Did you know a Raccoon can weigh up to 40-50 lbs....?
With a distinct black mask, stocky frame, and vivid striped tail, Raccoons are fairly easily identifiable compared to other nuisance critters. Occasionally referred to as “trash pandas” or even just “Coons”, they’re capable of weighing up to 40-50 lbs and are usually most active at night (“nocturnal”). In Spring, litters of typically 3-6 “kits” are born and they’ll stay with their mother for a year or more. Once they become independent in finding food, water and shelter, they’ll wander out on their own and usually never reconnect with their original family members. During the winter months in extremely cold regions they may take cover for extended periods of time but in general they usually do not “hibernate” or hunker down for too long. Favorite cover/nesting spots in urban areas include but are not limited to: crawlspaces, chimneys, sheds, attics, etc.
Their daily patterns and habits are highly impacted by the location of their food source(s). In urban and semi urban environments, if there is food available and even just limited cover, Raccoons will commonly be there! They’re usually omnivorous but will practically gobble up almost anything they can get to. Whether it is pet food, rotten food in garbage dumpsters, worms/grubs in lawns, berries, or bird eggs they’re probably interested in eating it!
Raccoons are fully capable of destroying a small hobby backyard garden in one night and have always been a commercial corn farmer’s worst nightmare! However, the damage to landscaping/small crops is almost always minor compared to the damage they’ll do to homes, apartments, garages, sheds, and other physical structures. On private property, females become more destructive around nesting season while searching for a secluded and safe place to have their young. It is common for them to rip shingles off roofs and tear screens off crawlspace and attic vents during this time! Once access has been gained, they can shred duct work, wiring, or anything else in their way. Raccoons are very curious and intelligent so they do not have a difficult time destroying things that are expensive to fix/replace!
Additionally, their feces can be harmful to human health and can require entire attics and crawlspaces to need cleaning, new insulation and ductwork. Regularly monitoring vents leading to the crawlspace and attic is the best way to prevent these types of issues. If any sign of an immediate access point for critters is present, it’s best to have a wildlife control professional inspect the situation as soon as possible in order to deter further damage to the home.