Critter of the Month: Northern Raccoon
The Northern raccoon, also known as the backyard bandit, is no stranger to Mississippi. Known for the black bandit mask on its face and its striped tail, these raccoons can be found in a variety of environments. They easily adapt to their surroundings, whether that be in forested areas or cities.
Northern raccoons are nocturnal animals, which is why we normally see them when it’s dark outside. Because they are nocturnal, they have great night vision. Most adult raccoons are two to three feet long and weigh anywhere from 10 to 30 pounds. One lesser-known fact about Northern raccoons is that they can make over 40 different sounds. You can hear them hissing, growling, purring, and even screaming!
Raccoons are hungry little critters, looking to eat anything readily available to them. Where there is a food source, there is likely a raccoon nearby. They are known for rummaging through trash bins around town and at homes. There is often a high raccoon population in large cities due to the amount of trash in the area. I once had a raccoon encounter while camping. We were awoken by the sound of them trying to get in our trash but thankfully it was out of reach!
Most raccoons are friendly towards humans and are unbothered by their presence. It’s very tempting to leave food outside for them to nibble on, especially if you’ve seen some in your backyard before. Remember they are still wild animals and can carry a variety of diseases and can become aggressive towards humans.
To help prevent raccoons from frequenting your property, make sure your trash is tidy and secured. It’s also a good idea to bring in any pet food that’s left outside. Raccoons will often sleep in unsealed areas they can access, like porches or attics. Make sure all areas to your home are properly sealed to keep raccoons from making themselves at home. Contact a pest removal professional if raccoons become a problem at your home.
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