is was too late) that these little critters can wreak havoc on one’s home and (in my case) sanity. Let me explain…
Once I realized that the tricky little bandits scouring the neighborhood in search of food were likely the unwanted visitors thumping about my attic, I decided to do a little investigating. I was too scared to climb the ladder to the small confines of my attic, a space that I later discovered had been home to a family of raccoons for over six months, so I consulted the Google Gods to help me make sense of their invasion. I discovered that attics are ideal habitats for raccoons, as they provide dry warm living spaces for mothers to give birth to and tak
e care of their young, or kits.
I wondered how raccoons could manage to get into my attic, as it is a rather well sealed space. Apparently, according to a conglomeration of sources, raccoons are gifted climbers that can maneuver along the sides of a home, and once they’ve climbed far enough, they can make their way through an open vent hole and they can tear open walls and soffits. At this point, I felt pretty sure that the critters were in my attic.
As contemplated what to do, I did another Internet search, this time on the health risks involved with contact with raccoons. My heart skipped a few beats as I read that raccoons can carry a roundworm intestinal parasite that can cause an illness called Baylisascaris infection. According to the Center for Disease Control, infection of the illness in humans increases with the close proximity of raccoons near human dwellings. Apparently, people can contract the illness by coming into contact with raccoon feces, which is likely to happen if raccoons spend time in your yard and in your home. I felt gripped with anxiety as I imagined Denise, my youngest child, coming into contact with excrement as she played make believe in our backyard. My nerves were further frayed when I saw that the Center or Disease Control listed nausea, loss of muscle control, and coma as potential symptoms of the illness.
A couple hours later, just before I fell asleep, I vowed to get help for my raccoon problem in the morning. That night, my sleep was punctuated by nightmares of raccoons climbing through my windows or down the ladder from my attic, and in my alarmingly realistic dreams I made valiant efforts to save my children from the determined critters. The next morning, I called a few of my neighbors, and it turns out that some of them also experienced problems with raccoons invading the attics of their homes.
I was given the name of a reputable animal removable company that serves the communities of Charlotte and Lake Norman, North Carolina. I called them immediately and I was immensely relieved to know that I had contacted a company that prides itself on the humane removal of animals and I was elated to learn that they assist in the cleanup and repair needed after a raccoon infestation.
I am relieved that I received help with the problem, but I regret that I ignored the problem for so long. All the insulation had to be replaced, the area had to be disinfected and deodorized, and there was electrical wire damage that had to be repaired. Next time something like this happens, I will definitely call Animal Solutions, Inc. first, as I know they will efficiently and humanely remove animals from my home, which gives me and my family peace of mind. I no longer think raccoons are cute, entertaining little things, but at least they no longer haunt my dreams.