Pest Identification: Raccoons

Raccoons are intelligent, curious nocturnal mammals that can be a nuisance to homeowners by destroying gardens, tipping over garbage cans, and causing structural damage. They are native to most of North America and have recently appeared in parts of Europe and Japan. Preferring wooded areas with access to trees, water, and vegetation, raccoons traditionally make dens in tree hollows or abandoned burrows, but are highly adaptable and can inhabit urban areas, using structures like attics and sewers for shelter. 

Raccoons are omnivores, eating a variety of foods including birds, eggs, fish, shellfish, frogs, fruit, insects, nuts, and seeds. In urban settings, their diet shifts towards human food and trash. They are most active at night, especially in spring, summer, and fall, sleeping in their dens during winter. Raccoons breed in late winter, with females giving birth to 1-6 kits in April or May and are protective of their young for about a year. 

Adult raccoons are independent by 12-14 months and live in loose-knit communities for protection. They communicate using over 200 different sounds and 12-15 different calls. Their dexterity allows them to open containers and climb efficiently, contributing to their potential destructiveness. Signs of raccoon presence include tipped trash cans, raided bird feeders, damaged crops, and distinctive tracks with five long toes. 

Raccoons can carry diseases and parasites transmissible to humans and pets, such as leptospirosis, salmonella, roundworm, and rabies. Though raccoon-related rabies cases are rare, it's important to be cautious around them. 

Interesting raccoon facts include their habit of rinsing food in water or rubbing it to clean, their inability to taste sweetness, the potential glare-reducing purpose of their black mask, and their longer lifespan in captivity of up to 20 years. A group of raccoons is called a nursery. 

If you think you might have a problem with Racoons, please contact the licensed PAC experts at Ford’s Hometown Services who use professional-grade racoon control solutions and traps for racoon removal. 

Remember that by law, you cannot trap, remove or relocate a wild animal from your property to another. It requires skilled assistance from license PAC (Problem Animal Control) professionals. 

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