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Raccoons, Squirrels and Other Animal Intruders

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Raccoons, Squirrels and Other Animal Intruders


Unwanted animal visitors like raccoons, squirrels, mice, and birds can be a nuisance. As I deal with these common intruders, I’ve learned why they enter homes, the problems they cause, and how to humanely prevent them from getting inside. This article will cover these topics in depth to help homeowners understand and properly handle animal intrusions.

Why Animals Enter Homes

There are a few main reasons why wild animals like raccoons, squirrels, and rodents enter homes:

Searching for Food and Shelter

  • Wild animals are opportunistic and have adapted to live near humans. They can smell food inside homes.
  • Animals may also be looking for warm, dry shelter, especially in winter.
  • Access to garbage cans, pet food, bird feeders, and gaps in walls/roofs attracts them inside.

Nesting and Raising Young

  • Some animals like squirrels and mice come indoors to build nests and raise litters.
  • Attics and wall voids provide warm, secluded spaces ideal for rearing young.

Territorial Range

  • Raccoons have adapted to urban areas but still need room to roam.
  • As development encroaches on wild areas, raccoons expand their territory into neighborhoods.

Loss of Natural Habitat

  • Deforestation and urbanization destroys natural habitats, forcing animals towards homes.
  • Lack of food sources and shelter outdoors drives them indoors.

Problems Caused by Animal Intruders

If left unchecked, wild animals invading homes can cause considerable damage and health hazards:

Property Damage

  • Squirrels and raccoons may chew through shingles, fascia boards, and vents to gain entry.
  • Rodents like mice gnaw on wood and wiring once inside, increasing fire risk.
  • Feces and urine left behind also stains walls/ceilings and produces foul odors.

Noise Disturbances

  • Nocturnal animals like raccoons rummaging through trash at night can be noisy.
  • Squirrels scampering through walls and attics also creates unsettling scratches and thumps.

Health Risks

  • Feces and urine left behind can spread diseases. Raccoons in particular can carry dangerous parasites like roundworms.
  • Bites and scratches from cornered animals pose infection risk.
  • Rodents bring in fleas, mites, and ticks carrying illnesses.

Food Contamination

  • Wild animals get into stored food, pet dishes, garbage cans, and compost bins, ruining and contaminating these items.

Humane Prevention Methods

I always opt for humane, non-lethal methods to keep wild critters away from my home. Here are some effective tactics I use:

Block Entry Points

  • Use wire mesh, concrete, wood, or metal to seal holes along foundations, rooflines, attic vents, and openings around utilities.
  • Cover chimneys and install vent caps to keep out raccoons. Ensure gaps are less than 1/4 inch.
  • Trim overhanging tree branches that allow roof access.

Remove Food Attractants

  • Feed pets indoors, clean up spills promptly, and use secured lids on trash cans and compost bins.
  • Remove fallen fruit from yards and keep bird feeders at least 5 feet from the house.

Use Repellents

  • Sprinkle or spray natural repellents made with black pepper, chili pepper, or garlic near entry points.
  • Place predator urine granules or coyote decoys around the perimeter. The scent/sight scares small animals away.

Install Deterrent Devices

  • Attach wind chimes near common access points to startle animals with noise.
  • Use motion-activated sprinkler systems -突然喷水会把动物吓跑.
  • Place humane cage traps as a last resort for capturing and relocating stubborn animals.


Dealing with wild critters that invade homes requires understanding what attracts them inside and the damage they can do if left unchecked. The good news is there are many humane, non-lethal methods available to deter animal intruders and prevent unwanted encounters. With some knowledge and persistence, we can coexist peacefully with local wildlife near our homes.

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