December 2, 2008 8:27 AM   Subscribe

Any ideas on how to remove a raccoon from my basement suspended ceiling?

Apparently we've got a raccoon that found it's way into our suspended tile ceiling area recently - we've heard him moving around, found yellow spots soaked into the tiles (yum!) and at one point lifted up a tile to spot him trundling around up there. We're not sure how he got in - we have a townhouse, so vents or shared wallspace with neighbors is an option.

He's not always present, so if we get a pest removal group to come out, I'd like a way to ensure he's still obtainable by the time they arrive. There's not much space for a cage trap or anything where he circulates - maybe 12-14" of clearance up there, and lots of cables/pipes etc. We thought about poison, but then we'd have to track down a mouldering carcass in our walls in a week... no fun there. I considered laying out a hundred glue traps, and just bundling him up when he got too gummed up to move, but that's starting to get silly. Any ideas, hivemind?
posted by FatherDagon to Home & Garden (17 answers total)
Have you thought about removing all of the drop ceiling tiles?
posted by banannafish at 8:32 AM on December 2, 2008

Toss some moth balls up there. It works on squirrels.
posted by bondcliff at 8:39 AM on December 2, 2008

Call a pro, raccoons are dangerous. Just my 2 cents ;)
posted by Echidna882003 at 8:40 AM on December 2, 2008

If the raccoon is coming and going you need to find the access point and stop it there.

posted by mandal at 8:44 AM on December 2, 2008

12-14" ought to be enough room to get a Havahart or similar trap in there. Also, what mandal said.
posted by box at 8:48 AM on December 2, 2008

Seconding that you call a pro.

Steer clear of the poison. I used coumadin poison for rats in my attic a few years ago and rued the decision after they started croaking in the walls. Also, it could ingest the poison and then croak outside someplace, which might be dangerous for whoever comes along to eat the carcass.
posted by jquinby at 8:49 AM on December 2, 2008

Second calling a pro. Also, from personal experience, there is going to be a large amount of raccoon poop all over the place up there.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:49 AM on December 2, 2008

pro, pro, pro. raccoons are dangerous and can carry infectious diseases. don't mess with them.
posted by krautland at 8:54 AM on December 2, 2008

As someone who was once almost attacked by a freaked-out raccoon, I can attest to their dangerousness. Yes, call a pro -- and no, don't poison.
posted by OolooKitty at 9:02 AM on December 2, 2008

We always used havahart traps for small mammals around our house, and they worked well. Looking at that coon trap, it seems you'll need 14 inches of clearance. If you've got that, you can fit the trap in. We used to rent ours from farm supply stores nearby; you might see if any hardware stores or anything carry them for rental.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:07 AM on December 2, 2008

Whatever you do do it fast. You say he/him but if that is a momma raccoon then she might be getting settled to have some baby raccoons.
posted by collocation at 9:10 AM on December 2, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips - we haven't seen it coming in/out of the house walls or anything, so we don't know the access point. However, from the sound of it a pro is the way to go... I'll call up and see what we can get in the immediate future. Thanks!
posted by FatherDagon at 9:20 AM on December 2, 2008

1. moth balls are sporadic at best as a deterrent.

2. find the access point and close it down, a raccoon sized hole is a serious hole and needs to be dealt with one way or another, a big enough raccoon sized hole may also admit foxes, squirrels, skunks.... etc etc.

3. Haveaheart works well if you have the space but see #2, just trapping and removing will do little if the access is not removed as something else will move in.

4. professionals, found in your phone book, also will work well, but again see #2.

5. Poison = bad idea for many reasons
posted by edgeways at 9:25 AM on December 2, 2008

The SPCA should lend you a live trap. Bait it with a small can of cat food with punched holes in the lid. Raccoons are a pain in the ass. They can do a lot of damage, they are not afraid of much, and they can be extremely vicious when provoked.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:32 AM on December 2, 2008

Since you already decided to call a pro, I will just add from bitter personal experience to not EVER use mothballs as a creature deterrent. Why? Because they STINK your entire house out and are also a human deterrent. Its a long (and amusing) story that involves me spending several hours on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day crawling around in the attic of my house amongst the rat skeletons, retrieving the mothballs that our neighbour suggested we throw in there to drive out the roof rats. Note that mothballs are also brittle, and when chucked into an attic, smash into several pieces, all of which have to be searched out and collected by hand. Which took 3 days. :-|

So yeah, call a pro, don't poison and don't use mothballs.
posted by Joh at 9:49 AM on December 2, 2008

I had a big, nasty stray tom cat take up in my basement, piss all over everything, and hide above a lath and plaster ceiling. I had to get a saws-all and cut holes in the ceiling to try to grab the scary bastard, and I sill had a hell of a time. After having refused ample opportunity to make a safe escape, he finally left on his own while I was armoring
myself before trying one last time to grab him.

You'll have an easier time because of the suspended ceiling, but that will be more than made up for by the inherent ruthlessness of raccoons. We had pros trap a large number of them who had taken to making regular raids in our yard. They are aggressive. I've had them advance on me, and my dog. A mother racoon took to drowning the housecats around where she'd taken up to guard against the possibility the fat, lazy cats might possibly look at her ruffian kits funny in the future. Just a few weeks ago, a raccoon a neighbors pit bull tried running off a raccoon in her back yard. Instead, the raccoon attacked, and was only driven off by the combined effort of by both her border collie and whacks with a stick.

So yeah, the couple hundred you spend on a pro will be well spent.
posted by Good Brain at 10:28 AM on December 2, 2008

Listen to this around 19:00 (The Squirrell Cop segment)

then call a pro.
posted by sully75 at 11:53 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

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