- They are mostly nocturnal. A normal raccoon will spend most of its time during a day or two within a 4-square km area.
- Raccoons generally become inactive by late October, only re-emerging for the mating season. However, they are not considered hibernators.
- A raccoon litter is usually born in April-May (2-6 kits) and weaned by fall (about 3 months of age). The mother raccoon will usually have 2-3 den sites. This means that if the primary den site is a problem, persuading the family to leave is rather easy since they have a back-up den.
- They are very good climbers. They prefer to stay out of sight, traveling in ditches, etc. They also travel at the edges of things (forest edges, stream edges, etc.).
- They can fit through surprisingly small openings: 2½-inch x 4-inch.
- They are often associated with water (canals, golf courses, etc.) and often den under buildings, wood, or rock piles.
- They are very good at getting into things (very dextrous hands).
- They eat grubs, insects, rodents and other small mammals, eggs, fruits, nuts and vegetables such as corn. They cannot resist sardines or grubs and love to hunt frogs.
- Fossils indicate that they have been around for at least 20 million years. They are in the same family as the giant Asian panda.
- They are a common carrier of the rabies virus. They can also transmit a variety of diseases to both pets and humans. Always approach an animal with caution and avoid feces (worms present in feces can remain dormant for years and then be reactivated).
IS THERE A PROBLEM? HOMEOWNER SHOULD ACCEPT NORMAL, UNOBTRUSIVE BEHAVIOR.
Refer to SELF-HELP if:
- The problem exists or is repetitive.
- Anyone is deliberately or inadvertently feeding it.
- The established activity patterns are a nuisance.
- The raccoon is confined but could probably leave on its own.
Refer to PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE if:
- The raccoon is confined and unable to leave without hands-on assistance.
- A young animal is orphaned.
- The animal is injured.
- A den is located on the property.
- A bite has occurred.
- The homeowner is unable or unwilling to exercise self-help options.
If a raccoon is confined but could leave on its own, open a gate or door to allow the animal to leave. Patch-up entryways in fences, gates, and foundations.
Removal of Attractants
- Remove pet dishes or uneaten food. Do not feed pets excess food that they might not finish in one meal.
- Garbage cans need tight-fitting lids (wired closed or with a weight on top works as well). A bungee cord dipped in a cayenne pepper solution (2 tsp. per litre of water) or ammonia stretched across the top also deters raccoons.
- Put garbage cans in racks or tie them down to prevent them from tipping over.
- To eliminate possible den sites: remove rock and woodpiles, securely close off entry under sheds, outbuildings, porches, etc.
- Harvest gardens and pick up fallen fruit frequently.
Habitat Modification & Exclusion
- Fencing: Since raccoons are good climbers, fencing generally requires a hotwire (electric) along the top of the fence. Make sure to repair holes and weak spots with a strong material (raccoons are very strong).
- If the raccoon is in the chimney, lower a rope (about 1 inch thick with a knot every 1-foot interval) to allow them to climb out, and spread repellents such as moth crystals or ammonia (talk radio works too) in the fireplace. When they leave, ensure that there are no kits left and cap the chimney.
- Lock pet doors at night.
- To persuade the mother raccoon to move her kits to the secondary den, turn a radio on to a talk-station and place a bright light by the den. This will disturb them and will usually force the mother to move her kits to another den.
- Make sure that the mother has all her kits. If they are separated, the kit will starve to death, squealing as long as it has the strength to do so.
- If raccoons are having fun rolling up new sod, drive V-shaped stakes into the ground until the grass can grow its own roots. In addition, before putting the sod down, sprinkle some cayenne pepper on the soil. Laying sod in the spring instead of summer is also a good way to prevent raccoon activity.
- Spray with water.
- Put ammonia-soaked rags where the animal is known to rest (pretty effective).
- Mothballs are not completely safe because raccoons are playful animals and might roll it around, leaving it accessible to children. Moth crystals are a better alternative.
- Spray this mixture all over the area: 1 cup Castor oil, 2 cups Murphy's oil soap, 1¼ cups of the hottest hot-sauce you can find and ¼ shot glass of human urine. Mix these ingredients together and place 1 tsp. per gallon of water. Obviously, the measurements can be altered to suit the amount required.
- Loud noises (clap hands, etc.) will usually drive it off.
- Raccoons do no like the taste of Epsom salts. Spread the salts around the area where you see the most activity.
- Spray Ro-Pel® or Critter Ridder®.
- For more great tricks go to Raccoon Controls
- Never attempt to catch or handle a raccoon. Also, never corner a raccoon because they can become quite dangerous if threatened.
- Relocation is not a permanent solution since another raccoon will simply take its place. More permanent measures should be taken. Relocation can spread disease, create problems in the area where the raccoon is deposited and kill the raccoon within 3 months (unfamiliar territory with sometimes aggressive occupants).
This is suggested when all other measures have been taken and it is determined that the raccoon may need to be removed from the property.
- Humane Wildlife Control (514-395-4555)
- In the case of a bite: If a domestic pet has been bitten, bring the pet immediately to the vet. In off-hours, emergency cases can be brought to DMV, a 24-hour veterinary service. However, this clinic, though extremely thorough and knowledgeable, is also quite expensive. If a human has been bitten, bring them directly to a hospital.
- Maintain minimum contact and keep pets at a safe distance.