What are Raccoons?
Raccoons are mammals native to Northern America, although today they can be found also in Europe and in Japan. These fuzzy animals are easily recognizable thanks to their bushy, ringed tail and the unique black furry mask that covers the eye area. Raccoons, also known by their Latin name Procyon lotor have an average lifespan of 5-6 years. These fox- like animals are roughly the size of a small dog. They mate around December, producing a litter of 3-5 young in the springtime. Don’t be fooled by their cuteness, when approached raccoons can be very frightening. In fact, some animal experts caution against feeding wild raccoons or keeping them as pets.
What does a raccoon eat?
Raccoons are omnivores, which means they eat both meat and plants. When it comes to plants, raccoons are happy eating all kinds of fruits and nuts. Their meat diet consists mainly of insects and vertebrates like bird eggs, fish, frogs and rodents. When food is scarce raccoons turn to very resourceful misfits that will eat anything they can find in the garbage cans. Though raccoons may look like nasty troublemakers, they are actually very clean animals known for washing their food.
Raccoons are creatures of the night. They sleep during daytime and more so in the winter when they live off stored body fat. As very curious and highly adaptable animals, raccoons can be encountered in many different ecosystems. Their homes called dens are typically found in caves, trees, barns or abandoned homes and vehicles. Raccoons are pest species known for their mischievous nature, especially when they are foraging for food in highly populated areas. These anti- social mammals prefer to live in attics, beneath porches or in the chimneys. The first signs of raccoons outside the house are damaged lawns and crops, raided trash cans and poop in the swimming pool. Once inside the attic, they make lots of noise and mess of tearing off the insulation paper and leaving a crazy amount of droppings. Raccoons are known for stealing pet food and their presence can alarm dogs and other household pets. These and many other reasons make raccoons a nuisance animal. Naturally, people wish to have them trapped and removed from their properties.
Diseases and Concerns
Raccoons are known as of the most common carriers of rabies in the United States. They can transmit rabies to people, other raccoons, squirrels and dogs from biting them. Rabies is a potentially fatal viral disease that affects the central nervous system. The first symptoms of rabies are anxiety, seizures and aggression. Raccoons also carry roundworms and leptospirosis that can cause serious infections. Dog owners should be extremely careful because raccoons carry canine distemper, which can kill dogs.
To keep your family safe follow these 3 simple rules:
- Never feed raccoons in your yard. That will only encourage them to return;
- Make sure your pets get the proper rabies vaccination;
- Cover all your trash cans and never leave pet food outside.
The safest way to deal with a possibly sick or injured raccoon is to call a professional wildlife control technician.
Efficient Ways to get rid of Raccoons
If you are absolutely sure that you are dealing with adult raccoons only, you can start small and try to get them to leave on their own. These techniques include using bright halogen lights, loud noises (turning the radio on or ultrasonic noise makers) and obnoxious smells (white vinegar). They work best when combined together at the appropriate time- at dusk. You can sprinkle Epsom salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper or garlic in the ground in areas where raccoons are not welcomed.
After they leave make sure to close all entries to keep them from entering again. Cover all entries with wire mesh with ½-inch openings or any hard material. The places where raccoons have lived are potentially harmful, so ideally, they should be cleaned by a professional service.
You will read all over the internet that the following can get rid of raccoons effectively;
- Using bright lights
- Setting up noise deterrent (turning the radio on or ultrasonic noise makers)
- Sprinkling cayenne pepper or garlic in the ground in areas where raccoons are not welcome
- Moth balls and scent pellets will repel them
- Raccoons can’t bear is the smell of ammonia or vinegar
- Predator urine will make raccoons think that a predator nearby
Trapping is by far the most efficient method for removal of raccoons. Hire a professional removal expert that will set the right type of trap and will be extremely careful when removing a female raccoon with pups in the attic.
The most efficient way of raccoon removal is by having a professional trapper trap and remove the animal. Once removed, make sure to eliminate the source that attracted the animal in the first place, whether is an open garbage can or a leftover pet food.