The changes that have occurred in the last years have triggered all sorts of other changes including wild animals living closer to humans or relying on them for food. Raccoons are part of these animals and if you’re worried about having your property visited by them, you might want to learn more about the dangers they pose before looking for information on how to trap a raccoon.
From what to do to prevent such animals from reaching your home to the health dangers raccoons may expose you to, we have highlighted below some of the most important raccoon-related facts. Check out today’s post to learn the do’s and don’ts when it comes to dealing with raccoons.
What are raccoons?
You may not have encountered them before and thus not be aware of how these animals look like or you may have met one without even knowing it is a raccoon. No matter your case, learning more about them is a step you need to take in order to get ready for an unscheduled encounter.
Part of the Procyonidae family, raccoons are mammals usually found in wooded areas where there is also a source of water. However, these animals have become more and more reliant on humans for food, at least in some urban areas. These 3-foot long animals have black fur around their eyes, shorter front legs, and a bushy tail. Adult raccoons can weight up to 40 pounds.
What makes raccoons dangerous?
Some people would say that raccoons are as dangerous as you allow them to be. That’s why it is best to take the necessary measures to keep them at bay and we will highlight a few important things to do below. Yet, what makes them dangerous?
The first thing that comes to mind is the diseases they carry and can pass onto you and your pets. It is well known that raccoons are rabies carriers and even if cases of humans getting this disease from raccoons are rare, the chance of contracting this life-threatening disease is still there.
That’s why it is highly important to see your doctor immediately if you’ve entered in contact with a raccoon. Also, their feces and urine can spread dangerous diseases and some of them can be contracted by inhaling the air alone, no direct physical contact needed. Raccoon feces are carriers of Leptospirosis, Salmonella, and the raccoon roundworm, which can put your health in jeopardy.
Raccoons and pets
Raccoons are dangerous for your pets as well. Although they would normally not attack cats or dogs, they will do so if they feel threatened or trapped. If that happens, the raccoon may bite or scratch the pet and thus transmit dangerous illnesses.
When these unpleasant events occur, the pet becomes a danger to your health. Cats and dogs infected by raccoon droppings will become disease carriers themselves and thus their droppings will heighten the health risk you will be exposed to.
Such is the situations with humans as well. Even if they normally do not attack humans, if they need to defend themselves, they will do that and attack you. A raccoon bite comes with the above-mentioned health dangers.
Moreover, raccoons are omnivorous and if you keep chickens, you may want to raccoon-proof your place as they will not hold back from eating chickens and their eggs. Not to mention the damages they can cause if they manage to enter your house and even make a den there.
If you don’t take the necessary steps and raccoon-proof your house, you may end up with damaged electric cables and water pipes, which further leads to other damages such as water leaks.
Signs of raccoon infestation
Raccoons are nocturnal creatures yet they may be seen during the daytime as well. However, since they prefer darkness to get food, you may not see or hear them if you sleep. There are some signs you should pay attention to, though.
You can tell raccoons have visited your place if the trash cans are overturned, your garden is destroyed, and you find all sorts of small damages caused by their attempt to enter your place. If they get inside your house, you may hear them scratching or making loud noises in wall void spaces and in the attic.
How to prevent raccoons
Instead of treating disease or fixing damages, it is best to take the necessary measures to keep raccoons at bay. Therefore, if you know that the area in which you live is preferred by raccoons, you may want to do a few adjustments. Make sure that your outdoor garbage cans have secure lids on and that they are stored away from the exterior of your house.
It is ideal to have a distance between your garden or compost piles and the exterior of your house. Make sure that your pet’s food is not left outside and that the place where you keep your chickens, if any, is securely closed. So should be your windows, doors, and other places that could be used as an entrance.
Keep an eye on your place and be even more cautious when fall or winter comes. Raccoons will look for a safe, warm, and secure shelter when it gets cold.
How to get rid of raccoons
In case you have taken the caution measures just mentioned or you did so yet raccoons still found a way to get inside your garden or house, it is highly important not to be aggressive when trying to remove them as they may attack and bite you in self-defense.
If you find raccoon feces, make sure you remove them safely by wearing disposable clothes and gloves as well as a professional respirator. Safely discard or even burn the tools you have used to remove the droppings and sanitize the area.
In case you’ve been unlucky to contact the droppings directly without wearing protection or a pet has been bitten by a raccoon, see your doctor immediately.
It is best to get professional help as trying to remove the raccoons or their droppings by yourself can expose you to all the risks we’ve described. A professional approach will not only limit the damage that a raccoon can cause but will also prevent accidents.