Procyon lotor


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Raccoons are one of the species that have thrived in America's growing urbanization. Houses people mean food and shelter. This page is meant to provide you with concrete information on controlling and preventing raccoon damage. Information provided here comes from actual field experience. When I was in the business of trapping, I had to give my customers results not theories. I hope you will agree.

Description   Natural History/Life Cycle

"Raccoons, A Natural History" (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002)


Weight: 12-20 lbs


Breeding Seasons: Raccoons mate in January-February. Young open their eyes in about 23 days after birth. We have reliable data that young can be born as soon as March 12 in Indiana.

Activity: Year around (they do not hibernate) and diurnal (They are active in daylight hours)

Mating: Females raise 3-5 young alone in the Spring. 


Raccoons can live anywhere there is cover and water. They have adapted very well to suburbia and even urban settings. They love attics, sewers, tree dens, sheds, etc.



For Raccoon Damage Control Information Click Here!

Fortunately, raccoons are rarely secretive creatures. A brief walkRaccoon through vent.jpg (39936 bytes) around your house will usually show clear signs of raccoon activity. The bent vent, as pictured (right), is a classic sign of raccoon. Other signs include, mud and/or scratch marks at building corners, particularly along downspouts.



Distinguishing Marks

Brown tail with black bars, mask like coloration around the eyes.


House Damage

Unlike many other animals, raccoons tend to defecate at the same location. A house cat has similar habits. A brief search of your roof line, particularly troughs, behind bushes, and around wood piles may reveal the presence of raccoon droppings. Of course the raccoon would have to living in your home for some time to develop a pile like this.raccoon feces on roof wdih.gif (1154832 bytes) Assuming, it has been living alone. An inspection of the attic floor may also reveal the presence of raccoon toilettes.Be careful around these droppings as they may contain the roundworm known as Baylisascaris Procyonis. Click here for more information.


Noises in Chimney-

If you hear chirping in your chimney in the months of April/May/June then chances are you have raccoon young in your chimney. Do NOT light a fire. The young will not be able to climb out. Get a copy of our book, the Wildlife Removal Handbook Rev. ed. to learn how to get them out or click here to find a professional in your area.

Landscape Damage-

Raccoons can do a lot of damage to lawns in their search for worms or grubs. You can often distinquish their damage from that of skunks by the size of the damage. Skunks dig specific holes for the grubs, raccoons shred the sod and in some cases actually roll it up.

Water Gardens with Fish:
Question How deep will a raccoon go to get the fish?

A. I don't have actual depth figures. But if your ponds are standard then I can say, your fish are in for some trouble. Trappers can motivate raccoons to walk in several inches of water in the winter time. So who knows how deep they will go in the summer.

You can help protect fish by giving them structures to hide in. You also want the shallow areas of the pond in the middle not on the edges where raccoons would be likely to search for fish.


Diseases- Click here for more information on Animal Diseases


Methods for controlling raccoon damage


Fact: The average raccoon weighs only 12-20 lbs. Very few and I mean very few  raccoons are the size of a dog. In my years of animal damage control, I may have caught two raccoons in the forty pound range. People tend to forget that hair accounts for a large amount of a raccoon's  apparent size.

Fact: Adult raccoons are excellent climbers, second only to squirrels. Adult raccoons can climb down spouts, corners of buildings, sewers, trees and chimney's. Unless you know that the raccoon is injured or a juvenile, the raccoon can climb out. Be careful though, young raccoons CANNOT climb out. Lighting a fire will only cook them. Visit our store for chimney caps on preventing this from happening in the first place. Click here to learn more.

Fact: Raccoons have learned to live in an urbanized environment. They soon adapt to motion lights, noises and even human presence. Some raccoons no longer see humans as a threat because humans feed them.

Fact: No one can identify an animal as rabid merely by looking at it. If you can, please let me know I would be happy to hire your services. The reality is that raccoons also suffer from distemper whose symptoms mimic those of rabies.

Fact: Time of day is NOT a sufficient indicator as to whether a raccoon is ill. Raccoons, although nocturnal, occasionally can be seen in daylight for a variety of reasons. These reasons can range from, the need to store up food due to an impending storm. Another animal damage control company may have kicked them out of their previous home. The attic they are residing in may be too hot and they loaf on the roof to get cool. A more accurate way to evaluate a raccoon's health is how it is acting. If the raccoon walks like it is drunk, stumbles, wanders in circles, exhibits matted hair, tremors, or sores, then the raccoon is definitely sick. You should then contact your local health department or police department. They can send out a professional to capture and remove the raccoon. For more information on animal diseases click here

Fact: 80% of all people who need rabies shots have initiated contact with the animal. In other words, the animal didn't go to them, they went to the animal. The public conception that rabid animals are looking for someone to attack is entirely overblown. Do rabid animals sometimes attack people? Yes, but it is rather rare.


Infant Survival and Den Site Selection of Female Raccoons Following Removal and Exclusion from Residences



Disclaimer: WDC seeks to provide accurate, effective and responsible information on resolving human/wildlife conflicts. We welcome suggestions, criticisms to help us achieve this goal. The information provided is for informational purposes only and users of the information use it at their own risk. The reader must consult state/federal officials to determine the legality of any technique in the reader's locale. Some techniques are dangerous to the user and to others. WDC encourages readers to obtain appropriate training (see our informational literature at our Store ), and understand that proper animal damage control involves patience, understanding that not every technique/method works for every situation or even 100% of the time. Your use of this information is governed by this understanding. We welcome potential users of the information and photos to simply ask for permission via e-mail. Finally, WDC welcomes e-mail but understand that all e-mails become property of Wildlife Damage Control.