Most people view raccoons as pests, due to their tendency to knock over or chew through garbage cans. Despite their bandit-masked faces, bushy tails and uncanny intelligence, raccoons are still wild animals that will defend themselves if threatened. Despite popular belief raccoons will not seek warmth in your home during the winter months. Their winter months consist of long sleep periods and scouring for food. Raccoons are capable of achieving a body mass of up to 50% body fat during the colder months. This surplus of calories is what they use to get through most of the winter and spend most of their time in trees where they make their home. The species originally lived in tropics foraging along river banks for frogs and crustaceans.
Raccoons have a highly developed tactile sense. Their human-like front paws are used to pick up their food before putting it in their mouth. Remarkably, if water is present, raccoons will wash their food before eating it. Their five fingered hands make them superb climbers as well as strong swimmers. These hand-like paws also allow them to gain access to places that may cause you some headaches.
Identifying if you have a raccoon problem is fairly easy. If your lawn has lots of holes in it you probably have a nightly raccoon visitor. They’ll dig up lawns searching for a midnight insect snack. If your bird feeder seems to run through a lot of seed, a raccoon is the most likely culprit. The persistence of raccoons has led to many different solutions.
There are steps you can take to prevent raccoons from finding your property favorable.
- Raccoons are nocturnal animals and prefer the darkness for most of their activities. Bright lights with motion sensors on your property will deter the bandits from lingering too long on your property. Because raccoons avoid loud sounds and human contact, setting a radio near trash cans, or any other spots you have seen evidence of the masked mammals, will scare them away. Set the radio to a talk station and make sure the volume is audible.
- Old wives tales abound for raccoon repellents. For years many believe that items like mothballs, ammonia, human hair, and animal urine, prevent raccoons from visiting your home. These repellents are not very effective if a raccoon is determined enough, or a mother has made a nest with babies. If you find a mother and babies in your home, do not approach them and call a professional pest removal company as soon as possible.
- Raccoons are an omnivorous species and will eat a wide variety of foods. If a raccoon finds a plentiful food source on your property they’ll hang around your yard rather than hunt for food. Leaving pet food outside is sure to attract a raccoons attention. Trash cans are another plentiful food source that raccoons favor. Purchasing garbage cans with locking caps will help prevent them from spreading garbage over your property. Keeping garbage cans in your garage until they need to go out is another way to secure them.