Raccoons

The raccoon’s nocturnal exploits have earned it a place throughout American culture. They are best known for their curious and mischievous nature, especially when it comes to trash cans. Many home and business owners are forced into protective measures so their refuse isn’t scattered on a nightly basis. In fact, such actions earned the raccoon movie roles like the one in The Great Outdoors. It’s hard to believe that such a pest has earned both our ire and affection.

Habitat

Typically, raccoons prefer to inhabit hollow trees and logs near lakes and streams. They are known to venture into populated areas becoming a nuisance as they search for refuge and forage for food. Raccoons will, also, use existing structures to construct a den. Some of their favorite habitats are the areas beneath porches and outbuildings, attics, and chimneys.

Diet

During the months of spring and early summer, diets consist primarily of insects, frogs, fish, and crayfish. They are known to roll back sod in search of earthworms and grubs (doing significant damage to lawns). During late summer and fall, raccoons move to nuts, grains, berries, fruits, and sweet corn from gardens. Whether local residents or simply foraging, easily observable signs of raccoon activity are damaged lawns and raided garbage cans.

Reproduction

Raccoons are very social animals within their family groups. They mate from January to February, and females carry the young for approximately 60 days. A standard litter produces 3-6 young. At about 2 months of age, the young raccoons will begin accompanying their mother on outings to find food. The family group usually stays together for about one year. Upon maturation, an adult raccoon will vary in size from 24 to 46 inches in length and 12 to 25 pounds.

Control & Treatment

Since raccoons enjoy raiding trash cans, it’s best to use ones made of tough materials like hard plastics and metal. Cans should have tight fitting lids and straps or clamps to help hold them shut.

Finally, it’s recommended the cans be tied to a support or placed in a rack where they can’t be tipped over. Raccoons have an affinity for chimneys, as well. Access to this area can be restricted through purchase of a commercial spark arrestor cap or heavy screen wire secured over any openings.

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