Raccoons can be found in all types of habitat. They prefer woodland and wetland areas, although, due to continuous urbanization they have had to adapt to city life. Raccoons have become very comfortable living near us and are not as afraid of people as most other wild animals.
Raccoons are nocturnal animals that sleep in dark, quiet places during the day. At night it is common to see more than one in your backyard. They will eat insects, fruits, vegetables, seeds, fish, eggs, birds and small mammals such as mice, rats and gophers. They are seasonal eaters favoring fish and small mammals in the spring. During other seasons they enjoy acorns, seeds and insects.
Raccoons will typically have one litter per year of three to six young. Their mating season is from January to March with a gestation period lasting 63 days.
Preventing a problem
Raccoons are attracted to cat and dog food. Keep all pet food inside at night and close off cat and dog doors at night.
Fasten garbage cans securely with bungie cord or rope. Raccoons have long slender toes that make it easy for them to grasp food and open garbage can lids.
Keep fallen fruit picked up. If temptation is eliminated, fewer raccoons will wander into your yard.
Don't leave garage and shed doors open at night.
Close off any entrances to the foundation of your house or deck. However, do not do this if you suspect raccoon babies are present, they may become trapped.
Solving a problem
What do I do with a raccoon under my house or deck?
During the day place ammonia-soaked rags on both sides of the entrance to the suspected problem area. Place a piece of the rag in a small can every 3-5 feet around perimeter. Within 2-3 weeks the raccoons should have moved elsewhere. You can also sprinkle human hair in the area. Sprinkle flour outside the entrance to the problem area. When you see exiting footprints, seal the entrance. Turn on lights during the night to keep raccoons away. Keep in mind that raccoons will not vacate until nightfall.
How do I keep raccoons from entering the yard?
Metal wrapped around tree trunks will prevent climbing. Netting can be purchased at a hardware store to protect fruit trees and gardens. Sprinkling cayenne pepper or human hair on your lawn will prevent raccoons from digging for insects. If you have a pond, submerge wire mesh around the diameter of the water, attaching it to the edge and leaving the inside free. This way the fish will have the inside open and will be safe from raccoons, which tend not to walk on wire.
How can I protect my small pets from raccoons?
Keep small animals like poultry and rabbits secured at night. Removing a raccoon will only open up the territory for other raccoons, or possibly opossums, skunks and other wildlife.