How Raccoons Master the Art of Squeezing into Tiny Spaces

Raccoons may seem cute and natural, but their behavior can be highly destructive, causing significant challenges for homeowners.

Once inside a house, they wreak havoc without remorse, even surprising well-prepared homeowners with their cunning methods.

Their unique anatomy enables them to slip through tiny openings, as narrow as 4 inches, making them both charming and unpredictable.

Let’s explore the fascinating evolution of these creatures and how they’ve developed the ability to break into houses through the tiniest entry points. Keep reading to learn more!

Raccoon is stuck in a ceiling upside down while someone is pulling it out with a safety pole.
Someone removing a raccoon that got stuck upside down in a ceiling.

How Raccoons Fit into Small Spaces

Raccoons are renowned for their remarkable ability to squeeze into tight spaces. Here are some insights into how they achieve this feat:

  1. Flexibility: Despite their relatively large size, raccoons exhibit exceptional flexibility. They can contort their bodies to fit through openings significantly smaller than their actual size.

  2. Compressible Fur and Fat: Raccoons have ample fur and fat that can be compressed as they navigate narrow spaces.

  3. Persistence: These creatures are known for their determination. They will exert considerable effort to access a desired space, even if it requires squeezing through a small opening.

  4. Small Openings: Remarkably, adult raccoons can slip through openings as minuscule as 3-4 inches in diameter.

  5. Opportunistic Nature: Raccoons are opportunistic by nature and will exploit any available opening to gain access to food, shelter, or other resources.

By grasping how raccoons manage to infiltrate small spaces, you can take preventative measures to safeguard your home or property.

This may involve sealing any gaps or openings in your home’s exterior, securing your garbage cans, and eliminating potential food sources from your yard.

For additional information you can refer to our guide on ‘How to get rid of Raccoons.’

Why Do Raccoons Squeeze Into Small Spaces

Much like many other living beings, raccoons are perpetually on the hunt for essential resources required for their survival.

Their keen senses enable them to detect the aroma of food and other provisions, which is why they sometimes set their sights on your house and household items, such as garbage bins.

When the scent emanates from inside a home, raccoons will relentlessly seek opportunities to infiltrate it.

This is precisely why they frequently locate and maneuver through small spaces. In essence, they are driven by their quest for sustenance or, in adverse weather conditions, any form of shelter.

How Tight Can Raccoons Squeeze

A raccoon’s body exhibits an astonishing ability to squeeze through openings as small as 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Adult raccoons can achieve the same feat, but with holes measuring 4 to 5 inches wide. Their petite skeletal structure enables them to lean and bend through tight spaces effortlessly.

The presence of their fur coat further aids in their ability to slide through even the roughest materials. When a raccoon is determined to access a location, it will persist until it succeeds. Their inherently stubborn nature drives this persistence, especially when it comes to infiltrating homes.

Can a Raccoon Fit in a 2-Inch Hole

In most cases, the majority of raccoons require at least a 4-inch opening to pass through. Young raccoons might manage to squeeze into 3-inch holes, but they typically do so only if they can follow an adult. If the parent raccoon can’t fit, they won’t attempt it on their own.

While a 2-inch hole won’t accommodate a raccoon, it’s essential not to overlook such spots when inspecting your property. Raccoons possess formidable teeth and jaws and can gnaw through certain materials to gain entry.

Can Raccoons Collapse Their Spines

When you flatten a raccoon, you can observe their skeleton remarkably flattening out. This is their secret to squeezing into spaces as narrow as 2 inches in height, maneuvering effortlessly without requiring additional room for movement. It’s indeed an impressive feature of raccoons.

Can Raccoons Get Through Walls

While not a common occurrence, raccoons can indeed infiltrate walls. If you hear a raccoon scratching at a wall, it typically indicates that they are trapped and attempting to break free.

Occasionally, this can occur when female raccoons are relocating their young from one location to another. Although less frequent, males may also find themselves in such situations.

What Do Raccoons Sound Like in Walls

When a raccoon becomes trapped inside a wall, you’ll likely hear distinctive sounds of scratching and tapping. This noise typically results from their attempts to dismantle ductwork and burrow through insulation. In some cases, they may gnaw on materials to create additional space for movement.

If this situation occurs, you’ll undoubtedly recognize it as a raccoon. Their reputation for clumsiness often precedes them, and when a raccoon is stuck, they tend to create havoc in their vicinity, potentially waking up an entire house. So, you’ll have no doubts about what’s happening.

How Do You Get a Raccoon Out of Your Wall

Attempting to remove a trapped raccoon from your wall on your own is strongly discouraged. Always rely on professional services for this task.

However, if you’re seeking to understand the process, there are several approaches:

  1. If the raccoon is accessible: Use a snare pole to carefully capture it and then gently extract it from the house.

  2. In cases where the raccoon isn’t easily reachable: You may need to cut into the wall near the noisiest area to locate and extract it (ensure you know where to make the cut).

  3. When cutting a hole is necessary: Always cut ABOVE the raccoon’s location to prevent harm to the animal and provide an opening to safely grasp it by the neck.

Remember, this isn’t a task for amateurs. It’s crucial to have a thorough understanding of the process or seek professional assistance to ensure the safety of both you and the raccoon.

Are Raccoons Able to Live Under My House

Raccoons often take refuge beneath houses, a behavior we frequently observe in solitary raccoons or alpha males marking their territories. You may also witness female raccoons with their offspring seeking shelter beneath houses, far above the ground.

However, this doesn’t imply exclusive residence; raccoons will still venture into attics and other locations. Yet, under houses remains their favored spot for evading predators and potential threats. It’s also a place they might choose to raise their young.

To Conclude

Indeed, raccoons showcase their intelligence and ingenuity when it comes to infiltrating homes. One of the most effective strategies to avert such situations is proactive prevention. Stay vigilant, and you’ll find that most raccoons won’t stand a chance against your defenses.