Common Questions about Raccoons

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What does a raccoon look like?

  • The raccoon is a stocky mammal about 2 to 3 feet long, weighing 10 to 30.
  • Raccoons have a prominent black “mask” over the eyes and a heavily furred, ringed tail.Raccoon Trapping and Raccoon Removal
  • The raccoon is a grizzled salt-and-pepper gray and black above, although some are strongly washed with yellow.

How do you know if you have a raccoon?

  • Raccoon tracks look like tiny human baby handprints and footprints. Raccoons have five toes on both the front and hind feet.
  • Raccoon droppings are fairly large, averaging 3/4 inch in diameter. The sides are usually textured, and the tips are often rounded or broken off. If there are berries in the feces, its raccoons.
  • Raccoon Roundworm in both people and pets is caused by contact with infected raccoon feces, so contact a wildlife removal company or pest removal company to remove the droppings.

Are raccoons found in New York?

  • Yes, raccoons are more common in the wooded eastern portions of the United States.
  • Raccoons prefer hardwood forest areas near water.
  • Raccoons den in hollow trees, ground burrows, brush piles, muskrat houses, barns and abandoned buildings, dense clumps of cattail, haystacks, or rock crevices.

What type of food do raccoons prefer?

  • Raccoons are omnivorous, eating both plant and animal foods.
  • Plant foods include all types of fruits, berries, nuts, acorns, corn, and other types of grain.
  • Animal foods are crayfish, clams, fish, frogs, snails, insects, turtles and their eggs, mice, rabbits, muskrats, and the eggs and young of ground-nesting birds and waterfowl.
  • Contrary to popular myth, raccoons do not always wash their food before eating, although they frequently play with their food in water.

What is the behavior of a raccoon?

  • Raccoons breed mainly in February or March.
  • The gestation period is about 63 days. Most litters are born in April or May but some late-breeding females may not give birth until June, July, or August.
  • Only 1 litter of 3-5 young is raised per year
  • Young raccoons are weaned sometime between 2 and 4 months of age.
  • Raccoons are nocturnal.
  • Adult males occupy areas of about 3 to 20 square miles, compared to about 1 to 6 square miles for females.
  • Raccoons do not truly hibernate, but they do “hole up” in dens and become inactive during severe winter weather.
  • Raccoons may live as long as 12 years in the wild, but such animals are extremely rare.
  • Family groups of raccoons usually remain together for the first year and the young will often den for the winter with the adult female. The family gradually separates during the following spring and the young become independent.

What type of damage can a raccoon cause?

  • Raccoons may cause damage or nuisance problems in a variety of ways, and their distinctive tracks providing evidence of their involvement.
  • Raccoons can cause considerable damage to garden or truck crops, particularly sweet corn and watermelons.
  • Raccoons cause damage or nuisance problems around houses and outbuildings when they seek to gain entrance to attics or chimneys or when they raid garbage in search of food.
  • Raccoons are learning that uncapped chimneys make very adequate substitutes for more traditional hollow trees for use as denning sites, particularly in spring.
  • In extreme cases, raccoons may tear off shingles or facia boards in order to gain access to an attic or wall space.
  • Raccoons also can be a considerable nuisance when they roll up freshly laid sod in search of earthworms and grubs.
  • Raccoons have recently been identified as the major wildlife host of rabies in the United States, primarily due to increased prevalence in the eastern United States.

How do you prevent raccoon and other wildlife?

  • Exclusion, if feasible, is usually the best method of coping with raccoon damage.
  • Raccoons are excellent climbers and are capable of gaining access by climbing conventional fences, so keep that in mind.
  • Store and secure garbage in metal or tough plastic containers with tight-fitting lids to discourage raccoons from raiding garbage cans
  • Prevent raccoon access to chimneys by securely fastening a commercial cap of sheet metal and heavy screen over the top of the chimney.
  • Raccoon access to rooftops can be limited by removing overhanging branches.
  • When homeowners attempting to exclude or remove raccoons in the spring and summer should be aware of the possibility that young may also be present.
  • Do not try any home remedies if you hear scratching, rustling, and chirring sounds. The mother raccoon may be moving the young from the chimney at the time she begins to wean them, contact a wildlife removal company to remove the raccoons.

Wildlife removal is not a “do it yourself” task. Getting rid of wildlife animals is dangerous. Wildlife can bite, carry and spread disease, so it best to contact a professional wildlife removal specialist to get rid of animals like raccoons. Wildlife can quickly take over a structure to shelter themselves from the outdoor elements. Contact your Albany wildlife removal company to prevent any damages before they can begin. The Clifton Park wildlife removal experts at Thomas Pest Services can help you today with a free inspection to get rid of raccoons!


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