HUMANE SOLUTIONS TO RACCOON PROBLEMS
Length: 2-3 feet nose to tip of tail
Color: Black – Pale Brown
Reproduction: There are two breeding seasons that raccoons can choose from: spring (April-June) or fall (August-October).
Litter Size: 1-7 Young weaned at 2 months
Home Range: Raccoon ranges vary from 1-3 km with lower population densities in areas with scarcer resources. Raccoons tend to prefer wooded areas where they can climb trees when feeling threatened, but they adapt well to most environments where there is food and shelter availability, including farmlands, suburban, and urban areas.
PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES:
Raccoons may carry a roundworm that can infect humans who accidentally ingest or inhale the roundworm eggs that are passed through the raccoon’s feces. Raccoons, like all mammals, are susceptible to rabies and are very sensitive to canine/feline distemper. They may also be host for leptospirosis and giardiasis. Take responsibility for your family’s pets’ health by preventing contact with wildlife and keeping their vaccinations up-to-date.
In addition to being entertaining to watch, raccoons are great at helping control rodent and insect populations. Raccoons are opportunistic feeders and will eat carrion when available; in urban habitats this is often from road kill. Raccoons will also feed on young vertebrates and other injured animals.
Humans account for most raccoons deaths. Starvation causes most raccoons to die by the age of 3 years. Most predators won’t face the ferocity of a full sized raccoon, bobcats, fishers, mountain lions, and coyotes, are capable of overpowering one. Occasionally, a great horned owl will take a young one.
PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS:
Raccoons, like all wildlife, need food, water, and shelter. If your yard or home is providing any one of these items you may be attracting raccoons to your home.
1. Be sure to eliminate all food sources:
• Do not leave pet food or scrapes outside. If you have to feed your pet outside, then remove all food at night.
• If you feed the birds make sure your feeder is placed where raccoons cannot get at it and clean up all spilt seed at night.
• Keep BBQ Grills clean or stored in a secure place, such as a garage or shed.
• If you have a fruit or vegetable garden, commercial or homemade repellants may keep raccoons away. Pick mature fruit and vegetables, and pick up fallen fruit.
• Use metal or heavy plastic trash containers with tight fitting lids and secure it with chain or bungee cord.
• Keep large trash dumpster lids closed. If a young raccoon gets into the dumpster but cannot climb out place a 2x4 board at a 45° angle into the dumpster and the raccoon will use it as a ladder to climb out. They may wait until dark to vacate.
• If you have an ornamental pond with fish, cover it at night with nylon netting.
2. Keep raccoons from nesting in or around your home.
• Trim overhanging tree branches that may provide easy access to your home or attic.
• Put a 24” wide band of sheet metal around trees to keep raccoons from climbing them. This will also help keep raccoons out of fruit trees.
• Cap chimneys and cover window wells
• Make sure all vents, screens, and other possible access points to your attic are secure.
• Lock pet doors at night.
• Use hardware cloth buried 18”-24” deep and attached to the side of decks, sheds and other structures to prevent raccoons from digging underneath them and nesting.
• Seal any entries to crawl spaces.
*Take care when sealing off areas that there are no babies present.
RACCOON IN THE ATTIC:
Inspect attic to determine where access is occurring. If the raccoon is present, encourage it to leave by increasing activity, turning on lights, and radios. In small attics, place ammonia rags near their nesting site at night to encourage them to leave. In large attics this does not work, because the fumes do not accumulate enough. Once the raccoon has left, make necessary repairs to seal the area permanently. Inspect outside for tree limbs providing access to your roof. Trim any limbs hanging over/near your house.
TRAPPING AND RELOCATING:
Relocating individual raccoons away from their home range, without altering the habitat, is merely a short term solution. Relocation animals will cause more long term problems for the homeowner by actually increasing the local population. By removing existing raccoons you invite others to come in and compete for new resources created by the available territory, resulting in more raccoons than you had before, in a relatively short period of time. Due to increased resources, litter sizes tend to increase as well.
Larimer Humane Society does not trap and relocate nuisance wildlife.