In recent weeks, the number of calls and inquiries received by county extension offices about raccoons raiding gardens, attacking pets and damaging roofs has increased. Prior to the 1990’s, these types of damage reports were rare.
Nobody knows why raccoons moved to Utah, some believe it was a part of a natural migration. Others blame it on humans who released raccoons as pets or potential game animals. Raccoons seem to always be hungry, they will eat anything - plants, fish insects, small mammals, pet food, reptiles, birds and eggs and human trash.
Here are some tips to avoid conflicts with raccoons in your neighborhood:
- Never approach or try to feed raccoons.
- Always keep your pet vaccinations up to date.
- Trash should be kept indoors at night, and put out in the morning at pickup. If this cannot be done, trash cans should be secured to avoid being overturned, and the lid should be weighted or locked.
- Keep pets, especially housecats, poultry, rabbits and other hobby livestock, secured in a building or barn at night.
- Removing attractants and exclusion are the next steps in avoiding conflicts, involving neighbors in this effort is also key to success.
- To protect your home, install chimney caps to prevent raccoons from nesting. Fall is the best time to install the caps since raccoons are not raising their young.
- While covering holes and decks, be sure to avoid sealing animals inside.
- If raccoons are frequenting your porch, use noisemakers to scare the raccoon away.
- If a raccoon has entered your home, close off the access areas to the other parts of the home. Open the doors and windows, and go outside and watch for the raccoon to leave, do not use food as a bait.