Raccoons may look cute and cuddly, but they’re definitely an animal you don’t want in or around your house. Raccoons will scavenge through your trash looking for food, and may nest in your attic or garage when the weather is cold.
Although raccoons don’t pose a real threat to humans – their strain of rabies causes them to die in 1-3 days, and only one human has ever died from rabies contracted by a raccoon – they can cause significant damage to structures and be an overall nuisance to homeowners.
- The raccoon (Procyon lotor) is a medium-sized mammal native to North America. As a result of escapes and deliberate introductions in the mid-20th century, raccoons are now also distributed across the European mainland, the Caucasus region and Japan.
- Two of the most distinctive features of the raccoon are its extremely sensitive front paws and facial mask, which are also themes in the mythology of several Native American tribes. Raccoons are exceptionally smart, and studies have shown that raccoons are able to remember the solution to tasks up to three years later.
Why Do Raccoons Need to Be Removed from a Home or Yard?
Even though most raccoons are not harmful to humans and rarely attack them, they are still considered a “pest” and should be removed from your home or yard if they present themselves frequently. A raccoon will steal trash or dump over garbage cans, or they may nest in an attic or chimney. They may steal bird seed or your pet’s food, or their presence may be alarming to your house pets.
Raccoons can carry leptospirosis, a bacteria that can infect humans if a human comes into contact with the urine of an infected raccoon or water that has been contaminated by a raccoon with an active leptospirosis infection. Although rare, this disease requires prompt medical treatment.
How to Remove a Raccoon
The most common way to rid your home or yard of a raccoon is to trap it. These traps are humane and allows the animal to be captured without hurting it, so it can be removed and relocated to another area. While this seems relatively simple to do, it is not necessarily legal or wise for someone who is not licensed to trap and relocate a raccoon. Often, homeowners who try to trap a raccoon themselves will use the wrong trap, catch the wrong animal, or risk getting hurt by the raccoon when releasing it back into the wild in another area.
When to Call a Pest Control Professional
If you suspect that you have a raccoon in your midst, don’t wait to contact a pest control professional. An animal removal team can visit your home and evaluate for signs of raccoons, and can provide you with recommendations on how to humanely remove the raccoon from your home or yard.