Pest Animals: Raccoons

 
 
Native only to the Americas, the Common Raccoon is nocturnal and solitary except when breeding or caring for its young. The raccoon (Procyon lotor) is a stocky mammal about 2 to 3 feet (61 to 91 cm) long, weighing 10 to 30 pounds (4.5 to 13.5 kg) (rarely 40 to 50 pounds [18 to 22.5 kg]). As an accomplished climber, it can ascend trees of any size as well as run and swim quite well.
 


Identification
It is distinctively marked, with a prominent black “mask” over the eyes and a heavily furred, ringed tail. The animal is a grizzled salt-and-pepper gray and black above, although some individuals are strongly washed with yellow. Its tracks are also quite easily recognized:

 

Raccoon Damage
Raccoons are usually more of a nuisance than a cause of serious economic losses. That said, they may consume and contaminate feed, seed and livestock supplements with their feces and urine. Buildings may be damaged by raccoons as they rip off shingles, facia board, and siding to reach food sources or gain entrance to attics, wall spaces, or chimneys. In many urban or suburban areas, raccoons are learning that uncapped chimneys make very adequate substitutes for more traditional hollow trees for use as denning sites, particularly in spring.

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Raccoon Roof Damage Raccoon Roof Damage

Raccoon Trapping

Raccoon Trapped in Bedroom
       
   
In rural areas raccoons often damage landscapes and field crops as they feed on strawberries, peas, potatoes, and their favourite: sweet corn.

Raccoons will also attack poultry and are able to bring down birds as large as turkeys. They can pull down unsuspecting chickens by reaching through the mesh wire fence and are quite adept at gaining access to weakened or open areas of a poultry pen. Signs of raccoon predation on poultry include: carcasses with missing heads, bites on the back, torn necks and breasts, and feeding on the breasts and entrails.

In commercial areas we often find whole families of raccoons in waste compactors or garbage bins.

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Raccoons in commercial garbage bin
 




Raccoon Removal and Raccoon Control Methods

Preventative measures include securing waste, livestock feed, and Exclusion*. Raccoon Control and Removal methods include Live Trapping*, Licensed Trapping*, Physical Capture*, Shooting*, Relocation*, and Destruction of the animal.

*For a detailed definition of each control method please see Animal Wildlife Control Services & Solutions»

Please note that, in contrast to almost all other Ontario animal control operations, as a licensed furbearer trapping company we are able to employ all of these control methods INCLUDING relocation or permanent removal of captured raccoons.


Raccoon Breeding
Mates January–March; litter of 1–8 young born April–May after gestation of 63 days. Birth weight 2 oz (60 g).
 

 
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