Raccoons are some of the most distinctive-looking animals in the wild. These adorable mask-faced creatures are fun to see around the suburbs, but they might be more common in your area than you think. If you have raccoons in your neighborhood, learn more about these creatures, what makes them unique, and what you can to do make sure you don’t invite an infestation.
Despite their cute reputation, raccoons can be destructive and cause damage to your home that you don’t want. They have been known to tear a hole in your roof and damage your insulation with their body waste. Also, they get into your attic to nest their newborns and the babies can cause damage by falling into wall voids and trying to chew their way out.
1. They Are Smart
Raccoons are well-known for their intelligence. Some have said that they are smarter than foxes, and they are able to open test locks, remember puzzles, and differentiate between symbols, all in tests from zoologists. In the wild, these skills are helpful to raccoons to keep them out of danger from predators and make finding food and shelter easy.
When a group of raccoons, known as a nursery, gets together, they can be even more intelligent. They can collaborate to access hard-to-reach food, like knocking over garbage cans. Don’t underestimate raccoons’ abilities to reach your pet’s food or get into your home. And once they invade your home, they can cause considerable damage.
2. They Eat a Lot of Things
While some animals have very restricted diets, raccoons can eat any number of things. They are scavengers and omnivores, so there are very few things that they won’t eat. They love fruits and vegetables, like apples, peaches, and cherries, as well as nuts like acorns and walnuts. They will often forage for food and eat carcasses, as well as fish, insects, and bird eggs that they can find.
Raccoons are good at adapting to different environments, so in some urban neighborhoods, they can eat trash and leftovers in garbage cans. If you feed outdoor pets with cat food or birdseed, raccoons might be attracted to these, so find a way to limit access to food if you don’t want raccoons hanging around for a meal.
3. They Are Dexterous
These clever pests have five digits on all four paws, and their fingers and toes are very long and nimble, making dexterous activities easy for raccoons while they remain impossible for many other creatures. In fact, the name raccoon comes from the Powhatan name that means “animal that scratches with its hands.” The Spanish name for it also means “one who takes everything in its hands.” So even in history, raccoons have been known to be good with their paws.
They can pluck and catch food easily, open latches, lift lids, twist off jar lids, and even turn doorknobs. For these reasons, raccoons can access even the most unlikely of entrances to your home, like attic vents and pet doors.
4. They Are Sneaky
Raccoons are attracted to darkness, such as your attic space. While they are often nocturnal, they can come out during the day. They more often use the cover of night to avoid predators and enemies and safely scavenge food, especially from human environments. They see well in the dark; in fact, their distinctive fur pattern around their eyes is thought to enhance their night visit and reduce glare.
And with their intelligence and manual dexterity, they can access attics, crawlspaces, pet doors, open garages, and sheds looking for a warm place to make their home or a source of food to revisit. If you want to keep raccoons out of your home, have chimney caps installed, roof vent guards installed and prune trees back around your home.
If you have a raccoon or nuisance wildlife problem, contact the animal professionals at Guardian Pest Control. We can remove pests in and around your home and help keep them away for good. We can also repair damage that they have caused and point out issues that will help prevent them from invading your property. We are well-trained, experienced, and efficient at removing animals safely. Contact us immediately if you spot raccoons hanging around your home or if you feel you have critters in your attic, walls or crawlspace. We can help.