It is not uncommon to hear a raccoon rummaging through your trash in the middle of the night or running through your garden. These common visitors to Kaw Valley residential homes are known for their aggressive and dangerous behavior, however, not all raccoons are aggressive or dangerous. Over time many misconceptions about raccoons have been spread. Let us set straight the myths and facts about raccoons, so you can better understand the common critter in your backyard.
Myth: Raccoons are aggressive and dangerous.
One common myth about raccoons is that they are inherently aggressive and pose a significant threat to humans. Although it is true that raccoons are wild animals and should be treated with caution, they generally prefer to avoid confrontation and will typically only display aggression if they feel threatened or cornered.
Myth: If you see a raccoon during the day, it has rabies.
Although raccoons are nocturnal animals, there are many possible reasons you may see one during the day, and spotting one during the day is not a sign it has rabies. It is true that raccoons can contract and transmit rabies, however, the incidences of rabies in raccoon populations are relatively low. Not all raccoons have rabies, but it can be hard to detect from afar a rabid raccoon, so it is important to avoid contact with all raccoons and minimize the risk of disease transmission.
Myth: Racoons hibernate during the winter.
Despite popular belief, raccoons do not hibernate during the winter. It is true that raccoons may enter a state called torpor, where a raccoon will lower their body temperature and sleep for a longer period of time. Torpor is similar to hibernation with the only difference being that they will still wake up on warmer days to forage for food.
Fact: Raccoons are highly adaptable.
A very remarkable aspect of raccoons is their ability to adapt to various environments. Raccoons originated in North America, but now they have expanded their range and can be found in urban, suburban, and rural areas across the world. A partial reason they easily can adapt to new environments is due to their diverse diet. Raccoons mainly consume fruits, nuts, insects, small animals, and even human garbage.
Fact: Raccoons are incredibly intelligent.
Raccoons are often debated as one of the most intelligent species in the animal kingdom. They have amazing problem-solving skills and have been observed using tools and figuring out complex tasks. Raccoons have dexterous front paws that allow them to manipulate objects and open containers. This is how raccoons can open your trash cans and even food jars. These intelligent and curious animals shouldn’t be underestimated.
Fact: Raccoons are excellent climbers and swimmers.
Raccoons’ sharp claws make them agile climbers. It is not unlikely to catch a raccoon scaling a tree or navigating its way to your rooftop, chimney, or attic. Even more surprising is that raccoons are excellent swimmers known to dive into bodies of water to catch fish, amphibians, and other aquatic prey.
Fact: Raccoons are omnivores.
This means that they eat a variety of different foods including both meats and plants. They are very opportunistic eaters and will eat things that are easily accessible to them. Sometimes this includes the leftovers in your trash. Here is a list of other foods raccoons enjoy:
- Insects like grubs, snails, and worms
- Bird Eggs
- Rodents like mice, rabbits, and muskrats
- Dead Animals
- Water animals like crayfish and clams
It is important to never underestimate these intelligent and agile critters. If you encounter a raccoon in your Kaw Valley yard or home, trust the professionals at Critter Control of Kaw Valley to remove raccoons safely and humanely from your property. Our professionals are experts in raccoon removal and know the correct methods for trapping these intelligent and complex critters. It’s also best to get your wildlife information from experts, and don’t trust everything you read on the internet!