Did you know that President Coolidge and his wife had a pet raccoon named Rebecca? Why not? They are round, fuzzy creatures with bushy tails and a cute black mask that covers the area around their eyes. Raccoons are about the size of a small dog, 23 to 37 inches long and weigh anywhere from 4 to 23 pounds. While they are very cute, they can be dangerous when approached. Raccoons are common carries of rabies, roundworms and leptospirosis, so don’t approach them. They are extremely adaptable and live in a wide range of climates and habitats. They are very happy to live where humans live. Raccoons are omnivores, eating vegetation and meat. They like to eat apples, acorns, berries, citrus, fruits, corn and nuts. Animal food includes fish, frogs, crayfish, rodents and bird eggs. When they have a hard time finding food, they will scavenge human trash and will eat roadkill. Spring is the time of year when raccoons multiply. These cute little babies don’t have rings on their tails or that mask around their eyes until they get older and their eyes don’t open for about 20 days.
Jaw Dropping Facts About Raccoons
• Scientific name is Procyon lotor which means “washer dog” even though it’s more closely related to the bear family
• The word raccoon, is derived from the Algonquin Indian word “arakun” which means “he scratches with hands”
• Raccoons can make lots of noises; up to 200 different sounds. They can purr, growl, whistle and scream.
• They are easy going when young but can get aggressive and destructive as they mature
• Their nimble little hands can untie a shoe, unlatch a cage and get coins out of a shirt pocket
• Raccoons rank higher than cats and just below monkeys in the mammal IQ scale
• They can climb down trees head first because they can rotate their hind legs a full 180 degrees
• Raccoons can run as fast as 15 miles per hour and can fall 35 to 40 feet without injury
How to Keep Raccoons Off Your Roof
Raccoons will seek out homes where food is easy to find. Because they are willing to eat just about anything, it can be challenging to control them, but it can be done. If your home has given them what they like in the past, they will keep coming back. Tipped over garbage cans and trash all over your yard are a clear indication that they have visited your property. To keep raccoons away, don’t feed them, seal garbage cans tight and use repellents.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only one person has died from raccoon to human transmission of rabies, but you still don’t want them around. Remember that raccoons are not social and will sleep during the day. If you do see one during the day that is moving erratically and doesn’t seem to be afraid of you, they may have rabies. Call a wildlife control company like A Five Star Termite & Pest Control to take care of the problem.