Some call them raccoons, some coons, while some know them as Procyon lotor, but they all refer to the same creature- a native mammal, with heavily furred body, a bushy tail, and a pointed face with black fur covering the eye area, and measuring approximately 90 centimeters (a mature raccoon). Though you may refer to them using a different name, in our today’s article, we will be calling them raccoons, and this means that they are our today’s topic. Let us start by looking at the basic information about these furry creatures;
One fact about raccoons is that they are highly adaptable. Hence, they can live in a wide range of habitats. However, they are majorly found in North America, Japan, Europe and Central America. They majorly live in trees or caves, though sometimes some people tend to give them a warm welcome to their homes.
Diet Of Raccoons
Just like you, and me, raccoons are omnivores. Hence, they have different types of teeth for tearing meat and grinding vegetables. So, what kind of food do they exactly eat? Well, as aforesaid, they can adapt to different habitats and climates, therefore, they take a variety of foods such as nuts, squirrels, rats, vegetables, insects, poultry, birds, etc. However, considering that they like living near streams, the small aquatic creatures such as fish, clams, snails, water snakes, and frogs remain their favorite treats.
Raccoons As Pets
Though they do not fit to be pet, some people treat them as pets. So, is it bad to give them such treatment? Well, the fact remains that they are not considered as pet animals; therefore, giving them such treatment could sometimes come with its costs.
Nuisance Raccoon Problems
Though they are made to live in the forest, their aggressiveness for the search of food and the ability to adapt to different climates and habitats more often tempt them to people’s homes. While they may seem cute by a look, the behavior isn’t that cool and can cause serious problems. Here are some of the problems. Invading and damaging gardens, when in hunger, these creatures can invade gardens. Their great appetite means that they can cause serious damage, especially in the vegetable gardens. Raiding chicken coops, sometimes raccoons can access the chicken coops. Whenever this happens, expect to lose a couple of eggs and chicks. Raiding fish ponds, if you have a fish pond in your home, then, this is one greatest attraction for raccoons. Remember that aquatic creatures make their favorite food. Raiding garbage cans, using their dexterous toes, raccoons can easily climb garbage cans. This sometimes causes a mess especially when they scatter the garbage.
Keeping Raccoons Away
Here are some of the preventive measures to keep them away from your home. Avoid feeding raccoons, if you give raccoons food, they will always invade your home whenever they are in hunger. This may make them misbehave especially when you don’t have food to feed them. Limit access to garbage cans, this can be done by ensuring that you tightly close the garbage can by use of strong cords or chain. Some people go to the extent of using ammonia to repel the raccoons away from the garbage cans. Feed pets indoor, feeding your pets outdoor can sometimes attract raccoons through smell. Therefore, consider doing it from indoors. Limit access to your pet’s home, raccoons can easily open unlocked doors. Therefore, it is highly recommended to lock the pet’s door at night or whenever you are not around. Close all entries to probable dens, raccoons can go to the extent of living in your home. They prefer living in chimneys and small spaces in your house. Therefore, consider covering these entry points with a piece of cloth or using wire mesh.
Diseases Associated With Raccoons
Raccoons are subject to some illnesses, some of which can be transmitted to humans or pets. This is one of the reasons as to why most experts do not recommend raccoons as pets. Let us take a look at some of these diseases. Rabies, this is one of the most transmitted diseases from raccoons to humans. The rabies disease can be transmitted through a bite or a scratch by an infected raccoon. This is why you should keep the pets indoors at night. Raccoon Roundworm, scientifically known as Baylisascaris procyonis, it inhabits the intestines of the raccoons. Therefore, the worm’s eggs are present in the feces. People who unknowingly ingest these eggs can become infected. Such people may experience different symptoms. However, the most common ones include liver complications, loss of muscle control, fatigue and sometimes blindness! Yes, if the eyes are affected. Giardiasis, this is an infection that is caused by microscopic parasites scientifically called Giardia Lamblia. Affecting the small intestines of different animals, such as raccoons, this infection can be transmitted through feces. However, these parasites can also thrive in contaminated water, soil and food for a very long period of time. Accidental consumption of these parasites can lead to infection. When infected, people experience symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, dehydration and abdominal cramps. Leptospirosis, this is a bacterial infection which is transmitted through urine. Infected raccoons excrete the disease-causing mechanism in their urine from where pets and humans contract the disease. Some of the symptoms of this disease include jaundice, headache, aching muscles, diarrhea, and high fever.