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INDIANAPOLIS — Residents of a neighborhood on the north side of Indianapolis are seeing more and more raccoons breaking into their homes.

“People are calling us every day about raccoons in their attic, in their walls, in their garage,” said Grant Newton, a raccoon trapping expert with Critter Removal Indianapolis. “It’s a problem all year round but once it gets colder, they like to go into houses even more. They need warmth and shelter as we do.”

Butler-Tarkington is a close-nit area in the area of 49th and Meridian in Indianapolis. Residents tell WISH-TV raccoons have always been around, but that this year they are getting even bolder in their search for food and warmth, climbing down chimneys and through doggy doors and making themselves right at home.

“They’re everywhere!” said Lori Small, a teacher who’s lived in the neighborhood for nine years. “Fortunately, I’ve never had a raccoon in my house but I hear them at the bird feeders every night.”

“They’re coming down the chimneys and walking around the houses,” she said of stories she’s heard from her neighbors. “You see little sooty footprints all around the house and around the toilet. One lady asked if they could come up through the [pipes&#93 because she saw a lot of footprints around her toilet.”

On social media, some people are talking of experiences in which they’ve seen raccoons showing signs of distemper. 

Symptoms of distemper include discharge from the nose and eyes, digestive issues, trouble breathing, a rough coat of hair, emaciated appearance, disorientation, seizures, and paralysis. The virus can be fatal in raccoons. Distemper is not the same disease like rabies, although some symptoms are similar. 

Homeowners who come across a raccoon in their house are urged to call the professionals rather than trying to deal with it themselves.

(PHOTO: Kirill Kukhmar/Getty Images)