Understanding Raccoon Behavior and Using it to Your Advantage

North American Raccoon

The North American Raccoon can cause extensive damage to gardens and yards.

A raccoon is covered in brownish-grey fur, with a distinctive black mask around its eyes and between five and seven dark brown rings on its bushy tail. Inclusive of the tail, the adult raccoon’s body measures between 28 and 41 inches in length and is anywhere from 9 to 30 pounds in weight. This animal is usually found near water in wooded areas, or in marshes and swamps. A wild raccoon lives for six years, making its den in abandoned woodchuck burrows, tree cavities, caves, rock crevices, barns or hollow logs.  (learn more about the raccoon here)

Mating Behavior

All Natural Repellent Effective for Raccoon

All Natural Repellent Effective for Raccoon

Adult raccoon live alone in their dens except during the mating season that lasts from January to March. The female gives birth 63 days after mating, with a litter size ranging from two to six. The mother lines the den with wood shreds to keep the young ones warm. They open their eyes three weeks after birth and start weaning eight to twelve weeks later. They then accompany their mother out of the den, learning to climb trees and to hunt for food. At the age of one, they are old enough to breed; they move out of the mother raccoon’s den to live independently.

Feeding Habits

Each paw of the raccoon has five long, slender toes with a heightened touch sensitivity that resembles human toes; the animal uses them to hold, pull and harvest food. This omnivorous creature likes to eat acorns, beechnuts, black cherries, raspberries, apples, fungi and corn, as well as insects, earthworms, small birds, tree squirrels, mice, snakes and frogs that are found in gardens. In residential yards, raccoon can also be found digging through trash cans in search of food.

Seasonal Behavior

Raccoon are generally nocturnal creatures and move about very actively in the spring and summer. Towards the end of fall, they feed heavily and build body fat reserves to survive the cold months ahead when food is scarce. They do not go into true hibernation in the winter; instead, they alternate short periods of inactivity inside their dens with occasional food forages outside.

Predators and Defensive Behavior

When fighting with other raccoon, these creatures lash their tail, bare their teeth, arch their back and make the hairs on their back stand up to show aggression. These body signals are accompanied by a lot of hissing, growling, barking and whistling. Young raccoon purr and twitter when in distress to alert the mother.

Foxes, coyotes, bobcats, fishers and owls prey on raccoons, especially the young ones. Although raccoons can run fast, they cannot keep up the speed long enough to escape from danger. However, they are experts at climbing trees and swimming to safety.

Raccoon Repellent Using Natural Behavior

Gardeners suffer a lot of damage to their yards because of raccoon. These creatures destroy the vegetation, eat young fowl, make a mess with the trash and even enter the house at times. The best way to get rid of them is to use a raccoon repellent like Shake-Away, whose granules contain the urine scent of its top predator – the coyote. Because these critters are natural fear of the predator, spreading such a raccoon repellent around the yard is guaranteed to work effectively in driving them away.

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