However there are 25 subspecies throughout North and Middle America. The most common local to us is the Eastern Raccoon (Procyon lotor lotor). It is a darker colored species with a long full coat. The raccoon’s upper body is grey with an overlay of black, the sides are lighter in color. The face has a grizzle-like appearance. It’s mask is distinct with white bordering lines. The raccoon’s head is relatively small compared to other species. Eastern raccoons range from 10-20 pounds and 23-38 inches long.
Raccoons are opportunistic feeders and omnivorous, which makes them very adaptable to country and city life. Raccoons will feed from garbage cans or on small game such as mice, rabbits, turtles, eggs, chickens and any fruit or veggies they may find along the way. They like to make homes near streams or lakes and create dens in trees, rock piles or old fox burrows. Although, they have become suited for living in our attics, chimneys, sheds and other man-made structures.
Raccoons tend to breed in the late winter to early spring time. The male leaves the female after mating. A typical gestation period for the female raccoon is 63 days. Females only produce 1 litter per year and usually have 4 cubs per litter. They cubs are born completely vulnerable, blind and helpless. After a little over a month the cubs will venture out short distances and begin to learn to search for food. After another 2-3 months they will be on their own to forage and look for their own garbage cans to raid.
See our rabies page by clicking here to learn more on this disease. As always, report any suspicious animal activity. Rabies is a serious disease and will be fatal if left untreated. Raccoons can also carry canine distemper, which is usually fatal and can show similar signs of that of rabies. However, it is not transmittable to humans and most domestic pets are vaccinated against canine distemper. Raccoons are also the primary carrier of Roundworms, a parasite found in their fecal droppings. Roundworms rarely cause problems for raccoons themselves, but can be dangerous for pets and humans if they come in contact with infected feces. Covering children’s sandboxes at night is a good preventative measure since raccoons may use this area as a latrine which would cause exposure to the roundworms.
Prevention starts with eliminating harborage areas (places to live) and food sources from your yard or immediate location. Don’t leave pet food out at night, close and lock down garbage can lids, fence off areas to under porches and sheds to prevent denning…these are all things you can do to help discourage raccoons from frequenting your space.
Control would consist of having us come out and complete a thorough inspection to the property (no charge) and most likely setting up live-trap cages with a combination of mechanical exclusion work if needed. Typically, we charge $125 to place live-catch traps down around your yard and we’ll check those at least once a day. We don’t charge for empty cages. Only if we catch an animal and typically that charge is $150 for the first raccoon and $50 each additional raccoon caught in the same day. Depending on the size of a job we may be able to give further discounts or offer alternate pricing.