How To Coax a Wild Animal Out of the House

Lets just say we recently learned our lesson about leaving the door to the deck propped open for the cats to wander in and out after dinner. Believe it or not, this little raccoon hid in our house all night and remarkably didn't make a peep (or break a thing). To say that we panicked in the morning is an understatement. But have you ever tried to get a wild animal out of your house?

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We'll spare you the list of failed attempts to lure the raccoon out, but suffice to say we did everything wrong and consequently we had no idea where the little guy was most of the day. It wasn't until evening that our friend found him hiding in a lasagne pan and managed to carry it out. When Animal Control called us back on Monday morning, they gave us some tips that would have served us much better:

Don't panic — Animals don't want to be in your house any more than you want them to be. If you run at the animal with a broom or a lacrosse stick, you'll scare it more and it may try and bite you, or run away in your house.

Don't touch it — Even if its a baby and looks harmless.

Close the animal into a room if you can — This is one of the times where an open-floor plan isn't so good. Without panicking or making noise, close as many doors as you can so that you can contain it in a room with a door to the outside. At least then you will be able to think too.

Open windows and outside doors — Open windows or outside doors so that it can get out. It wants to!

Separate your pets from the animal — Move your cats or dogs to another part of the house or out of the house so that they don't confront the animal and get hurt. If the house is quiet, the animal is more likely to come out of hiding and leave.

Be patient — You may need to wait until the evening. Raccoons, bats and some other animals may stay hidden until evening when they may start to get curious and wander out

Sprinkle Flour — If you need to leave or can't watch to see if it gets out, try spreading flour on the floor near the door so that you'll see footprints and know that it left.

To prevent this happening again, he suggested changing some of our living habits — taking the cat food up at night after the cats were done eating, and not to keep pet bowls near the door. And even though our "yard" is a 2nd floor deck, not to keep the door propped open for hours in the evening. Has a wild animal ever gotten in your home? Tell us your story!

Images: Jeanine Brennan

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