The Adult Raccoon vary in size from 24-46 inches in
total length and weigh from 12 - 25 pounds.
They are easy to recognize because of their ringed tail and black mask.
Raccoons live near streams, lakes, and marshes. Raccoons prefer swampy areas or woods near water and are absent from very high elevations and very arid regions. They are found throughout the United States except for large parts of some of the western states, they are omnivorous.
They normally prefer the use of hollow trees or logs, rock crevices, abandoned animal burrows for dens.
However they can make a nuisance of themselves raiding the garbage cans and tearing up lawns.
They will also use your home structures for dens including: chimneys, attics, and hollow areas beneath porches and buildings.
Raccoons mate in January to March and have a 63 day gestation period. A litter commonly contains one to seven young.
The family group is sociable, remaining together for about 1 years.
Although raccoons may live 14 years or more in captivity, they seldom survive beyond seven years in the wild.
In some areas, raccoons become dormant in winter.
Their diet consist primarily of insects, crayfish, mussels, fish and frogs during the Spring and early Summer.
During the late summer and fall, fruits, berries, nuts, and grains are also eaten.
Raccoons are most active at night and are not commonly spotted. If you see one during the day, it could be a possibility that they are sick or injured.
Do not approach a raccoon at any time, especially one spotted during the day time.
Raccoons can contract several diseases, some of which can be transmitted to humans or pets. Rabies is the greatest concern. The eastern states have the highest incidence of rabies in animals. Although very few US residents get rabies from these animals, people should be careful with ones that act abnormally.
Raccoons are members of the bear family, and are very strong.
They are not normally aggressive towards humans but will defend
itself if it feels threatened, or if you are near it's young. >
One of the most common household entry points for raccoons is down the fireplace chimney.
Therefore, to prevent raccoons from entering houses, roofs and chimneys
should be well-maintained.
The access to chimneys can be prevented by fastening a commercial spark arrestor cap of sheet metal and hardware cloth over the top of the chimney, or by fastening heavy screen wire securely over the opening.
Replace loose shingles, repair any holes near the eaves of the roof.
Limiting the access to the roof by trimming trees and shrubs may also be helpful.
Garbage cans fitted with tight-fitting lids will help keep out most raccoons. However wiring the cans shut may be necessary if they can be tipped over. When you are excluding or removing raccoons from buildings during the spring and summer there may be the possibility of young present.
Do not completely exclude until you are sure all have left, so you don't seal them inside. Sealing them inside might cause painful death for the animal and may also cause extensive damage to the building.
If the young are old enough to climb out, cap the chimney after the raccoons have left for the night.
Sometimes, a female raccoon can be encouraged to move her young to another location by the use of repellents, such as ammonia or moth balls, combined with a light and noise from a portable radio placed near the damper.
After they temporarily leave, you can properly exclude the entry points.
Mothballs or crystals are relatively ineffective in an open air situation.
Electric fences may help to keep raccoons out of gardens.
The wires must be spaced close together and close to the ground in order to be effective.
The best method to remove raccoons for around buildings is to live trap them with a trap such as Havahart Raccoon Traps
Bait should be changed every 2 days for optimal results
Crisp bacon,fish, fresh vegetables,cat food, Chicken parts and entrails, corn, sardines
Set traps as close to the den as possible where damage is occurring, e.g., at corners of gardens, breaks in stone walls, or along obvious animal trails.
Set multiple traps in a number of different locations.
Since these animals are active at night, check traps at least every morning; preferably twice a day.
Check traps often to spot and release non target animals.
When releasing the raccoon, do it far away from human dwellings.
In some states they are a protected species, so check with your game and wildlife department before trapping and releasing them.
The release site for these large animals should be over ten miles away.