The mischievous raccoon with its bandit mask is well known as a marauder of trashcans, but what do we really know about this critter and, more importantly, how do we keep them away from our homes?

• Although they prefer smaller prey animals, raccoons are omnivores that will happily eat vertebrates, invertebrates and plants. While they are mostly nocturnal, they can be enticed into daylight by the availability of food.

• While they traditionally lived in forested areas, due to their extreme adaptability, their range has spread to coastal, mountainous, marshland and even urban areas as long as there is a food supply. It is in these urban areas where the raccoon is often considered a pest.

• Due to its dexterous front paws and keen intelligence, the raccoon has the ability to gain entrance into a variety of places and things. In a 1908 study, raccoons were able to open 11 out of 13 locks presented, within 10 or fewer tries. Further, even when the locks were rearranged, the raccoons remembered how to open them.

• Where there is one raccoon, there are usually more. Due to their recently discovered social behavior. Raccoons live in separate groups of related females and unrelated males; babies, “kids”, are raised by their mother.

• While raccoons are not fast, only reaching up to 15 miles per hour due to their short front legs, they can swim and climb trees.

• Although raccoons are believed to be color blind, their sense of “sight” really rests in their hands. Their front paws are super-sensitive and their brain has the most space dedicated to tactile sensory input than in any other animal studied.

• Raccoons can carry a host of illnesses which can infect humans, including rabies. In the United States there were 6,940 reported cases of rabies in animals, with 37.7% occurring in raccoons. However, unlike some other infected animals, raccoons will generally not show aggression but will instead be lethargic and return to their dens.

• Raccoons are often seen as a nuisance in urban areas due to their penchant for overturning trash cans and raiding gardens and fruit trees. But the most problematic issue is the damage that can result when attics and other spaces in the home are used as raccoon dens.

• There have been cases of raccoons killing pet cats and dogs with some cases of injury to pet owners as a result of pet attacks.

While having a resident raccoon may be fine with some people, others may find it bothersome. It is important to know that in some towns and counties, there are certain regulations in regards to killing or relocating a nuisance raccoon. Professional pest control services, such as Mr. Pest Control, can safely and legally handle your raccoon problems. You can reach us at 1-888-794-PEST(7378) and we will be happy to assist you.

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