Known Facts About Raccoons in New England
Raccoons are common throughout North America, and especially throughout New England. Raccoons occupy a variety of different habitats, including both urban and suburban areas. Raccoons are highly adaptable, allowing them to flourish in changing environments.
Raccoons are nocturnal, typically leaving their dens at night in search of food. They are omnivores, taking advantage of any food sources they come across. This behavior typically gets them into trouble in urban environments. Clever raccoons will repeatedly take advantage of pet food, household garbage, and vegetable gardens that are left unprotected.
Raccoon breeding season typically takes place between January and March, with female raccoons giving birth to 3 to 6 young in early spring. Raccoons typically take advantage of hollow cavities in trees, caves, and abandoned animal burrows as denning sites. However, in suburban areas raccoons will often den in homes. Uncapped chimneys and attic spaces are the most common areas raccoons will use to raise their cubs. Homeowners often will not realize there is a raccoon in their home until after cubs are born. Homeowners report hearing chirping sounds coming from fireplaces or attics and believe birds have moved in, when in fact, this is often the young raccoons vocalizing.
Unfortunately, raccoons can be very destructive. Adult raccoons will shred duct work, destroy insulation, and leave fecal matter throughout the attic. In early spring, female raccoons can typically be evicted from homes using various harassment techniques, but if these techniques are unsuccessful, the only way to remove raccoon families is through a trapping process. In addition to causing damage, raccoons are also carriers of various zoonotic diseases, including raccoon round worm and rabies.