The recent story about an encounter with Raccoons on the Magnolia Voice blog prompted me to want to share some important information about preventing conflicts with these native mammals at this time of year.
The situation in Magnolia must have been frightening and painful for the people and dogs involved. They were out doing what they probably normally do in the backyard. Unfortunately, it happened that a mother Raccoon was also out doing what she normally does at night--foraging with her babies. Right now, there are many mother Raccoons out there traveling with their half-grown offspring. As any mother would be, they are very defensive of their young and will fight to protect them. If approached too closely by dogs, humans or others these mothers will do their best to ward off what they perceive as deadly threats to their babies.
On that night in Magnolia when the dogs approached the mother Raccoon, she very likely feared for her own safety and that of her offspring. She fought with the dogs to protect herself and her babies. Understandably, the people ran over to defend the ones they love, their dogs, so the mother Raccoon fought them, too. The babies became terrified so they took up a defensive posture as well.
Both sides of the altercation felt like they were under attack, and both sides fought their hardest to protect themselves and their families. Thankfully, it looks as if everyone will be okay.
Even in the most urban of settings, Raccoons live side-by-side with humans. Most of the time we aren’t even aware that they are there. One lesson to be learned from this horrible incident is that we should not take the safety of our surroundings for granted.
Follow these tips to prevent conflicts with Raccoons this time of year while mothers and babies are out looking for food:
- Before you let your pet outside quickly check your yard for Raccoons or other animals. Think of it as similar to looking both ways before crossing the road.
- Securely cover your compost and garbage cans.
- Feed pets inside or bring in the dishes immediately after pets are finished eating.
- Close and lock pet doors at night.
- Harvest ripe fruit and vegetables and pick up fallen fruits right away.
More information on peaceful co-existence with Raccoons can be found in the PAWS resource library