When we hear the word Raccoon many things come to mind such as cute, fuzzy, sneaky, pesky and little bandit just to name a few. These smart and curious creatures definitely make their presence known and they don't seem too shy about it. Our neighbors of the night are not moving out anytime soon, so to create a comfortable environment between humans and our wildlife friends, let's learn a little about the Raccoon.
What is a Raccoon?
The Raccoon or (Procyon lotor), is a mammal reaching anywhere from 2 to 4 feet in length, and can weigh anywhere between 10 to 50 pounds. Their coloring can range from black and grey to white and yellowish orange (in some albinos). They have a rough coat and a black mask over their eyes. The tail has a ringed pattern and is bushy. The ears are short and stand upright. They have a long and pointed muzzle and hands which they can use for digging, grabbing, and climbing. Raccoons are warm blooded making them susceptible to many diseases.
Raccoons can be found throughout many parts of North America. Although wooded areas tend to be the ideal habitat for racoons, many of them have adapted to urban areas throughout the United States. Out in the wild, a raccoon's diet would normally consist of fruits, nuts, grain, clams, fish, mice, turtles, rabbits, muskrats, and some birds. In Urban environments, raccoons have adapted to eating garbage, cat and dog food, coy fish and gold fish from outdoor ponds, and fresh fruit/vegetables from outdoor gardens. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the attraction of Raccoons to your area:
- Feed pets inside your home instead of outdoors. If you must feed your pets outside, make sure the food is removed as soon as your pet is finished eating.
- Remove water sources and place screens or netting over outdoor ponds.
- Manicure your yard, trimming back trees and bushes will help create a more open space, which is less inviting to our wildlife friends.
- Do not leave pets outdoors unattended.
- Make sure outdoor trashcans or bins are fitted with tight lids.
- Remove fallen fruit off of the ground.
- Keep outdoor gardens in a fenced area or greenhouse structure.
- Seal off entry ways underneath raised foundations.
- Make sure there is no access or entry points to a garages, sheds, attics and roofs.
- Make sure pets are up to date on their vaccines, raccoons can carry rabies and canine distemper which is contagious to pets
By taking the extra steps to reduce the interactions between us and our wild neighbors we can comfortably coexist with one another.