The raccoon has a distinctive black mask and furry ringed tail. Fully grown raccoons range from 40 to 100 cm in length and can weigh up to 20 kgs.
Habits & Behaviours
Raccoons can be found throughout Ontario and are active all year round. Because of their size and intelligence, raccoons are one of the most challenging and commonly dealt with nuisance animals. Although they mainly live in the wild, raccoons have adapted very well and are attracted to urban areas.
They are classified as a pest species mainly because of their destructive nature. They are continually seeking food, safety, and shelter and can become invading, annoying, and troublesome. Raccoons will establish their dens in attics, chimneys, sheds, crawlspaces, under decks, and porches within homes, recreational/cottages, and commercial properties. They especially love attics because they are warm and spacious. Since raccoons are nocturnal animals, they are most active at night and are therefore quite a nuisance to those trying to sleep.
Complaints & Destruction
In rural areas, raccoons can raid and attack poultry and small livestock. They will often damage landscapes and fields as they feed on crops. In more populated urban areas, a racoon will frequently knock over and destroy trash cans, compost and recycle bins while scavenging for food and may also attack pets. In all areas, raccoons can cause significant damage to roofs, garages, storage units, decks, porches, gardens and lawns of homes, recreational properties and businesses. Raccoons will access homes and buildings through chimneys, unscreened vents, existing gaps/holes and if necessary, they will chew and claw through almost anything including electrical wires, wood, shingles, siding, aluminum fascia, soffit, duct systems, insulation, drywall, vapour barrier, water piping and plumbing lines to gain access. Once you have a raccoon or a family of raccoons they will cause major damage and leave a mess of feces and urine.
Major Risks & Dangers
Leaking roofs, water damage and flooding
Raccoons will chew and claw holes and gaps in exterior roofs, walls, doors, etc. They are also known to chew and shred plumbing lines and pipes resulting in flooding and consequently serious water damage.
Serious structural damages
Raccoons are extremely destructive animals, chewing and clawing through anything. The result from a family of raccoons can be costly and dangerous structural damage.
Compromising the efficiency of your home
Raccoons can seriously compromise the efficiency of your home by chewing, clawing, and destroying exterior and interior walls, roofs, duct systems, and insulation.
Rabies is the most common disease associated with raccoons. Distemper is also an important raccoon disease, which can be fatal to dogs. The feces of raccoons can contain raccoon roundworm. This parasitic worm can be very dangerous as it can infect humans. The egg spores in the raccoon droppings are light and can become airborne and if inhaled can affect the nervous system. Raccoon feces is also associated with other diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, leptospirosis, and salmonella. Raccoons are also host to a number of parasites, such as lice and fleas. Displaced parasites will often look for new hosts and can infest humans or domestic animals. Dead and decomposing raccoons can attract insects andcause staining and putrid odours that can last for months.
Raccoons mate once a year, usually during the winter months. The average gestation period is 63 days and the average litter consists of 3-5 young. The young are usually weaned between 3 and 4 months, however, most will remain close to their mother for at least a year.
Raccoons are omnivores and will eat just about any food item, plant or animal. In urban areas,the raccoon has adapted by exploring garbage bins for their food.
To reduce the risk of raccoons destroying your home, recreational/cottage, or commercial property, exclusion and control is the best prevention.
Greenshield Pest Control Inc. can provide you with many exclusion solutions.
Because they are a common carrier of rabies, approaching a raccoon is never a good idea. If you are attempting to remove the animal(s) yourself, never attempt to grab a raccoon! Cornered raccoons may become aggressive and will bite and claw.
Always avoid direct contact with raccoon feces and never attempt to remove raccoons by lighting a fire, which will most likely result in serious injury or death and is against the law. If you suspect that a raccoon or a family of raccoons may be dwelling in your residential, recreational/cottage, or commercial property, it is best to let the professionals safely and humanely remove the animal(s). Please contact us today or see our Wildlife Control Services section for further information on the types of services and solutions we can provide
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