Raccoons - Everything you ever wanted to know
Q: Are Raccoons Dangerous?
A: Yes, raccoons are dangerous. Raccoons are one of the many wild animals that carry rabies. If you come in contact with a raccoon that scratches or bites you, you should seek immediate medical attention. They are also common carriers of the Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) which can cause an asymptomatic infection in humans who come in contact with any bodily fluid of a raccoon. Luckily the measles vaccine also protects humans from contracting CDV.
Q: Are Raccoons Aggressive?
A: Normally, if you leave raccoons alone, they will not attack you. But if provoked, they are very strong and smart animals that are capable of defending themselves. During mating season is when you need to be the most cautious of raccoons as they will attack a human to defend their litter.
Q: Do Raccoons come out during the day?
A: Although raccoons are considered nocturnal animals, it is common to see raccoons rummaging through garbage or running across a roof in cities and suburbs during the day. This usually happens when a raccoon has not found a reliable food source to access at night or they have a litter to feed and require more food than usual. Many people think that if a raccoon is seen during the day that they must be rabid, but this simply is not true.
Q: How can you tell if a Raccoon has Rabies?
A: Common signs of a rabid raccoon include issues with mobility, confusion or lack of alertness, loud unintentional noises, and foaming at the mouth. If you see a raccoon exhibiting any of these symptoms do not go anywhere near them.
Q: Will raccoons kill cats?
A: The short answer is yes. If food resources are limited raccoons will kill cats or dogs. They are more likely to go after a smaller less agile kitten than a larger cat. In fact, the majority of larger cats have the common sense to stay away from raccoons.
Q: Can raccoon poop make you blind?
A: Yes, there are parasitic eggs in raccoon poop which become airborne and when inhaled by humans there are many side effects that can occur including blindness or even death with long term exposure.
Q: Are Raccoons good to have around?
A: While raccoons are known to eat small rodents and pests that can frequent your yard, they still tend to cause more harm than good. They carry many diseases contractible to humans, eat from your garden, tear up fresh sod, and can cause significant damage to your property.
Q: Will a Raccoon attack you?
A: Although a raccoon will not instigate a fight or prey on humans; they are not afraid to attack a human in self-defence if they feel there is an imminent threat to themselves or their young. The best bet is to stay as far away as possible as diseases such as rabies can cause a raccoon to act irrationally or out of the norm.
Q: How do I get rid of raccoons?
A: Your best bet in getting rid of raccoons is calling an animal control company like Hawkeye. We have trained professionals that are licensed to permanently remove raccoons from your property. Attempting to remove raccoons from your property on your own is dangerous and should be left to professionals. Contact us at 416 HAWKEYE for any raccoon removal needs or questions.
Q: What do raccoons hate?
A: Raccoons hate the smell of ammonia, hot sauce, and cayenne pepper. They are also deterred by moth balls, strobe lights, and the sound of talk shows. Many people attempt these techniques, but some raccoons are very persistent, especially if they have already created a den on your property. For permanent removal of raccoons call 416 HAWKEYE.
Q: How do I keep raccoons away from my home?
A: To keep raccoons away from your home entirely is a hard feat. But there are some precautions you can take. 1. Ensure your garbage and recycling is properly stored. 2. Limit the availability of food in your yard. If you have bird feeders, fruit trees, or a vegetable garden, these are all things that can attract raccoons. 3. Never provide food for a raccoon. 4. Exclude (block off using thick wire mesh and screws) your chimney and all other access points around your roof, shed, deck, or any other potential opening that would make for an easy den location. If you are not capable of excluding these areas on your own call 416 HAWKEYE for an easy solution.
Q: Where do Raccoons nest?
A: Common locations for a raccoon den include hollow tree trunks, chimneys, attics, abandoned vehicles, sheds, or even under your deck.
Q: What smells repel raccoons?
A: Ammonia is the most common scent used to repel raccoons. Although, spraying ammonia in an open area is far less effective than when it is used in an enclosed space. Many people also use hot sauce or cayenne pepper spray as a deterrent. Do not try using store bought sprays and powders as they are harmful to the environment and have proven to be ineffective.
Q: How strong is a Raccoon?
A: Raccoons are very strong animals. They can even lift a cinder block off the top of your garbage can. The largest raccoon on record weighed in at 62.6 pounds and 55 inches long. Raccoons store excess fat in preparation for the winter causing them to weigh nearly twice as much as they would in the spring.
Q: Do Raccoons travel together?
A: More often than not, female raccoons travel with their young and male raccoons travel either solitarily or in a pack with other males. Raccoons are solitary animals and do not require a community to survive but it is common to find a group of raccoons together for protection against predators.
Q: Will male Raccoons kill baby Raccoons?
A: Male raccoons can be a danger to new born kits and will eat them if given a chance; they are not paternal in nature. After a male and female raccoon mate, the female is left to raise and rear her litter by herself.
Q: Why do Raccoons scream at night?
