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Spring 2024

Wanted: comfy home for baby raccoons

Young raccoons exploring. Photo: Commons.wikimedia.org
Spring is in the air – daffodils, freesias, camelias, magnolias, and more are putting on quite a show. And our local wildlife is birthing babies! Now is an important time to check your home and garden for places our local “bandits” may find ideal for their kits to be born.

What is mama raccoon looking for?

A pregnant raccoon is searching for a quiet, inconspicuous area to have her litter and keep them safe. Ideally, it will also be convenient to both a water and food source. Removing any pet food from outside containers, securing trash bins, and clearing fallen fruit from the garden will decrease available resources. A barking dog can sometimes make a location less attractive to mom.

Setting up house (and the latrine)

Once the young family has settled in, mom may create a raccoon latrine. You truly do not want to find one in your home or garden. Raccoons often create a designated space for their toilet and use it repeatedly. Imagine this in your attic, staining the ceiling, or in your garden or sandpile where children play. Over time, it becomes extremely smelly and a breeding ground for roundworms that can be dangerous to pets, children, other wildlife – and you. Roundworm eggs are tiny and can cause dangerous health issues if ingested or inhaled. Removing a raccoon latrine is serious business and should be approached with extreme caution. To play it safe, we suggest calling a professional.  

Raccoons: cute but concerning

Raccoon families can do tremendous damage to attics, crawlspaces, open spaces under decks, porches, and garden sheds once they gain access. Exclusion is the key to eliminating raccoons from your interior spaces and protecting your family from diseases such as roundworm, fleas, and lice.

Do not relocate raccoons

While some attempt to relocate raccoons to the top of Mt. Tamalpais or other open spaces, this process is extremely dangerous to you and the animals. Plus, it is illegal. If a raccoon is trapped, it must be released within 100 yards of its capture or be euthanized. If a new mom is removed from her litter, the babies are sure to die of dehydration, starvation, or hypothermia.

Learn more

Marin is home to many types of wildlife. Learning to live with them is key. For information regarding professional assistance with humane exclusion and eviction, contact Wildcare at 415-456-7283 or Marin Humane Animal Services at 415-883-4621.

Learn more about managing raccoons