Opinions/Detectives Wanted For Raccoon Crime Scene

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Laurajean, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    I work for my ex, managing his Pest Control company. Here's a pic he took from a job site yesterday. A customer called and said she had "rodent damage". When he got there and saw this, he obviously realized this wasn't from rodents, and referred the job to a friend of ours who deals with wildlife pests (we deal with insects, mice, etc., where as our friend does things like raccoons, bats, squirrels). Our friend later told us that a raccoon did the damage, which is what we figured. This is the roof of a woman's house by the way, not a coop or barn, just her home.

    So the three of us got into a discussion about how this happened. Our friend said that when he went up on the roof it was clearly rotting because he could feel the give beneath him and was afraid he might fall through. So I said that my guess is that there must have been some damage at that area, such as a hole, lifted shingles, etc., that the raccoon picked at until he was able to completely dig through. Our friend said he disagreed, that a raccoon could just dig through a perfectly sound and solid roof and do the damage you see pictured. My ex/boss thinks that maybe the raccoon smelled the rotting wood and knew it would be soft enough to dig at.

    I joked that if we could get some crime scene detectives out there, that my guess is they would be able to piece that roof back together and find that there was some sort of existing compromise to that area of the roof that the raccoon saw and went for as the weak spot.

    So I thought I'd ask you guys to play detective with me. Do you think:

    1. That there must have been some sort of compromise visible, damage, a hole, lifted shingles, etc that encouraged the raccoon to dig?

    2. That there was no visible damage at all and that the raccoon just randomly chose a roof and dug the heck out of it until he got in?

    3. That the raccoon could smell the rotting wood under the roof and although there was nothing visible, knew to dig because of that?

    4. Other theories?

    Personally, I think there had to have been something there to tell him it was compromised. I'm not saying he couldn't have done this damage otherwise, but I'm not sure he'd have much incentive. Why would he just randomly choose what could have been a good solid roof and start digging a hole like that? I think it's more likely that he knew this roof could be dug into with little effort. By the way, nothing was found in her attic as far as seed, feed, or anything that would have attracted the raccoon other than the attic space itself.

    So what are your thoughts? I'd also like to hear not just what you think is possible for a raccoon to do, but also what you think is likely the motive for this raccoons' crime. Or is the criminal even a raccoon? Other possible suspects??

  2. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 15, 2007
    Austin area, Texas
    My take, just an opinion, is that the raccoon either was digging all around the roof until it found a place to get in or it dug through solid roof. I think the homeowner should have someone check other areas on the house for damage.

    I would also wonder if there was something in the wood that attracted the raccoon. I don't know why it would decide to make an entrance otherwise.
  3. jobeibi

    jobeibi Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 4, 2010
    Florida Panhandle
    That looks like something a raccoon would do.

    A coon did similar damage to our shingles, but there was nothing wrong with the wood underneath. He just started peeling and took up a whole lot of shingle before he gave up on the project.

    The job of removing shingles was so cleanly done that my husband thought it was done by a human with tools. We actually filed a police report for "vandalism" before we figured out it was a raccoon. I have pictures out on photobucket, but I can't get to them from work. I'll try to remember to post when I get home.

    ETA: I vote option 2. He just started digging.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010
  4. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    The wood looks like it might have fungus, which rots away the wood. I learned about this many years ago when I worked in Pest Control.
  5. tnchickenut

    tnchickenut It's all about the Dels!

    Jan 24, 2010
    Englewood, TN
    The raccoon very well could have done that without "damage". I put that in quotation marks because it looks like the roof was very old and built with out-of-date building techniques, so that right there makes it easier for the raccoon to get through.

    The seasons are changing. The attic is a very nice place to spend winter. I think that is about your only attractant for him/her doing this. I know that raccoons LOVE attics and every generation shows the next how nice and warm it can be when the humans pay the utility bill. [​IMG]

    It doesn't look to me like the wood in that spot is any more rotted then the rest. Can you not get in the attic and look at all the beams? Seems the owner really needs to re-do the roof. If money is a issue there are government programs that do roofs. I know because my mother's neighbor is a expert and finding and using these assistance programs and then brags about how much money she saved. She had her roof re-done and compared to this one.... she didn't even come close to needing it.
  6. jobeibi

    jobeibi Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 4, 2010
    Florida Panhandle
    Here are some stuff I found last year. (I never delete emails.) All this stuff was part of my research to figure out what in the heck was tearing up my roof. (They came back more than once.)


    Email from local pest control:
    Raccoons will get into any opening they can squeeze their heads through. They can rip into a roof’s decking, overhangs, shingles, gable vents and where two roofs meet, or simply anywhere they sense a void.

    A raccoon getting onto your roof is no trick, either. They have front paws that are hand-like and thin, long, agile fingers which allow them to climb trees and other structures. They’ll climb right up wood siding, stucco and brick. If you have vinyl siding with no trees to give them access to the roof, look at gutter down spouts. This is a common support system used to climb onto the roofs.

    Late March-May females are having young. Once they have found a safe quite place they will stay with their young for about 8-12 weeks.

    Wildlife services generally run from $125.00-$150.00 within the city limits. Rural areas run about $50.00 more. This involves live trapping with multiple traps. If a female is caught that has young, retrieving the young is usually difficult due to areas they prefer (low and tight areas). Removal of young may require opening walls or ceilings.

    You may wish to have a closer inspection of your home to determine if they have gained access and what will be required to remove or prevent access to your attic. This services runs $35.00 and will be deducted from the cost if you use or trapping service.​
  7. jobeibi

    jobeibi Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 4, 2010
    Florida Panhandle
    Here are pictures, as promised.

    You can see that there's nothing wrong with the wood underneath, and the rest of the shingles are pristine.
    Raccoons just don't need any incitement to start digging. It's what they do.


  8. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Quote:Interesting! Thanks for posting the pictures. I noticed in the email from the pest control guy he says one area they go to is "where two roofs meet". It does look like most of your damage is where that addition/bump-out meets the main roof. I wonder if there was an area there that they could lift more easily?

    I wonder what the raccoons are thinking, seriously. Is it that sometimes they find rotting roofs often enough to go around testing different roofs, and then abandon the effort if there's no rot??
  9. aprophet

    aprophet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2010
    chesapeake Va.
    One of the absolute best baits I have ever used to catch coons is either night crawlers or red earthworms if a coon found either on the roof he would dig looking for more if he caught a baby bird on the roof he would dig looking for more they are fond of digging once they find food the worms work best for some reason if they are fairly old / falling apart they have a louder oder
  10. Debbi

    Debbi Overrun With Chickens

    May 2, 2010

    Looks from your pic to be spots of bird poop on the roof. Are there any pigeons in her area? Are they sure there were no nesting birds, or old nests in the attic? I have bluebirds and phoebes nest in my attic all the time, and until I had a population of cats, I had 6' black snakes slithering straight up the side of my house to the attic, to get the birds! Coons would go after the easy to get to nests, even if easy meant clawing through some shingles and wood!

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