Raccoon: Procyon lotor
The raccoon (Procyon lotor) is about the size of a
small dog, and is most notable for its black mask and bushy ringed
Raccoons are common throughout the state and occur everywhere
there are trees, the cavities of which they often use.
Raccoons are omnivorous feeding on fruits, plant material, eggs,
crustaceans, small animals, and garbage. Raccoons usually
become active in the late afternoon and throughout the night.
Problem raccoons are usually the result of chronic
feeding by humans. Wild raccoons accustomed to being fed will
generally lose their natural fear of humans and seek to move closer
to their food source--your house. Once raccoons take up
residence in your attic or outbuildings they can become very
destructive and difficult to remove.
Prevention is the key to dealing with raccoon
problems. Do not feed raccoons! It is
illegal to place or offer food or garbage in a way that it attracts
raccoons and creates a public nuisance. (Rule 68A-4.001
(3)). Do what you can to eliminate their
artificial food sources. Bring in pet food at
night and secure trash cans by either fastening the lid tightly or
enclosing them in lockable bins. Make sure bird feeders are
not accessible to raccoons (i.e., squirrel-proofed).
Raccoons should not be handled by inexperienced
individuals because of the risk of rabies infection. It
is lawful for landowners to humanely destroy (take) or live-trap
nuisance raccoons without a permit from the FWC as long as approved
methods are used to take or trap the animals. Neither steel
traps or a gun and light can be used without a permit. Poisons can
only be used in a way that is consistent with product
labeling. Nuisance raccoons can be live-trapped and relocated
released without a permit as long as certain conditions are met.
Raccoons can only be relocated before being released as long as: 1)
they are released in the same county, 2) the person releasing them
has written permission from landowner, 3) the recipient site hasis
at least 40 contiguous acres, and 4) both the local County Health
Department and County Animal Services verify there is no type of
rabies alert or area quarantine in place.
You can receive technical assistance for raccoon
problems by contacting your nearest FWC regional office.
Image Credit: Tim Omeara