A: Raccoons make a number of different sounds, but since they are primarily nocturnal animals, raccoons are most active at night, therefore make the most noise during the night. The sound that raccoons make that most refer to as a ‘scream’ or ‘growl’ occurs most when raccoons are under stress or they are in danger.
Q: What type of damage can a Raccoon cause?
A: Raccoons can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home by destroying soffits, shingles, underlayment, trusses, insulation, electrical wiring, and ventilation systems. As a result of these damages, heating and cooling expenses can skyrocket. Raccoons are also infamous for ripping up freshly laid sod.
Q: What do Raccoons eat?
A: Raccoons are omnivorous and they will eat almost anything, but they prefer to eat berries, fruits, vegetables, insects, and small animals such as rats and squirrels. Although with the increase of urban areas in our country, they are often found eating garbage from humans and pet food left outdoors.
Q: Can a Raccoon make me or my pet sick?
A: Yes, raccoons carry many bacterial and viral diseases that can be contracted by you or your pet. Most of these diseases are transferred by either direct contact, either a bite or a scratch, or by coming in contact with racoon urine or feces.
Q: What should I do if I find Raccoons on my property?
A: If you see raccoons passing through your yard, you should just let them be. But if you notice raccoons are using your yard or roof as a latrine (bathroom) or that they are ripping up your roof, deck, or lawn, you should call 416 HAWKEYE so that our professional technicians an provide you with a permanent removal solution.
Q: How can I stop Raccoons from getting into my trashcan?
A: The best and most reliable long term solution to keep raccoons out of your garbage is buying or creating a specific enclosure like those found on www.binsolutions.ca. Many people use bungee cords or cinder blocks in attempt to keep raccoons out of their trash, but a determined raccoon can figure out how to get past this barrier.
Q: Can I get diseases from Raccoon poop?
A: The main disease contracted from raccoon feces is known as raccoon roundworm, or Baylisascaris procyonis. This parasite lives within the intestines of raccoons and their eggs are found in raccoon poop. These eggs become airborne and can be accidently inhaled or swallowed by humans causing serious illness. There are also many other diseases that humans can contract from raccoon poop such as Giardiasis, Leptospirosis, and Salmonella.
Q: How long do Raccoons live?
A: The average life span of a raccoon is 2 to 3 years in the wild.
Q: How do you clean up Raccoon poop?
A: Always use a face mask and disposable gloves when cleaning raccoon poop. To avoid any dried feces becoming airborne, spray the feces with water to dampen it before removing. Raccoon feces can be removed similar to that of a dog with an inverted bag. Once the majority of the feces are bagged, use boiling water to disinfect the surface. If you are working with a soft surface like soil, it is best to remove the few inches of soil below the affected area and replace it. After the area is cleaned it can be further sprayed with a diluted bleach or disinfectant spray, depending on the location. At Hawkeye we also provide a cleaning service, call 416 HAWKEYE and one of our trained professionals can do the dirty work for you.
Q: What does Raccoon poop look like?
A: Raccoon poop looks similar to that of a small dog, although is often darker more black in colour and often contains visible seeds and fruit. Raccoons often go to the bathroom multiple times in the same location; this area is called a latrine, and is separate from where raccoons sleep and eat.
Q: What are the symptoms of distemper in Raccoons?
A: The earliest sign of distemper in raccoons is discharge around the eyes and nose as this virus first attacks the respiratory system. The virus will then attack the gastrointestinal system causing vomiting and diarrhea. Lastly this virus will attack the neurological system of the raccoon causing disorientation, slow movement, stumbling, sleeping in the open during the day, and seizures. Although you should always keep your distance from raccoons, be especially careful around those with distemper as they can become aggressive without being provoked.
Q: What to do if you see a raccoon?
A: Regardless of what time of day you see a raccoon, you should leave them be. If you have a concern that a raccoon in a public place may be rabid or carrying distemper, call your local animal control at 311. If you would like permanent removal of a raccoon from your property call 416 HAWKEYE from a quick and effective solution.
Q: What is the process when Hawkeye comes to my home for raccoon removal?
A: During the first visit to your property, one of our licensed technicians will perform an inspection to determine problem areas. If you are hearing raccoons in your attic or on your roof, we will look for access points and inspect your attic if needed. If you are only seeing raccoons travelling through your yard, or are having them rip up your freshly laid sod, we will still do an external scan of your roof to make sure there are no potential openings as well as inspect your yard. Once the inspection is complete, we will set up baited traps in the most logical locations. Once the traps are set you will be required to check them at least every 24 hours, preferably in the morning, and let us know as soon as a raccoon has been captured by calling 416 HAWKEYE. One of our technicians will be back to your property within 24 hours to remove the raccoon and either reset or remove the traps, based on how many raccoons we are trying to catch. If needed any open areas can be excluded by our team to prevent re-entry until you are able to get the affected area repaired.
Q: How does Hawkeye permanently remove raccoons?
