You most likely do not want a raccoon to stroll right into your house, sit down at the dinner table with your family, and devour all of your food. If you really don’t want that, which I imagine you do not, here are some facts that’ll help you become aware of how raccoons manage to wiggle their way right into your home and personal space.
In truth, raccoons can open doors, windows, and locks due to the strength of their memory, high intelligence, and nimble hands. Their memory allows them to learn and repeat actions such as how to open doors, pull screens from windows, and open locks.
You might be shocked to learn that a raccoon can sneakily enter a building. So how exactly do raccoons find their way into your home via a door, window, or lock? Here are a few of the ways these animals manage to do so.
How Do Raccoons Open Doors, Windows, and Locks?
It’s hard to believe that raccoons are capable of opening doors, windows, and locks. How do they do it? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out!
Let’s take a closer look at these little bandits and find out how they use their strength, dexterity, and memory to get inside our personal space.
Raccoons Climb Up The Side of Your House
Raccoons may look cute and petite when they are a safe distance from you. Up close, not so much. So be careful not to let them enter your home or personal space.
Raccoons can climb heights to the upper floors of your house. They can climb up your house and actually find their way into your chimney where they may want to nest. The chimney is reminiscent of a dark and cozy den where raccoons go to give birth to their babies.
Raccoons can also climb up to a window and easily dislodge it carefully and meticulously with their paws which are small and nimble.
From there, a raccoon may find its way into your attic or an open space in the house. They can also make their way to the crawl space beneath your homes and any sheds or outside abodes that you may have.
Raccoons Enter Through Pet Doors
You most likely do not want to keep a raccoon as a pet so be ultra-aware of your pet door if you have cats or dogs who use it to get in and out.
A pet door is a quick and easy way for a raccoon to enter without you or anyone else taking much notice.
Be sure to keep your pet door secured so the raccoons can not use it as an entryway. After all, you installed that door so your pets can enjoy the outdoors and return to the comfort of their home when they are done doing so.
One way to keep your pet door safe is to look into products such as the CEESC Extra Large Cat Door. It will safely lock the door so you do not have to worry about any unwanted intruders at night or when you are not at home.
Also, bring your pet food inside at night so it does not tempt the raccoon to come near your doors or windows.
Raccoons Open Windows
Raccoons can enter your home via a window or door even if they are closed and locked! Honestly, they are that smart.
Raccoons’ paws are similar to humans’ thumbs. This unique trait allows them to easily pull, grab, or open things.
They can dislodge a screen or cover with little to no problem. Yanking open a door or window is no big hurdle for them.
Hence the reason why you may find a raccoon opening a garbage can and burrowing its way through to find food. Or why you may be washing dishes at your kitchen sink one day only to look up into the face of a sly raccoon who sneakily opened the window.
Raccoons Can Open Locks
Yep, we’re serious.
Have you ever forgotten the code to a lock and stood there in frustration as you tried multiple combinations to figure out what it could be? Or frantically searched through your bag for the accompanying key because you were positive that was where you last left it?
Well, raccoons generally do not have that problem.
Raccoons are highly intelligent animals with a memory that will retain information for many years even as they age.
Raccoons are extremely skilled and conscientious when they use their hands to open various things. Once they successfully open a lock, they can remember how to do so for a long time.
They memorize digits and codes and, surprisingly, even the raccoons’ offspring watch and observe as their parents unlock things so they will remember how to do so on their own!
Raccoons are incredibly fast learners. They are quick to pick up information and store it for later use. So remember not to underestimate these rascals.
Stay Calm If A Raccoon Enters Your Home
You have now learned that raccoons may, unfortunately, enter your home through a door, window, or even a lock. So what do you do when this happens?
Firstly, remain calm if you see a raccoon enter. Do not panic. It will be okay!
Be sure to leave the room where the raccoon is located. You can isolate the raccoon in that room by itself. Just be sure to leave another door or window open and eventually it will find its way back outside.
Some people even make noise or leave a trail of food to help get the raccoon to scurry away.
Putting A Lid On It
Now that you know and understand how raccoons can open doors, locks, and windows, you can better prepare your house for a possible unwanted visit from a raccoon.
Always be aware and cognizant of how a raccoon can find its way into your house. Make sure to take precautionary measures to keep them away so they can never find their way into your personal space. Then the only animals you will find inside your house will be the pets whom you love and adore!
Davis, H. B. (1907). The raccoon: A study in animal intelligence. The American Journal of Psychology, 18(4), 447–489.
Cole, L. W. (1908). The Raccoon: A Study in Animal Intelligence. The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods, 5(13), 358-362.
Pacini-Ketchabaw, V., & Nxumalo, F. (2016). Unruly raccoons and troubled educators: Nature/culture divides in a childcare centre. Environmental Humanities, 7(1), 151-168.
Pettit, M. (2010). The problem of raccoon intelligence in behaviourist America. The British Journal for the History of Science, 43(3), 391-421.
Raccoons. Retrieved from WildlifeNYC. https://www1.nyc.gov/site/wildlifenyc/animals/raccoons.page
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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