These animals are smart and resourceful. They have learned to adapt to urbanization in their territory. Re-locating them is illegal and does not solve the problem. If one leaves, another will take its place.
Wildlife centers see a high volume of babies each year because trappers are called to remove raccoons. Because the mother is healthy she can’t be brought to a rehab center. She is not relocated. But, by the time the professional trapping is finished, the mother is no longer in the picture, the babies are orphaned, and wildlife centers are forced to take them in and try to raise them as best they can. Raccoon babies need 8-12 months of learning with their family and mother. That is why it is better to learn how to co-exist and make your home and yard undesirable. Raccoons are smart enough to learn to move on and find a new place to live and raise their families.
- Raccoons like to make dens in trees, caves, barns, attics, or other man-made locations.
- They are nocturnal and spend more time sleeping in the winter months.
- They are clean animals who like to dig specific areas to serve as bathrooms.
- They are omnivores eating vegetation and meat. They eat fruit, berries, nuts, fish, insects, bird eggs, frogs, and rodents.
- If food is scarce or if human food is easy to obtain, they will take advantage of garbage cans, koi ponds, outdoor pet food, etc., and make an easy meal for themselves.
- Raccoon babies(kits) are born in the spring. Mothers can have one to seven babies.
- Babies live in their den for 3 months before venturing out for a bit. At the 3-month mark, they usually start to roam at night but return home to their mother and den when finished.
- It takes 8-12 months for babies to be fully independent of their mother.
Ways to Discourage
- Digging your lawn: They are probably trying to find grubs. Deterrents include hot sauce, timed sprinklers, sensor lights, or ammonia-soaked rags. The key to using strong scents is to refresh them every evening.
- Eating your garden: Sweet crops like grapes and corn are their favorite. Pay close attention just before you harvest and try leaving a talk radio on near the crops or the above yard methods for a few nights.
- Fishing in your pond: There are a couple of options depending on the depth of the pond. If the pond is at least 3 ft. deep, you can create hiding places for the fish and frogs with cinderblocks or river rocks to tuck into. The other option is fencing around and on top of the pond, combined with the use of sensor lights, sprinklers, or strong scents.
- Diving in your trash cans: Secure lids with bungee cords and place a heavy rock on top. If you know you have raccoons, it is best to take them out to the curb on trash day rather then the night before. You can also freeze smelly food items to avoid having the odor attract the raccoons.
If raccoons use your woodpiles as a bathroom, do not use the wood unless it is placed directly in the fire and burned.
For more tips, we recommend the following: Purchase a copy of Wild Neighbors, the go-to guide for useful, humane solutions to conflicts with wildlife.