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Raccoons: Are they taking over the world?

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 at 5:52 am in Raccoons.

Baby raccoons up a tree. Photo by Ted Meyer, Walnut Creek, CA
1coons ted meyer wc

Looks like Roy Burns of San Leandro, CA, may have been right in your Sept. 22 newspaper column (Roy described how raccoons were unscrewing lids on jars containing dry cat food for his cats, and eating it. Headline: “Are raccoons taking over the world?”). Ted Meyer, a friend, took the above photo out his kitchen window late one night. “Mama” was down at the base of the tree and called them down about 3-4 seconds after this picture was shot. They disappeared seconds later into the night.
Jud Swan, Walnut Creek, California

Raccoons do indeed seem to be taking over the world. They thrive in suburban and urban areas on our garbage and other sources of food. They tear up backyard lawns in search of grubs and earthworms, leaving your yard looking like it has been bulldozed. They turn your swimming pool into a mud bath. They even enter houses through cat/dog doors and go through cabinets looking for breakfast cereal to eat. (My raccoon friends tell me Cheerios and Coco Puffs are a favorite.) Still … you have to admit, they really are cute!

If anyone is having serious problems with these little characters, send me an e-mail (to: asking for help (explain your problem) and I’ll e-mail you back my (free) 7-page “Gary’s Raccoon Help.” It’s full of humane solutions that have been used successfully by many of my other readers to resolve their raccoon problems. /Gary

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4 Responses to “Raccoons: Are they taking over the world?”

  1. Julie Hamilton Says:

    I wish I’d had a camera the one time I had some of these little cuties in my yard. Some years back I heard something in a tree and saw eyes, then the waddling forms coming down the trunk. One, two, three, really? four, five, six total babies came down and off into the night. Loved it.

  2. Karen Says:

    And the young chase each other with loud squeals when they think nobody’s looking. One night I was bunked down on the livingroom sofa (my bedroom was given to guests) and a thundering, squealing horde raced past my open window, not more than two feet from my face. Quickly extracting myself from the ceiling, I looked out to see a group of raccoon kits disappearing out of the porchlight.

  3. Steve Williams Says:

    Hello Gary,

    Can something be done about a guy feeding live chicks to racoons? A friend of a family member raises what he calls free-range chickens, which means they have no shelter and fend for themselves. There is no coop or enclosure, they sleep in trees or bushes at night. He loses many adults to racoons, and keeps hatching new chicks to replace them. Since the chicks have no shelter, they are *ALL* eaten by racoons, He keeps trying, saying that this is the natural way for chickens and eventually he will hatch some smart ones that will learn to get away from the racoons. But domestic chickens are not wild animals and long ago lost the ability to live on their own. And chicks in the wild are defended by their mother, the ones he releases into his garden don’t have mothers. He is just killing chick after chick after chick, and ironically the racoons are getting smarter and smarter about how to catch them. The poor chicks don’t have a chance. I eat chicken, OK, so I’m not about it’s cruel to kill them for food. But being chased around in the dark to be eventually caught and eaten is a terrifiying and nasty way to die. The guy doesn’t even raise the chicks, he hatches them and gives them out to other people to raise until they are big enough to be fed to the racoons. We brought up one of those chicks, they are smart and sensitive creatures, I’m so sad that it got eaten. This really, really bothers me. Is this a situation animal services can do something about?

  4. Peggie Says:

    HELP. Have had racoons use yard as a highway for 30 years. I removed my grass. They don’t like artifical grass (hahahaha, one up for me!) BUT? They have taken to pooping under my fairly young Thundercloud cherry tree! I think feces are not safe (have cats) am removing BUT – WHAT CAN I DO IN THIS AREA TO DISCOURAGE THEM POOPING? ANY HELP WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!

    Peggie in San Ramon, lover of all wild things (within reason)

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