Common misconceptions about raccoons:
They WILL NOT attack and/or eat your children.
They WILL NOT attack and/or eat your cat (unless the coon is desperate for food and the cat won't share!), 99% of the time raccoons and cats get on just fine and are quite commonly friendly.
They WILL NOT attack and/or eat your dog.
No, we DO NOT have raccoon rabies in B.C. or on Vancouver Island either historically or at the time of this writing (March 2003).
No, you MAY NOT keep a raccoon or any other wild creature as a pet, it is illegal.
Yes, raccoons are clever and will eat chickens, turkeys, ducks and other unsecured farm stock. But so will mink, feral cat, dog, wolf, cougar and bear. Please properly protect your farm stock and do not leave them as 'sitting ducks'.
Yes, they will and do use 'pet doors', windows etc. to gain access to your home and pet food. The solution to this is simple, shut the 'door'.
Yes, they will get at unsecured garbage, but so will mink, feral cat, dog, wolf, cougar and bear. Do yourself a favor, and secure garbage from all these 'trash marauders'.
Yes, they will take up residence in improperly sealed attics and crawlspaces. Initially entering to eat the rodents (they hate rats/mice and love to hunt, kill and eat them), but often this leads to their using the space as nursery or winter dens.
Yes, they can climb downspouts, all forms of siding, stucco, you name it, almost no vertical surface is coon proof, including pure metal lamp standards. Exceptions are sheet metal, or other slick, non-porous, non-grooved or perfectly cylindrical materials.
Yes, if cornered a raccoon may become aggressive, as will your pet dog or cat for that matter. I must say though, I have never encountered this and I routinely collect wild babies right in front of wild Mama Coons during evictions, and have never been hurt, or attacked.
Yes, it is perfectly normal for a raccoon to be out during the daylight, especially during low tide (for foraging shell fish etc.), and while nursing.
Raccoons have a very clearly defined 'safe zone', within 5-10 feet they will commonly stand up on their hind legs and growl or hiss at approaching humans. This IS NOT a raccoon attacking, this is a scared raccoon trying to get really big and make you afraid - and it usually works, most humans faced with this turn tail and run.