How to succeed in today’s constantly changing world? Ask your neighborhood raccoons! “Be smart, resourceful, and adaptable,” they’d say—qualities that have helped raccoons flourish in a growing range of places. So, exactly what does success require in the daily life of a raccoon? Depends upon where she lives, but let’s focus on those living in cities and towns.
Although deaths from hunting, trapping, and vehicle collisions are nearly impossible for raccoons to avoid, they have other hazards worked out pretty well. One of their secrets to staying safe is being active from dusk till dawn. This helps them avoid many predators and most humans. Through the day, raccoons rest, usually in a den or on a high tree branch, depending upon which of their predators is most common where they live. Wolves and coyotes? Opt for the tree. Hawks or owls? Head below ground!
Raccoons can also run up to 15 m.p.h. and climb with ease. They even swim… although with some difficulty, because their fur gets heavy when wet. Keen hearing and night vision also help keep them safe. And if they have to get down from a tree branch in a hurry, they can bolt down headfirst, because they have hind feet that rotate for gripping.
As sole provider for her young, a mother raccoon is constantly busy. Sensitive paws help her “see” in the dark and underwater as she searches for food. Foraging in neighborhoods can lead to conflicts, though, so here are some tips to keep things under control.
- If raccoons are foraging in your garden, a single-strand electric wire around your veggies can protect them. If you have pets or children, here’s another option. Critter Ridder® also works well to discourage midnight marauder in the garden. Just be sure to refresh after a rain or watering.
- They will also use their “hands” to open trashcans or birdseed bins. If possible, store them in the garage or shed, or invest in a trash container that has a wildlife-proof twist on lid. In a pinch, use a bungee cord or put a brick or large rock on top to keep the lid in place.
- If raccoons are filling up at your birdfeeders, try bringing the feeders in at night. Prevent them from climbing up the feeder poles them by adding a “stove pipe” baffle.
- If you must feed your pets outdoors switch to feeding them when you’re available to watch, or feed earlier in the day. Put out only as much food as your pets can eat at a sitting, and remove their dishes right after they eat.
- If raccoons are disturbing frequently watered sod, they’re searching for worms and grubs. Watering less often usually makes them lose interest.
An ideal raccoon den is a hollow tree, but those are hard to find, so chimneys are an appealing alternative. A chimney cap is the solution—just be sure no animals are inside before it’s installed.
Raccoons also look for shelter in attics and other areas of a home that can be accessed by damaged siding or unprotected vents. Whether looking for warmth or a place to raise young, raccoons are able to pry their way in when potential openings are left unrepaired or unprotected. Examine your home’s exterior often, so you can make repairs before raccoons or other animals find their way inside.
Raising a Family…
Raccoons are pretty solitary, but moms and babies have a bevy of calls for keeping in constant contact. Chitters, whistles, squeals, and purrs heard coming from your chimney or attic are a sign that you have a raccoon family present. Follow these tips to find a professional wildlife control company that will handle the situation safely and effectively.