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New Kits on the Block

Jun07

Spring has already sprung and so have the kits—baby Raccoons that is! Raccoon breeding season started mid-winter and we’re now in the midst (April through June) of baby season as females give birth and raise their young.

Orphaned baby Raccoons at our wildlife center spend 4-5 months at PAWS before they can be released back into the wild. When I do Raccoon outreach in our communities, I find public perceptions vary in extremes with this “masked bandit”. Some of you love Raccoons, almost to an iconic degree—I recently met a woman who collects Raccoon mugs, plates, artwork, stuffed animals, you name it. But some of you fear them to the point of loathing.

Regardless of your perceptions, Raccoons are and will continue to live among us. Our best course of action is to learn more about them and how to prevent conflicts with them. For example, during baby season simply leave them be.

In the wild, Raccoons naturally den in hollow trees, rock crevices and burrows dug by other animals. To them, an attic, crawlspace, chimney, shed or space under your deck might fit their needs just the same.

If you think there are Raccoons living in an opening around your home, assume there are young in the den now through summer. Sealing up a space you suspect has an active den in it could risk fatally sealing the babies in!

The kits (usually born 3-4 to a litter) will remain in their den for about 6-7 weeks until their mother moves them to a series of alternate dens. Wait until the babies are old enough for their mother to move them before you take any steps to seal up the impacted spaces around your home.  Or to be totally safe, wait until fall when young Raccoons in our region will disperse from their mothers.

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