Raccoons are commonly found in urban, suburban, and rural areas. They have come to rely on people for food and shelter sources (especially in the winter months). They will take full advantage of any food source and will not be shy about digging through your trash, eating your pet’s food, or feeding from your garden or compost piles.
In the wild raccoons can be found living in hollow logs or trees near a source of water; if they have decided to make your home their home, they can be found nesting under porches, decks, sheds, and in attics, chimneys, and behind walls.
Adult raccoons grow to be about 2-3 feet in length and weigh between 9 and 30 pounds. Raccoons have a very distinctive appearance and are often referred to as “masked bandits” because of the black mask that is found around their eyes. They also have a distinctive ringed tail and a thick coat of fur that is salt and pepper colored.
Dangers Associated With Raccoons
Raccoons are wild animals and may bite or scratch if they feel threatened. Raccoons can carry and transmit diseases such as rabies. They can also pose a hazard if they are living in your home, leaving behind messy urine and feces.
Stopping raccoons from choosing your property to live on is a very difficult task; however there are some things that you can do as a homeowner to deter them and make them want to choose an easier target.
The best way to discourage raccoon activity is to remove all food sources. Pick up uneaten pet food, store pet food in metal or plastic containers with tight fitting lids, place trash in cans that have secure or locking lids, remove bird feeders or place them away from your home, and place garden and compost areas a large distance away from the outside of your home. It is also a good idea to regularly pick up fruits and vegetables that have fallen to the ground from garden areas.
Other things that you can do to deter raccoons include:
- Inspect the exterior of your home and fix any areas that may give a raccoon access. Fix any missing or loose roof shingles or siding, repair damaged soffit areas, and check to make sure that vent covers are secure and that chimney caps are in place.
- Repair any outdoor fixtures that may be leaking water and make sure that gutters are clear and working properly.
- Cut back trees and bushes away from the exterior of your house, they will use the branches to gain access to your home.