Raccoons causing damage to people's homes

- With warmer weather, wildlife experts are seeing an uptick of raccoon sightings all across the city. 

In Rice Military, residents said raccoons are digging holes through their roofs and eating their plants, costing them hundreds, even thousands of dollars in repairs. 

Amanda Ducach is just one of many residents in the Rice Military neighborhood that are frustrated with raccoons destroying their plants, scratching at their houses and ripping holes through their roofs.

"There's a lot of frustration that's going on right now. Every day, people are posting about raccoons eating fig trees, coming on the roofs, scratching. There's been a lot of roof damage. There's something about roofs and attics that they're drawn to," Ducach said. 

"You hear the scratching and the scurrying sound and you gotta go figure out whats going on before it's too late," resident Tina Schwartz said.

Wildlife removal specialist, Jimmy Catchings is the owner of the Critter Squad. He said last month alone, his team removed over 70 raccoons!

"When these mama raccoons are having their babies in attics, that's the only thing these infants know. Born in attics and they're just continuing what they're taught," Catchings said.

His best advice is not to leave any food outdoors. Anything from dog, cat and bird food, even fig trees and other plants can attract raccoons. And the worst culprit of all-- trash cans! 

"Raccoons are very tenacious, very strong, very intelligent. They have good dexterity with their hands. They can climb anything," Catchings said. 

Getting rid of them may be expensive: inspections start at $169 and removing them can range anywhere between $350 to $4,500 depending on the severity of the problem. 

Raccoons can also carry rabies and other diseases, and they're aggressive, so trying to handle these critters by yourself is not only dangerous, but it could mean breaking the law. 

"There are lots of little laws and restrictions, especially during certain times of year. You've got certain animals we deal with that are actual rabies factors.You can't just simply be a member of the community, trapping an animal and relocating it. If you do that, you could potentially be breaking some laws," Catchings said.

Experts also recommend using a bungee cord or some sort of lock to secure your garbage cans so raccoons can't get inside and rip through your trash. Just be sure to remove the locks before taking the cans out for pick up. 

Raccoons are also nocturnal animals so if you spot them during the day, don't touch them, there could be something wrong with them. 

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