What to Do In a Raccoon Encounter

Raccoons are nocturnal and considered to be nuisance animals. The adult raccoon has grayish-black fur and weighs ten to thirty-five pounds with stocky front legs, long back legs, a striped tail and a black “mask” over the eyes. Raccoons are very intelligent and burrow around streams and lakes. They can also show up beneath decks and homes as well as in barns, attics and chimneys. In an urban environment, they feed on homeowners’ garbage. Their young are nested in the spring in an earthen den, drain pipes or hollow tree trunks.

A baby raccoon should never be kept as a pet, and it may be illegal in your state to keep one. While it is tempting to raise one as if it were a kitten, a raccoon can become unpredictable when it is an adult and cannot be kept uncaged in your home because of its destructive behavior, including biting, when the raccoon is angry, frustrated or stressed. You are not able to keep your priceless items in the house because the raccoon’s front paws are very dexterous, function like five fingers and can unlock any latch.

Raccoons can become combative, and they can spread disease to humans and pets, such as raccoon roundworm, leptospirosis and rabies. Therefore, it’s best not to approach a raccoon or attempt to touch a raccoon because they have sharp teeth and claws and can disfigure children, adults and your pets. They will attack if cornered, especially to protect their young. They are most harmful in the late winter but are active year-round.

If a family of raccoons sets up their home in your yard, wildlife animal control should be contacted. You should not try to remove raccoons by setting up cages around your yard. Wildlife animal control knows how to properly remove an alive or dead animal from choosing the right gloves to protecting themselves from any disease such as rabies, as well as knowing how to properly dispose of the animal.