Unlike a small squirrel or mouse, raccoons can weigh from 12 to 20 pounds. This larger body mass means they have more strength and can wreak more havoc than other pests. On the positive side, keeping a raccoon out does not mean sealing every ½” hole as when dealing with rodents.
Raccoons are highly intelligent and have very dexterious hands. I use the word "hands" instead of "paws" because these hands have been known to open doors, hatches and windows. Jars and garbage cans are also easily breached by raccoons. They have been known to dig through siding and roof panels, pry open attic vents and invade crawlspaces. DIY Resource: http://www.networx.com/article/help-a-raccoon-chewed-through-my-soffit
Why Raccoons Chew Through Soffits
Raccoons like to make dens in chimneys and attics. Soffits are easy entry points for a few reasons:
- They usually will be within easy reach of a roof corner and have simple lightweight coverings.
- Soffits often have vents and raccoons can feel the warm, dry air. They think, "I'd like to live in there."
- Soffits are not exposed to weather, so in many cases their construction is very minimal and may just be a thin aluminum or vinyl panel which can be easily pried open by a raccoon.
- These areas are in low traffic areas of the home, so seeing the entry and damage can often go unnoticed for a long time. By the time you notice that a raccon has chewed through your soffit and entered your attic, the den may be having its population increase by a recent litter. Once the young are up and about is when the “party” starts and homeowners discover the extent of their problem. DIY Resource: http://www.hometalk.com
Move Them Out; Seal It Up
To effectively control the problem, all of the animals need to be removed, and all potential entry points need to be secured. A mother raccoon trying to get back to her kits is about as bad as it can get, so the removal process needs to be complete.
When repairing a soffit, simply snapping a missing panel back in place may not be enough. You'll have to install sturdy wire mesh, solid panels or bars. After all shouldn’t a “masked bandit” be behind bars?