What should I do if I find a raccoon in my yard?

May 4, 2021

Finding a raccoon in your yard is not an unlikely event, nor is it cause for fear.  Raccoons may seem very cute with their masked faces, but they can be dangerous and possibly carry disease. Do not attempt to engage with or capture a raccoon.

Let’s learn a little about raccoons


Raccoons are found all over the United States, but their favorite home is right in our backyard. Raccoons love the woods and the food and water resources it provides. Here are some interesting facts about raccoons.

  • Raccoons are only about 3 feet long, and of course, you know they are famous for the mask of black fur around their eyes.
  • Raccoons have some of the most dexterous hands in nature, as anyone who’s had a garden, cooler, or garbage can be broken into by one of them knows. Native Americans were the first to note their unusual paws. The English word raccoon comes from the Powhatan word aroughcun, which means “animal that scratches with its hands.” (mentalfloss.com)
  • org tells us: While not all raccoons have rabies, raccoons, in general, are major hosts of rabies in the U.S., especially in the eastern part of the country where their populations are increasing. Just because a raccoon is active during the daytime, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s carrying rabies. However, there are some indicators that a raccoon could be infected with the rabies virus. Key symptoms of a rabid raccoon include confusion and disorientation, leg paralysis or difficulty walking, wet and tangled hair, significant aggression, and production of very loud, unusual noises. Rabid raccoons may also foam at the mouth and have watery eyes.
  • Raccoons will eat both plants and animals, especially backyard mice, rabbits, and insects.
  • These nocturnal animals do not hibernate but lay low during the harshest winter months.

How do I know if I have raccoons in my yard?

how do I keep raccoons out of bird feeder

Raccoons are nocturnal and use the cloak of darkness to search for food. Usually, homeowners find signs of raccoon activity in the morning.

  • Visible damage inside your garage. These garage visitors may be caught inside accidentally when the garage door is open, and they enter in search of food or shelter. You may find droppings or tracks to alert you of their presence and may not see them until you leave for work or school the following day. Do not approach them. A cornered animal can be aggressive and dangerous.
  • The evidence they are looking for food. Secure your trash can lids tightly; they are very adept in opening the lids. Do not leave pet food on your deck, and do not leave human food for your birds. Raccoons also have an excellent nose for compost heaps!
  • You may hear sounds in your attic. Raccoons and other wildlife can enter your home from the roof. Tree branches, chimneys, overgrown bushes, and plants serve as a ladder to these pests and nuisance wildlife. Once on your roof, they have a bird’s eye view and access to your eaves, soffits, windows, and screens. They do not need a lot of space to wiggle indoors.

Are you noticing more wildlife activity during the day?

Raccoons in the backyard

Spring to mid-June is newborn time, and Mother Nature is expecting. To feed her developing young, a mother must remain vigilant about hunting and foraging for food. Skunks, opossum, raccoons, and squirrels are more prevalent during the daytime hours. Unfortunately, with daylight hunting comes the increased possibility of injury or death.

We receive calls from homeowners who stumbled upon a nest or gathering of baby squirrels, skunks, opossum, or raccoons. The homeowner is alerted by the sounds of their cries. Our trained technicians are highly aware of the delicate balance of nature and take steps to diligently determine if the mother is indeed no longer available and supporting her offspring.

How do I get rid of raccoons in my backyard?

Raccoons and nuisance pests near me

The best way to get rid of raccoons is never to invite them for a visit! Humans are often compelled to feed nuisance wildlife. According to farmanddairy.com, “Never intentionally provide food for raccoons. You shouldn’t try to feed raccoons, and you should discourage your neighbors from feeding raccoons. A readily available food source will only attract more raccoons and create an even bigger problem.”

Please do not attempt to remove the wildlife yourself. Our technicians are highly trained and licensed by New York State. We never want our customers to put themselves in harm’s way to confront wildlife either in the yard, climb a ladder, or squeeze through an attic or crawlspace.

When we are called to a site this time of year, and we either find a pregnant raccoon or the newborn babies, we know that removal and care are tricky. We prefer not to eradicate pregnant wildlife or newborn babies, but if necessary, we will release the animals to the care of a wildlife Rehabilitator.

Not sure what to do? Call us.

Contact us for an inspection of your home and property. We don’t charge for the assessment, and when we are done, you will understand what is going with the wildlife and a game plan to correct the situation.

resources: https://www.farmanddairy.com/ and https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/nuisance-wildlife/raccoons/ and https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/527175/10-clever-facts-about-raccoons

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