Common Name: Raccoon
Scientific Name: Procyon lotor
- Adult body length (without tail): 18 to 28 inches
- Adult body weight: 5 to 35 pounds
- Gestation period: 63 days
- Litters per year: 1
- Litter size: 2 to 7 young (usually 3 to 5)
- Breeding season: February through March
- Birthing season: April through May
- Age at which young are weaned: 2 to 4 months
- Activity period: Night
- Range: 3 to 20 square miles
- Primary foods: Meats, fish, pet food, seeds, insects, fruits, vegetables
Raccoon Pest Status
Even though they are normally easily frightened from one′s garden, raccoons can be fierce fighters when cornered; in such instances, they have been known to inflict fatal wounds on even relatively large dogs. Raccoons, like skunks, can be destructive to lawns and other grounds landscaped in cultured turfgrass due to a propensity for ″grubbing″ behavior, as they dig for scarab beetle larvae on which to feed. Multiple, large areas of sod in a lawn can be torn up overnight as a result of raccoon grubbing. Raccoons often gain access into attics, basements, and crawlspaces by forcing open loose or broken vent covers, louvers, windows and carpentry. Female raccoons readily invade attics or enter uncapped chimney flues and occupy the smoke shelf above the damper door to birth and wean their litters of pups. Since raccoons often are infested with ticks and various fleas, including cat fleas, human occupants and their companion animals are readily infested secondarily by the introduction of these ectoparasites via fireplace hearths and attic entrances. Raccoon feces accumulate in the above-mentioned areas, thereby giving rise to odor and secondary pest problems, as well as serving as a potential source of raccoon roundworm infection. Raccoons have been implicated in several other infectious diseases transmissible to humans including leptospirosis, Chagas′ disease, tularemia and, most notably, rabies. Besides invading human dwellings and commercial buildings, raccoons also take up residence in barns, stables, and various outbuildings.
Habitat modification and sanitation. Food sources attractive to raccoons should be made inaccessible whenever possible. Pet food dishes should be brought indoors at night. Trash cans and bins containing food garbage should be secured: Lids of garbage cans should be secured to prevent removal, and the cans should be placed in racks or otherwise anchored to prevent being toppled. Where fruit trees are growing near dwellings, fallen fruit should be cleared away from beneath trees.
Physical / Mechanical
Where feasible, troublesome raccoons should be discouraged by exclusion. To learn more about how to keep raccoons away from your property, visit our raccoon prevention and exclusion page.
Live-catch wire cage traps (24″ x 8″ x 7″ or similar) are probably the best method of control for most urban situations and are utilized by Varment Guard technicians. Visit our raccoon trapping and removal page for additional information.
Although not practiced by Varment Guard technicians, where safe and legal, spotlighting raccoons and shooting them will eliminate a few animals. In Ohio, raccoons are considered fur-bearing animals and are hunted during seasons set by law and regulation. Rural property owners should consult the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources before any control measures involving firearms are undertaken.
Repellents. Raccoon grubbing behavior in lawns may be alleviated by hand-scattering or applying by fertilizer spreader, MilorganiteTM over the lawn. Dispatching / Euthanasia. Carbon monoxide (CO) is used by Varment Guard to displace the oxygen in an airtight chamber designed to accommodate one or more live-catch traps. This method asphyxiates the captured animal while still in the trap. Because of the potential of spreading rabies and distemper, relocating and releasing trapped raccoons is not advisable and is illegal in some states.