Peak Nuisance Period: Anytime of Year.
- From mid-March through mid-May, when the females are looking for den sites in which to raise their young.
- From mid-May through July, individuals may see “sick” or “rabid” raccoons that are active during the day.
- From the late summer through the fall, raccoons may dig through lawns and turf in search of grubs.
Please be aware that Raccoons, although cute, are an extremely dangerous and aggressive. They will attack humans and pets if confronted.
Common Nuisance Situations:
- They den in attics, chimneys, sheds, and barns, annoying people with their noise and odors.
- Their nest materials might block a vent, causing a fire hazard. They also chew on wires, also a fire hazard.
- Raccoons can damage buildings, either purposefully, to gain entry or create a nesting area, or accidentally, because they’re heavy enough to bend gutters as they move through them.
- Raccoons enter buildings through the roof (using rain gutters, brick chimneys, and overhanging branches to reach the roof); push their way through louvers or soffits; or climb directly up the siding. They may tear shingles, vents, or roofing material to gain entry.
- Raccoons also cause damage as they feed, pillaging gardens and agricultural crops, knocking over and chewing through garbage cans, getting stuck in dumpsters, pulling down and chewing holes in bird feeders, and pulling up turf and lawns for worms and grubs.
- Their scat fouls yards and children’s play areas and may present a health hazard (parasites found in scat).
- Disease risks: rabies (they are a rabies vector species in New York), raccoon roundworm.
- Raccoons are currently the highest carrier of rabies in New York.
Description: Raccoons range in size from 12 to 36 pounds having a body 26 to 38 inches long including a 10 inch tail. Their coat is long and thick, grizzled, grayish brown, black mask below white eyebrows. Legs are medium in length; paws are puffy and they have flexible toes used for climbing. They are primarily nocturnal but may be active during the day, especially in the spring and summer when the female is nursing her young and requires more food. They do not hibernate. However, If the temperature drops below 25 degrees fahrenheit they may sleep for days. They do not migrate.
Diet: Opportunist. Eats fruits, berries, and mast (acorns, and nuts and seeds from trees); insects; worms; frogs; fish; turtles; mice; crayfish, clams, and snails; eggs and young of birds and reptiles; garden, orchard, and field crops; birdseed; pet food; garbage; and carrion.
Habitat: Prefers hardwood forests near streams, rivers, swamps, or ponds. Highly adaptable. Dens in tree cavities and hollow logs, rock crevices, burrows, brush piles, haystacks, beaver lodges, chimneys, attics, crawl spaces, barns, buildings, culverts, storm sewers, and abandoned autos. Usually has a central den (and a few spares) within its range. Females may den together in groups of up to a dozen. Males den by themselves.
Breeding: Raccoons mate in late January to February. Gestation takes approximately 63 days. Typical birthing periods are from March through May. However, late breeding females may give birth as late as August. Raccoons are polygamous, females raise the young alone. In fact, the males will potentially kill the kits if they find them. Typical litter is 3 to 5 kits.
- A raccoon that’s active during the day is not necessarily rabid. It may be a healthy female that’s feeding more often than usual, because of the demands of her young.