Common Raccoon Traits

Raccoons are found in most areas of North America, including Michigan. These animals are considered a terrific nuisance when they invade and take up residence in urban areas. Since raccoons can cause immense damage to gardens and buildings apart from spreading diseases, it is essential to understand their known traits. This will help in developing systems to control the presence of raccoons.

General Traits that have been Documented
Raccoons are, in general, nocturnal animals that are more visible in the warm months. Though these animals do not really hibernate they do tend to sleep for longer periods in the winter. The animals mature within a year of birth and thus multiply rapidly. Though they appear to prefer to live in wild areas, raccoons easily adapt to urban and suburban places as long as there is plenty of food available.

Food
Raccoons are omnivores and eat whatever food is available. They eat worms, fish, eggs, snakes, frogs, shellfish, nuts, and fruits. Damage to citrus fruits and plants in a garden is often an indication of the presence of raccoons. They can end up destroying gardens, raiding trash cans and pet bowls, apart from consuming baby mice and rats in attics.

Reproduction
Each adult female can give birth to between one and six baby kits in April or May. The babies stay with their mother until winter before they leave to stay in their own den. In the wild, a den is usually a hollow tree, but in urban and suburban areas, attics, chimneys, crawl spaces, and the outside of buildings are used by the animals. They prefer their dens to be warm and dark.

Diseases
Raccoons can spread numerous diseases through the virus present in their feces, as well as rabies. This makes them dangerous when they take up residence near or in homes. They can be vicious animals and take down most dogs. Any dog that engages a raccoon will have a serious fight on its hands and if this is your dog, you will have mess to clean up, regardless of the outcome, afterwards.

Control
Raccoons prefer to live near food sources. As such, the best way to control the presence of raccoons and eliminate them is to reduce the availability of food. Keeping trash cans closed tight and inaccessible, ensuring that pet bowls are not kept outdoors, and planting a garden that does not provide raccoons with nourishment, can help make them move away.

Entry Points
Since raccoons prefer to reside in warm and dark spaces, one way of ensuring that the home is inaccessible for them is to seal off all the entry points to attics, underground bunkers, basements, and crawl spaces. You do not want snakes to be able to enter as well. This is all motivation enough; there is a place for them to live and this is not one of them. Wiki provides some great tips here.

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