A: Hawkeye is the only company in the GTA that is licensed to permanently remove raccoons from your property and is the only company that has trapping licences from the Ontario Fur Managers Federation (OFMF), Falconry Licences and Pest Control licences from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), and CWCP (Certified Wildlife Control Professional) certification. All other companies are only authorized to relocate raccoons within one kilometer of the trapped location. Hawkeye has licenced technicians who are authorized to humanely euthanize trapped raccoons following the guidelines set out from the Canadian Veterinary Association.
Q: Is it illegal to trap a raccoon on my own?
A: In Ontario, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, it is illegal to trap and relocate a raccoon. Regardless of if you are a landowner protecting your property or not, without the proper trapping licence, trapping and relocating a furbearing animal is illegal. To obtain this license you must attend a lengthy practical and theoretical course, and meet many other specifications laid out by the Ontario Fur Managers Federation (OFMF).
Q: How far can you relocate a raccoon?
A: A raccoon can only be relocated within one kilometers of the location where it is trapped. Unfortunately, raccoons can travel over six kilometers in a single day, and a relocated raccoon will easily find their way back to your home.
Q: How can I tell if raccoons are visiting my yard?
A: Signs that you have raccoons in your yard can be very vast. These signs can include the presence of feces, knocked over trash cans, garbage strewn across your yard, scratches on tree trunks, drain pipes, or fences, torn up sod, or garden destruction.
Q: How smart are raccoons?
A: Raccoons are quick thinkers and are very adaptable. Most people compare their intellectual capacity to that of a monkey. Raccoons have specifically gained attention for their intelligence due to their ability to thrive through our never ending urban development.
Q: What should I do if I find a baby raccoon?
A: If you are sure that the baby or litter has been abandoned, you can move the young into a cardboard box with holes in the top. When touching the baby raccoons, make sure you use gloves, as even young raccoons can carry many diseases. You can then reach out to a local rehabilitation center or call 311 and they will instruct you further on what to do. Do not attempt to feed the raccoons as this can be dangerous.
Q: Are pets safe from raccoons?
A: Your pets are not safe from raccoons. . Raccoons will chase and eat kittens as they are an easy prey, but most grown cats are smart and agile enough to stay away from raccoons. Although it is unlikely that a raccoon will pick a fight with a dog, dogs are infamous for chasing animals. If your dog chases and catches a raccoon, it is possible for the dog to be injured or contract a disease. Even if your pets do not come in direct contact with a raccoon, they can still get diseases by coming in contact with raccoon urine or feces.
Q: What do I do if a raccoon is sleeping on my balcony or roof?
A: Raccoons are primarily nocturnal animals so it is very common to see them sleeping on a balcony or roof during the day. If there are no visible signs that this raccoon is sick or injured, you should leave them alone as they may leave and never return. If you see this raccoon sleeping in the same location consecutively or for a period of longer than 24hrs, you can call 416 HAWKEYE for advice and/or permanent removal options.
Q: When is raccoon mating season?
A: Raccoons typically start mating in the early months of winter and give birth in the spring, but the mating season can extend until June if the female has not found a suitable mate. Once impregnated, their gestation period is approximately 65 days resulting in anywhere from 1 to 8 young.
Q: What kills raccoon roundworm eggs?
A: The most effective method of killing raccoon roundworm eggs is heat. Once the majority of the raccoon poop is picked up using a bag, boiling water can be used to effectively kill any roundworm eggs. Any contaminated material or feces should either be burned or sent to a landfill.
Q: Can a raccoon climb a wall?
A: Raccoons can climb brick, stone, wood, downspouts, and siding. The only surfaces a raccoon cannot climb are sheet metal and glass; although weathered sheet metal creates an unsmooth surface and therefore makes climbing far easier for a raccoon. In fact, raccoons can be found inside walls as well.
Q: Can raccoons swim?
A: Raccoons are very good swimmers and can swim up to speeds of 5 kilometers an hour. Raccoons typically only swim in search of fish or to escape a predator. They have not been known to swim for entertainment, but can stay in the water for several hours. Unlike semi-aquatic animals, raccoon fur is not waterproof, so can weigh them down and slow swimming over time.
Q: How far will a raccoon travel to return home?
A: Raccoons can travel up to 6 kilometers in a single day, but may travel further to return home. Legally you can only relocate a trapped raccoon within 1 kilometer of the trapped location. Instead of illegally relocating a raccoon further away than the law allows, call 416 HAWKEYE for a permanent removal solution.
Q: Do relocated raccoons survive?
A: Raccoons are smart animals, but many times a relocated raccoon is released into an unsuitable and unfamiliar habitat different to the one they have adapted to. Relocation causes stress and many relocated raccoons don’t last longer than a month or two in their new environment. Also, trying to relocate a mother and her young together can result in the mother abandoning her young as she now has to search for new food and water sources for herself, and can no longer provide the needed support. Relocation is illegal and not a viable option.