Raccoons feed on grubs, insects, small rodents, eggs, fleshy fruits, nuts and vegetables. They will also eat from garbage and composts. Ontario’s raccoons’ breed from January to April; gestation is an eight week period, whelping season is from March to June and the litter size is usually 3 to 5 young. The raccoon becomes mobile after 7 to 8 weeks and are weaned by late summer and may stay with the mother over the winter. Den sites include but are not limited to, hollow trees, groundhog dens, chimneys, and garages, under and inside sheds, attics, porches and under decks. They are mainly active during the night and throughout the year, however, they may be dormant during periods of cold or in deep snow conditions.
Garbage, compost and pet food can provide a real feast for raccoons and once a free meal is found, they will return as much as they can. Since raccoons are excellent at using their paws it is important to lock doors and eliminate a potential wildlife restaurant by taking preventative measures such as:
- 1Storing garbage inside garbage bins, a basement or other secure places till the morning of pick-up
- 2Sprinkling strong smelling repellents such as oil of mustard, naphtha flakes or ammonia in and around the compost and garbage bins
- 3Installing lights around compost and garbage storage areas
- 4Cleaning up after using barbecues because raccoons love grease drippings
- 5Making sure your lids to garbage and compost bins are tight fitted and secured on
- 6Using enclosed-type compost bins
- 7Feeding pets indoors and not purposely feeding wildlife
Uncapped chimneys are another way of raccoons to achieve access to garbages, loose shingles and openings in attics, roofs and eaves as well as other places in and around the home.