the entire Tampa Bay area !
here for a free estimate!
Raccoons are found
all over the Tampa
Bay area in ever-increasing
numbers. Urbanization often helps
their population because food
often becomes more available in
these conditions. Therefore, it
is not at all uncommon to encounter
raccoons near your home or worse,
in your attic can
cause extensive damage. While
nesting they bring food products
that will collect and rot. They
will also defecate and urinate.
The greatest problem
with raccoons is disease.
The following diseases
most serious health risk for humans
and their pets.
Raccoons are classified as a rabies
vector species, along with foxes,
Raccoon roundworm is a type of worm that infects raccoons and can cause serious disease in humans that accidentally come into contact with it. The adult worms live in the intestines of raccoons and deposit eggs which can contaminate soil around raccoon latrines. Humans, particularly children, can become infected by coming into contact with roundworm eggs from contaminated soil. The disease has little effect on raccoons but can cause severe, permanent brain damage in young children. For this reason, it is important to avoid contact with raccoons or areas they frequent. It is especially important to prevent raccoons from taking up residence in your yard, garage or attic.
Raccoons are capable of carrying
and transmitting this disease.
This disease is similar to rabies
and can also affect some pets.
it does not pose a threat to humans.
Contact your veterinarian to discuss
any concerns, and make sure that
your pets are vaccinated annually
against this and other diseases.
a raccoon removed from your attic
or home is not a job for an amateur.
Give us a call and we will send
out a professional to get rid of your raccoon.
from a great publication:
William H. Kern, Jr.
The raccoon, or simply "coon",
is one animal that most people
are well-acquainted with. They
are found commonly in every one
of the lower 48 States, in much
of southern Canada and throughout
Mexico and Central America. Raccoons
are very adaptable animals and
thrive in all kinds of habitats
from the desert southwest to tropical
forests and northern hardwoods.
Unlike many wildlife, raccoons
also do especially well in urban
areas. Raccoons are found statewide
in Florida in ever-increasing
numbers. Urbanization and agriculture
often help their population because
food often becomes more available
in these conditions. Therefore,
it is not at all uncommon to encounter
raccoons near your home or neighborhood.There
is no mistaking a raccoon for
any other animal. Its stout, bear-like
body, prominent black mask and
heavily furred, ringed tail all
are distinctive. Adult raccoons
are about 2 to 3 feet long (including
their 10-inch tail) and weigh
anywhere from 10 to 30 pounds.
Larger animals sometimes are recorded,
but Florida raccoons tend to be
smaller than those farther north.
Their color generally is a grizzled
salt-and-pepper gray and black
with a light belly. Often the
"white" hairs are noticeably
yellowish. Both all-black and
all-white animals sometimes occur.Raccoons
are active mostly during the evening
hours. On most days, they leave
their den soon after dusk and
are active until morning. It is
not unusual, however, for them
to linger in their den well past
nightfall, and during particularly
nasty weather they may not venture
out at all.Individual raccoons
normally use a home range of 1
to 3 square miles and are somewhat
territorial, especially the males.
Raccoons seen in small groups
most likely are females with young
or unassociated adults from neighboring
territories brought together by
a large food source. Where food
is plentiful, raccoons may travel
more than a mile from their home
range to feed. They also will
tolerate severe reductions in
territory size. Raccoon densities
of 100 per square mile can be
attained around abundant food
sources.Raccoons are not fussy
about their choice of food. Although
classified as a carnivore, the
raccoon eats as much or more plant
as animal matter during the year.
When fruits, acorns, vegetables
and seeds are ripe and available,
they will feed heavily on them.
At other times and places they
will specialize in eggs, insects,
crayfish, frogs, fish and small
mammals. They'll eat dead animals
that they encounter; they'll raid
bird feeders and pet food bowls
when they're kept full; and they'll
check out garbage cans that aren't
secured.Raccoons also are not
fussy about their living quarters.
Under normal conditions, they
usually select a den in a hollow
tree, usually a large limb instead
of the trunk. Dens in trees may
be anywhere from ground level
to 60 feet above ground. In urban
and other areas where tree dens
are lacking, raccoons choose a
wide variety of "cavities"
including rock and debris piles,
attics, crawl spaces beneath mobile
homes, culverts and sewer drains.Breeding
occurs first when they are one
year old. Normally, one litter
is born each year. In Florida,
this generally occurs in March
and April. Litters average about
3 to 4 young, though as many as
7 have been recorded. Newborn
raccoons' eyes remain closed until
about 20 days old, they are weaned
at 10 to 12 weeks, and the offspring
may stay with their mother until
they are 10 months old.Raccoons
have few enemies other than man.
