Raccoons are common throughout much of the United States. They usually make their homes in hollow trees, logs, rocky crevices or abandoned armadillo holes. Raccoons are opportunistic feeders. The Common Raccoon is between 33 to 45 in. long and weighs 7 to 20 lb. (3 to 9 kg). It has dexterous hands. Each hand and foot has five fingers and toes. Common Raccoons are stocky animals with short legs and small, rounded ears. Their fur is gray, with dark black markings around their eyes, and black bands on their tail. Their belly and muzzle are lighter colored while the feet are darker gray. Raccoons have coarse, medium-length fur and a very bushy tail.
Diet: Omnivores; fruits, nuts, small rodents, insects, frogs, fish
Raccoons are curious, unique, and intelligent creatures. These characteristics help them survive in the wild, but can also make for annoying neighbors. Wild raccoons accustomed to being fed by well-intentioned people will generally loose their natural fear of humans and seek to move closer to their food source-your house. Raccoons have excellent night vision and an acute sense of hearing. They are very agile climbers and strong swimmers. They use their nimble fingers to feel stream bottoms for food, to climb trees and to open containers and garbage cans.
Mating Season: January through June
With one litter per year, up to three to five cubs will be born. Baby raccoons' ears and eyes open about 18 to 24 days after birth. They can walk around by the time they are four to six weeks old.
Three Fun Facts About Raccoons
- Raccoons can be very vocal, using over 200 distinct sounds to communicate with each other.
- Raccoons are also skilled at problem-solving, and are able to bypass several different types of locks and seals that keep trash cans shut.
- If they are near a river or pond, raccoons will wash their food in the water. In the absence of a water source, they will still attempt to clean their food by rubbing any debris off.
Encountered a Raccoon?
These animals normally will not attack if they do not have to. Still, If you meet a raccoon (especially if it appears sick or acting strangely), do not approach the animal. If a raccoon approaches you back away from the animal in a calm and decisive manner while breaking eye contact. However, if it approaches too closely, make yourself appear larger: stand up, shout, and wave your arms while moving away to a safe distance.
How to keep raccoons out
Before evicting raccoons from your house, you need to figure out how they're entering (that is, if you don't want them coming right back in). Give your house a thorough inspection to find areas where raccoons could get in by viewing your house from the perspective of an animal looking for a den. Raccoons are usually entering your yard to find a safe, warm and quiet place to nest. Making your yard the opposite of that can work to discourage them from sticking around. Use bright lights, music and foot traffic to ‘scare’ the raccoons into leaving. The other goal of a racoon entering your property is to find food and their main source is going to be your garbage can. Discourage them by making your garbage can inaccessible. Lock it up or take it inside at night, and keep it sealed when it has to be out. Use a cinder block to weigh down the lid.