Raccoons are a type of mammal commonly found throughout the U.S., particularly near wooded areas. As a nocturnal creature, they are more active at night and likely to be spotted during that time. They can be visually identified by their cat-like size, grayish coat with black stripes, and a distinctive black fur pattern around their eyes that resembles a mask.
Raccoons enjoy a diet of small fish, animals, animal eggs, and vegetation. While they usually can find plenty of this in the wild, at times they will forage for food near rural, urban, and suburban areas where they can find small animals to eat and den-worthy foliage. Around homes, they may be found nesting in chimneys, under porches, and other seldom-visited nooks and crannies. In addition to being a nuisance, their proximity to a home carries the risk of transmitting parasites and pathogens to humans, pets, and livestock. These include rabies and roundworm. In addition, raccoons can damage property near the areas that they nest.
To prevent a raccoon infestation, homeowners can carefully seal off any exterior holes or cracks with caulk and wire mesh, repair broken vents, fully close trash bags and trash cans, and regularly inspect the home. If a raccoon infestation is suspected, it is important to allow a pest control professional to assess the situation and develop a safe and effective plan of action.