A few are killed by predators
such as bobcats and horned owls,
but the overall numbers are insignificant.
Automobiles likely kill more.The
greatest problem with raccoons
is disease. Raccoons are known
to carry a wide variety of diseases.
Most of these are harmless to
them and to people, but a few,
such as distemper, can kill raccoons
when their populations get too
dense. These diseases also can
infect pets that are not vaccinated.
Rabies is another such disease.
The risk of rabies is small (less
than 1 out of 200 raccoons in
the wild have been exposed to
rabies), but the risk should never
be taken lightly. Raccoons are
wild animals and should never
be treated as pets.Solving
Raccoon Problems Raccoons
are one of our most successful
urban animals and are therefore
frequently observed in our yards
and around our homes. This should
not, by itself, be cause for alarm.
Under most conditions, raccoons
are harmless, interesting neighbors.
Treated as part of the natural
community, you will occasionally
get a glimpse of one going about
its business, and these can be
fascinating times. Problems with
raccoons often arise because we
find it so difficult not to "do
something" for them. Feeding
raccoons is one such case. Because
they eat just about everything
imaginable, raccoons are almost
never in danger of starving--especially
in Florida's mild climate. Even
in urban landscapes, raccoons
find plenty to eat. By putting
food out for them, we condition
them to lose their "respect"
for people--a trait that aids
greatly in their ability to survive.
It also causes local populations
to become denser than the habitat
can adequately support. At these
times, raccoons begin to look
more closely at your home to provide
them shelter and they are more
likely to become ill and to transmit
diseases.Types of Problems
Raccoon problems are varied, but
most can be divided into 2 major
categories. Both of these are
discussed in detail in the following
often become a nuisance by their
feeding habits. When this occurs,
your best strategy is to prevent
their access to this food wherever
possible. If raccoons are raiding
your pet's food dish, feed your
pet during daylight hours and
remove the uneaten food before
dusk. If raccoons are raiding
your garbage can, then make this
can inaccessible. Get a raccoon-proof
garbage can or weight the lid
down so that they can't open it.
Keep your garbage cans in the
garage or build a bin with a latchable
lid to store them in.Eating
Crops Many other raccoon
feeding problems, however, are
not as easily solved and are not
directly tied to feeding them.
Everyone who has ever tried to
grow sweet corn and other vegetables
with a raccoon in the area has
likely lost a good share of their
potential harvest. Raccoons can
be quite frustrating to fruit
and vegetable growers. Solving
these problems can be equally
frustrating. Be aware that repellents
of any kind (and, yes, that includes
mothballs) and scare devices will
not be successful. No raccoon
in the world will pass up the
opportunity to dine on something
ripe and delicious simply because
there is a strange odor or object
nearby. One method that will work
is to prevent access and, where
possible, the best of these is
an electric fence. A single strand,
solar-powered electric fence with
the wire 8 inches above the ground
can do wonders to keep raccoons
out while not harming them in
the least. The only other method
is to remove the animal from your
yard by means of a live trap.Living
in the attic (or elsewhere in
the house) Perhaps the
greatest problem with raccoons
occurs when they set up housekeeping
inside your residence. Raccoons
often come into an attic or crawl
space when an entry point to the
outside is not repaired, either
through neglect or by failing
to notice it. Torn screens or
soffits, open chimneys or broken
windows are common entry points.
They also may take up residence
beneath your mobile home or deck.
Once a raccoon has moved in, it
is difficult to cause it to leave.
Chasing the animal out somehow
and then sealing off the entry
hole will, almost always, not
work because the raccoon will
return and force its way back
in again. At this point, it will
cause more damage than it did
before. Physically removing the
nuisance raccoon with a live trap
generally is the best solution
to this problem.
1. This document is WEC-34, one
of a series of the Wildlife Ecology
and Conservation Department, Florida
Cooperative Extension Service,
Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences, University of Florida.
Original publication date June,
1991. Revised September, 2002.
Reviewed September, 2002. Visit
the EDIS Web Site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. William H. Kern, Jr., Ph.D.,
urban wildlife specialist, Department
of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation,
Pinellas County, Largo, FL. Cooperative
Extension Service, Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences,
University of Florida, Gainesville,
This document is copyrighted by
the University of Florida, Institute
of Food and Agricultural Sciences
(UF/IFAS) for the people of the
State of Florida. UF/IFAS retains
all rights under all conventions,
but permits free reproduction
by all agents and offices of the
Cooperative Extension Service
and the people of the State of
Florida. Permission is granted
to others to use these materials
in part or in full for educational
purposes, provided that full credit
is given to the UF/IFAS, citing
the publication, its source, and
date of publication.