Tips for protecting your home from raccoons, other wild animals

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- High Point police tweeted a photo of a masked intruder inside a home. It’s not a burglar, but a raccoon clinging to the inside of a window. Police say the critter got in the home through the ceiling more than a week ago on Tipton Street.

The president of McNeely Pest Control, Scott McNeely, says he’s seen things like this happen before.

“We've actually in the past had raccoons come in on a couple of occasions, eat the pet food in the kitchen going back up and down through the chimney,” McNeely said.

He also says this time of the year; it is more likely that it could happen to you.

“This time a year we're running into a lot of young animals or parental animals that are forging for young, that can create human encounters or potential conflict,” McNeely said.

McNeely’s team can trap animals like squirrels and chipmunks and release them back into the wild. Animals like coyotes, foxes and raccoons need to be exterminated if caught. McNeely says that’s the last option.

“We prefer to have folks modify the conditions if at all possible to make them less attractive,” McNeely said.

McNeely recommends you look at your home’s foundation to make sure crawlspaces are closed and cracks are covered. He also says you should make sure there are no tree limbs touching or near your home.

“That can provide an easy pathway for squirrels, raccoons, even opossums to get access onto the house,” McNeely said.

You should also check your attic and have a cap on your chimney.

Outside your home, make sure the garbage and recycling cans are tightly shut, no pet food is left out, bird feeders are brought in overnight and vegetation is kept up.

McNeely says if you follow these simple rules, your home should stay critter free.

“The animal can go on and live happily ever after, we hope not causing a problem,” McNeely said. (If not.) “We can step in and take care of it.”