Raccoons

by Tammy McCormack. 0 Comments

The raccoon is considered to be an omnivorous carnivore, and may be protected as a furbearer in many states. Raccoons are found all through North America and our native Maryland.

Did you know the panda in china is related to the raccoon family? Raccoons mate from February through May, and give birth May to September. The typical litters contain two to four young. They don't truly hibernate, but den up and "sleep" during the coldest months of winter.

Diets are omnivorous, like that of the black bear. They eat aquatic invertebrates, frogs, mice and rodents, carrion of any kind (which means other animals that are already dead), berries, fruit, human foods (including garbage). Raccoons are known for their manual dexterity, which is second only to that of primates. Raccoons use their paws and digits to extract food from difficult locations as they forage and hunt. They are highly intelligent and can also manipulate locks and fasteners.

Raccoons have adapted well in our suburban areas. Studies have shown that there are more raccoons per square mile of suburban areas than wild areas. They are notorious for being a nuisance by getting into garbage cans, so be sure your garbage cans have tight lids to help prevent them from getting into the garbage and making a huge mess.

Raccoons are well known to sometimes carry rabies and other diseases. Rabies is a viral agent that may be transmitted directly by a bite or scratch. Rabies is found in the saliva of infected animals. If you are bitten or scratched by any mammal species known to harbor rabies, and rabies may be known to be in the area, seek medical help and call your local animal control agency. The animal will need to be tested. If you have a nuisance raccoon in the attic it is best to call a licensed wildlife trapper who is educated and trained to trap this species and will know how to clean up any fecal/urine matter from the animal.

Raccoons also carry a type of roundworm that can cause serious illness, blindness, or death if transferred to human. It is found in the fecal matter. (Roundworm and rabies information is provided for educational use only).

Spring is here. Get out and enjoy our native Maryland wildlife.

Tammy McCormack is a licensed professional snake trapper. She writes a regular online column for fredericknewspost.com. Email her at snaketrapping@aol.com.

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