Raccoons (Procyon lotor)
Raccoons are nocturnal animals. They are grey and black with distinctive “bandit eye” mask. The raccoon has a body length of 16 to 28 inches and can weigh up to 40 pounds depending on the availability of food. The raccoon is an omnivore. Their diet consist of insects, worms, fruits and nuts. The suburban raccoon is an accomplished garbage thief and has highly dexterous paws.
The raccoon is highly skilled in climbing and will often use trees hollowed out or burrows used by other animals for her den. Favorite suburban locations include attics, chimneys, garages and under decks. Noises often heard are growling and chittering usually in the nighttime hours. Baby raccoons are also very vocal when attempting to attract the attention of their mother. If you enter your attic and find larger droppings such as those left by a small dog it is most likely a raccoon.
The breeding season is January through March for a female raccoon and within 65 days will give birth to two to five kits. Kits are normally weaned at 16 weeks. Female raccoons are extremely aggressive when protecting their young.
Raccoons can carry a variety of diseases and parasites. Raccoons can carry rabies, a lethal disease caused by the neurotropic rabies virus carried in the saliva and transmitted by bites. They also can be affected by bacterial diseases leptospirosis, listeriosis, tetanus and tularemia.