Get out of my attic, Raccoons! - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Get out of my attic, Raccoons!

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

When you think of raccoons, your first mental image might be a cute little furry thing with a dark hair mask across its little face. But if your home has been invaded by raccoons, the words cute and furry are about the last words you will use to describe Mr. and Mrs. Raccoon and the kiddies.

Meet your worst nightmare. The raccoon. Most people think of this little critter as a wild animal. The truth is the raccoon is a lot more like a rat; more live in the city than in the country and both love living with us humans more than living out in the woods.  

The problem is they are not good house guests.  The damage to property caused by raccoons runs in the millions each year all across the country, and fall is moving time.

Dave Rdidgely from Stewart Bros. Hardware says, "You're going to hear about it this time of year due to the fact that it's cold. They want to stay warm just like anybody else so they are trying to find a place."

Pankie McDaniel has seen a raccoon family casing her house and she says it's not gonna happen.  "I mean they come out (of) that sewer. My daughter, she said, 'Momma look, look don't come back out the house.' say why, she say raccoons out there and they all along here and running over there, right across the steps and right over there on that cactus. 'how many of em?' 'A family of four.' 'Were they big?' ' was huge, one way huge never seen one like that, never seen a raccoon before no way.'"

Pankie says they come out of the storm drain after dark every night and back in before sun up. They are nocturnal so you will never see them during the day but they roam wide and far at night.

Pankie says, "I called the wild life department, and (the) lady told me she said nothing they could do but you could shoot 'em 2 per day but how could I shoot em I never did might hurt myself.  I guess the poor things are looking for somewhere to stay but it ain't here. It aint here."

No one wants to share a home with a raccoon family!  Number one because they are dangerous.

"Please, please do not try to approach these animals. It does look cute but are very dangerous and very aggressive. If you try to go towards them like if they are in a box all asleep and hidden you need to leave them alone," says Lorrie Newton from A-1 Wildlife Service.

Now, you would think to look at a raccoon 'cause everybody says how cute they are but they can cause thousands of dollars in of damage in a home but it also keeps A-1 Wild Life in business. There is no shortage of raccoons.

Cody Newton from A-1 Wildlife Service says, "And you got raccoon fleas, you got leptospirosis, you got all that stuff then get up there and start peeing and stuff on your boxes your Christmas ornaments."

The best defense is making sure your home is raccoon proof.  No holes or spaces for them to get inside. Do not leave food outside. Pet doors are a real problem. Fish ponds are like raccoon sushi and never, never feed raccoons!  You think feeding a cat is bad, they can't eat your house and we have not even touched on rabies.  

There are a number of do it yourself options out there from live traps, to high frequency sound boxes that drives all kinds of wild animals away, to the old fashion mothballs in a bag hung from the ceiling of your attack. If you do hire someone make sure they are certified and bonded. And did I mention-DON'T FEED THE RACOONS.

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