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Raccoon invasion season underway in Indianapolis

With the wet spring season upon us, more and more homeowners in central Indiana are reporting raccoons scratching, tearing and burrowing their way into homes and attics.

Maryjo Reed lives in the the city’s northwest side and when she had her home painted this year, she said her project manager noticed a hole in her roof.

“He sent me a picture and was like, ‘Hey Maryjo you might have this checked out, because it looks like a little critter is trying to get into your house,’” Reed said. “There was this big hole like somebody with sharper fingernails than I had had dug in.”

She hired Kevin Byrd from Commercial & Residential Construction, who noticed two other damaged spots on her roof during the repair work.

“They’re cute, but they’d be cuter if they were on my neighbors roof instead of mine,” said Reed.

Kirk Neuner owns Admiral Wildlife Services, and says in 2017 alone, he trapped 468 raccoons in Indianapolis neighborhoods.

“The females are busting into new houses and having their litters,” he explained. He says one family of raccoons breaking into a home’s attic can do $20,000 to $30,000 in damage.

“Basically the quicker they can get in the better,” he said, pointing out that water-logged weak spots on a roof or exterior call can make an easy entrance. “But if she wants in that attic and there’s no rotten wood she’s going to she’s going its going to happen.”

As for what you can do to prevent the furry stowaways, Neuner recommends an annual roof inspection and a routine check of your property, looking closely for scratch marks.

Jacque Veney, Maryjo Reed’s neighbor and local realtor, agrees.

“We’ve had other houses in the neighborhood where they have torn the roof along the gutters and got in that way, they’ll climb up trees, up down spouts, and once they get in, they can do a lot of damage,” she said.

She also recommends checking your property regularly, and avoiding the pitfall assumption that a new home is a safe home.

“They’re very strong. They’re very dexterous with their hands. They can climb, they can scratch. Obviously they’re strong if they can rip all the way through siding,” Veney said. “I’ve seen them come in through roof fence, tear sockets. They’re very destructive.”

As for what happens to the raccoons after capture and eviction, Neuner explained Indiana state law requires the animal be relocated to a property within the county it was found, or requires its humane euthanization. He said in urban Marion County it’s difficult to make relocation a reality.

“Once you add all them up we’re into the thousands, so it’s very difficult to find someone that says, ‘Okay Kirk I’m going to allow you to relocate your thousands of animals onto my property,’” he said.