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Raccoons in my yard

by Dee Walmsley

I won't hurt you.
Help!

 

While going through the check-out last week the cashier asked me if I was the "raccoon lady." Never knowing what's coming next, I smiled and admitted that "Yes, that's me".
 
She said that raccoons were attacking cats in her neighborhood and wondered if there was a solution to her problem. I said, I'd look into it and let her know.
 
One of the solutions offered was to use a cat door with a magnetic collar so only the cat could gain entry into the house. Without the collar the home owner may find unwanted company using the cat door.
 
I realize that trying to keep an outside cat in is near impossible but keep it in mind for your next pet as they lead healthier, happier lives by being indoor cats and your vet bills will be minimal.
 
In my experience, unless a cat or dog is territorial most raccoons will just ignore pets, however this is baby season, and the lady said there was only one woodlot in the neighborhood, which I suspect lacks ample food and den sites.
 
Most likely the coons are attracted to the property for one or any of the following reasons: waste products in garbage cans or denning under the house or in an attic. I say this because the coons will generally not be regularly attracted to one location and defend it. They are known to den and raise young underneath houses or in attics or other outbuildings if there is access. If this is the case, they will be aggressive towards domestic pets while protecting their young. If this is not the case, then there is probably a den-tree in close proximity to the home causing the same situation. Den trees usually have a open cavity above the ground.
 
As more habitat is lost, urban wildlife left homeless, seeks out new homes to raise their families. For some they find shelter under sheds or porches and cause no harm, while others rip up roofs to gain entry.
 
If you know of possums or raccoons living under your porch or shed, my advice is to leave them alone and enjoy the antics of the young. Force them out and you are likely sending them on another house hunting spree which could easily be through the roof.
 
Should you trap and re-locate urban wildlife? No... all you are doing is introducing the trapped animal into someone else's territory where they will have to fight for survival leaving their young unprotected. Most will die! Should the animal be diseased, then YOU are spreading that disease by contaminating another area.
 
We can co-exist. It just takes a little time and patience on our part. Remember before they moved into our territory, WE destroyed theirs.
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