Most raccoons live only around 5 years, but in captivity they have made it to 17 years. While they do not tend to roam or forage in packs they still are relatively sociable animals, and may den together during the winter. They have a range of sounds and calls they use. One reference to these sounds was that of a “long, mournful whooo-oo-oo-oo” of the raccoons calling to each other at night. Another reference describes their “chuckling sound” when not alarmed, or their snarling, growling, or hissing when they are frightened or angry. The young raccoons may call for their mother with a chirping sound similar to a frog. If these sounds seem to be coming from an attic or a crawlspace they could be important signals of what pest is present.
Raccoons may exhibit a very aggressive behavior when cornered, and they are known to severely injure or kill dogs that chase and corner them. They are nocturnal, and will find dens to hide and sleep in during the daytime. These commonly will be under homes or other structures on a property, or in hollow logs, trees, or burrows in the soil in natural habitats.They enter chimneys if no shields are in place to prevent their entry, and easily get into attics if a route is offered to them. If no immediate route is available they may just make their own, tearing off thin screening over attic vents, prying apart louvered vents, or ripping off the wood shakes of cedar shake roofs and squeezing through the gaps beneath.
Raccoons do pose a very real and serious health threat to people and our pets. They serve as the reservoir for several pathogens and parasites. One of these very serious parasites is raccoon Roundworm, passed out of the animal in the egg stage in the feces of the raccoon. As described in one article on this parasite and the host, the feces of raccoons may litter the ground in “M&M-sized pieces”, which a small child might pick up and put in his mouth. Thus, the biggest threat is to young children, although if an adult somehow ingested fecal material with the roundworms in it they too could suffer serious problems. In adult humans the worms may migrate to the eyes, causing loss of vision. In children the worms may move to the brain and cause death of the child.
Preventing the cycle of transmission of raccoon Roundworm means eliminating the source, which is the feces. Raccoons often defecate in specific places called “latrines”, or they may simply defecate from the trees in which they are resting, littering the soil below with the fecal pellets.
Where raccoons are active it must be assumed that the roundworms are present.
Infected raccoons can shed millions of eggs of the roundworms each day in their feces, and these eggs have the potential to survive up to 12 years in the environment. A human can be infected simply by putting contaminated fingers in his mouth, which small children are even more apt to do. With raccoon populations increasing in urban areas due to their ability to adapt and live close to our homes the threat of this parasite is increased as well.
Another serious disease of raccoons that can be transmitted to humans or our pets is rabies, which is caused by a virus that can attack the nervous system of any mammal, and which is nearly always fatal. Rabies is spread in the body fluids of an infected animal, including blood and saliva. An animal can be infected by being exposed to the saliva or blood of another infected animal through the mouth, eyes, or a break in the skin.
Contact Bama Pest Control today for assistance with nuisance wildlife. Our complete measures involve an extensive on-site inspection and then full treatment to completely eliminate these pests from the premises.