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.
Raccoons will take advantage of any and all food sources. This includes your compost, garbage, pet food, fruit trees etc. If you have unwanted raccoons call the centre for help, but first make sure you have dealt with all the sources of food and water you are unwittingly supplying. Once the food source dries up there is no need to come visit at YOUR house.
Raccoons In General
Raccoons usually breed from late winter to early spring, carry their
young 60-65 days, giving birth to 1-7 babies, usually in early spring,
but as late as early October here on the Island. The kits are blind and
deaf for the first 3-4 wks, and do not even start to crawl until they
are 4-6 wks, with walking out of the question until 6-8 wks. Throughout
all this time they will remain helpless in the nursery den, totally
dependant on Mama Coon for nursing.
At 6-12 wks she will move them to the second den and begin, one at a time, teaching them about the world around them. My experience on the Island is that the females nurse as long as four months, and the babies stay with Mama Coon at least 10-12 months, heading out on their own around the time Mama Coon comes into heat and prepares to breed.
Trapping and releasing raccoons, especially in spring or summer is almost always a long lingering death sentance. The kits are extremely slow to mature, and although they act tough and seem 'big enough' they are completely incapable of sourcing food or identifying danger until at least 6-8 months of age. Frankly, in mine and others experience trapping simply becomes a hobby, not a solution. A raccoon friendly area will simply attract other raccoons, leading to more trapping and more relocating. If the source of what attracts them is discovered (pet food, compost, fruit trees) and dealt with the raccoons will simply move onto greener pastures on their own.
Raccoons are omnivorous, which means they will eat just about anything. They do have a preference for rodents (rats/mice), pet food, and those nice koi or gold fish in your pond. Raccoons often cause problems for people unfamiliar with their intelligence, the key with coons is to never try to beat them, I guarantee you will lose, in the long run. There are simple, cost effective means of dealing with problem raccoons, that are permanent and humane (unlike trapping and relocating). Please contact Lorinne at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are having any difficulty with raccoons.