By Sam Trull, Wildlife Vet Tech, Janine Licare, co-founder, & Jennifer Rice, President
It is baby raccoon season! We have recently gotten many calls about abandoned baby raccoons. If you have a raccoon in your roof or walls, please read this!
Here are solutions on how to deal with raccoons:
Once you know how they’re getting in, find out if your unwanted guests happen to be a mother raccoon with young. If so, the best thing to do is wait a few weeks until the babies grow old enough to leave with their mother—they won’t survive without her. (We have a mother and babies living in our roof and we have to wait until they are fully grown to shut the entrance they created in our roof.)
Please don’t try to trap and relocate the family yourself. It almost always leads to separation (and probably death) of the young raccoons.
If you know that you are dealing solely with adults, you can start using humane techniques to get them to leave on their own.
Start small. Gentle techniques may be all you need. Try bright lights, loud noises and unpleasant smells like mothballs or a bowl of cider vinegar, try combining techniques. Multisensory harassment works best: light, noise, and smell.
Choose the right time—at dusk, right before the mother’s normal activity period. Don’t drive raccoons out during the day. Raccoons are primarily nocturnal, so they may be confused in daylight, and they are certainly more vulnerable.
Close all entries to keep them out
Convincing the raccoon to leave is only half the solution. The second step is to prevent raccoons (and other animals) from entering again. Many people put out a trap, catch the raccoon, and kill or relocate her. But unless you seal off entries into the house, there’s nothing to stop another animal from moving in.
Never close an entryway until you’re absolutely certain all the raccoons have left. For your own and the raccoon’s safety, you don’t want to trap a raccoon or her young inside your house.
Once you find possible points of entry, are sure no raccoons are inside, and have completed any necessary cleanup,cover all openings with heavy material, such as wire mesh, sheet metal, or metal flashing. The best wire mesh for the job is at least 16-gauge material (about 0.06 inches in diameter) with ½-inch openings.
The fact is that raccoons, as a species, are doing very well in disturbed habitats. In fact they thrive on living in areas where humans live. As a species, on the whole, they do not need our help. However, sloths and monkeys, with smaller ranges, take longer to reach sexual maturity, have fewer babies, more complicated diets, stricter habitat requirements etc., do very much need our help or they might disappear from this earth entirely! Our decision has to be based on what is better for the greater good.
We have limited resources (staff, money, space). Since we are a conservation organization, we have to make tough choices sometimes. This means putting conservation of endangered species and the rain forest over the welfare of an individual animal.
Currently KSTR cannot accept baby raccoons unless we have proof that they are orphaned (the mom is dead).
We are not discriminating against raccoons as a species, but we are making it a hassle for people who are trying to get “rid” of them.
Here is why we cannot blindly accept baby raccoons:
- It is not environmentally correct to separate them from their mothers.
- They are usually found in the roof or walls. That is where their den is and the mom is probably out foraging for food. We ask people to leave them alone and the mom will return.
- We currently are raising 5 baby raccoons and our rescue center and sanctuary is full. We have no more enclosures.
- Raccoons are MUCH more expensive to raise than a baby titi monkey or sloth. Just the formula for each one is $100 a month for 6 months, that is $600, and we currently have 5 babies from hotels. That is $3000, not including the enclosures they have to live in, the puppy chow, and the hours of care. They have to be fed during the night and 5 raccoons require the manpower of two people. We don’t have the resources to do this. Already today, a donation that could have gone to our wildlife research and release program is going to formula for the raccoons.
- We have to wash and dry 3 loads of laundry a day to clean their bedding!
Please be humane with the wildlife! If you want more ideas on how to remove raccoons from your premises, look online under “getting raccoons out of the roof”. We got some of the ideas from http://www.humanesociety.org/