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General Raccoon Information

Raccoons are common throughout much of the USA. In the wild, they prefer living near streams, rivers & lakes and they require trees, brush and other cover. They usually make their homes in trees, logs, crevices, abandoned animal burrows and in your home or business. Raccoons are opportunistic feeders, taking whatever is available. Fruits, berries, acorns, insects, fish, grasshoppers, mice, birds, snakes, eggs and fish make up the bulk of their diet. They also feed on corn and other cultivated farm crops. Raccoons are intelligent adapt to living in close association with people.

They are very common in urban areas, but since most of their foraging is done at night, they often go undetected.

In urban communities, raccoons live virtually any place that offers protection. The most common sites are in attics and chimneys, or under houses and woodpiles. Since raccoons are omnivorous, there is a wide variety of food available to them in urban areas. Dog and cat food, fruit trees, bird seed, vegetables in home gardens, and garbage in trash cans provide an easy meal.

Facts About Raccoons

Raccoon are tough creatures, they can endure a lot of hardship and have some surprising abilities:

  • Raccoons are capable of achieving body masses made up of 50% body fat
  • Their tails can make up 50% of their length
  • Raccoons do not hibernate. During extremely cold periods raccoons have been known to sleep for long periods.
  • Raccoons climb with great ease and are not bothered by a drop of 35 to 40 feet!
  • As well as being agile climbers, these animals are also very strong swimmers
  • Raccoons have a highly developed tactile sense. Their human-like forepaws are used to pick up food with their front paws before putting it in their mouth.
  • Raccoons can live up to 16 years in the wild, but most don't make it past their second birthday.
  • A captive raccoon was recorded living for 21 years!
  • Raccoons generally have one litter per year that typically consists of 4 babies. Although they can have 3 to 7.
  • Sexual maturity often occurs in females before they are one year old
  • Raccoon pelts have been harvested since the colonial period.
  • Raccoon pelts may still be sold as imitation mink, otter, or even seal fur.

Some Diseases directly transmitted by raccoons

  • Raccoon Roundworm
  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Giardiasis
  • Rabies
  • Leptospirosis
  • E. Coli
  • Baylisascaris Procyomis
  • Salmonellosis

Damage

Raccoon eat and contaminate food and animal feed. They also damage containers and packaging materials in which foods and feed are stored. Both Raccoon species cause problems by gnawing on electrical wires and wooden structures such as doors, ledges, corners, and wall material, and they also destroy insulation in walls and ceilings for nesting.

Raccoons will often seek to gain entrance into a home or business through attics and chimneys. Chimneys are becoming more attractive dens than the traditional tree hollow. This will often cause plugged chimneys and a back draft of smoke into your home.

Often raccoons will tear off shingles, chew holes in soffit/eaves or facia boards in order to gain access to your attic. The raccoon is able to climb close hanging tree limbs and jump to the home or business to gain access as well.

Raccoons are also a major problem for health reasons. They will defecate and urinate all over the attic & in walls. This introduces parasites, bacteria and other nasty microscopic creatures to the interior environment of your home.

Then there is Raccoon death. A dead raccoon inside the walls of your home or business. The smell is legendary & suffocating, difficult to remove, and not something you would ever want to experience.

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Raccoons