At Suburban Exterminating, we see firsthand each day how unique, interesting, and downright strange household pests on Long Island can be. From mice squeezing through dime-sized holes, to ants lifting 10-50 times their own body weight, there’s never a dull moment in the pest control world!
Winter on Long Island sees the arrival of a certain pest to many homes—it’s fluffy, masked, and often affectionately referred to as a “trash panda.” You guessed it, we’re talking about raccoons, and the sometimes strange characteristics that make them…them.
Let’s Start With the Raccoon Basics
Raccoons are furry mammals who usually weigh in around 15 pounds, easily recognizable by their black “masks” on their faces. These critters are usually reddish-brown or gray, with alternating colored rings on their fluffy tails.
Primarily active at night, raccoons are often spotted rummaging through trash or pet food and invading Long Island homes to find safe, warm shelter to breed, especially during the colder months! In particular, raccoons love to get cozy in attics, crawl spaces, under decks, and inside walls and chimneys. Even though they’re cute, raccoons can cause some not-so-cute damage to your insulation, electrical wiring, and ventilation, which can ultimately lead to fires.
Now Onto the Weird Raccoon Facts…
Raccoons Are Smarter Than Dogs
In recent years, scientists have learned raccoons are quite smart little critters. Raccoons rank just below monkeys (who rank just below humans) on the mammal IQ scale! They’re able to remember specific and complicated tasks for years.
Raccoons Can Make Over 200 Different Sounds
Raccoons are very vocal, making a variety of sounds including chittering, purring, hissing, growling, screeching, and much more. Baby raccoons sounds even include mewing, crying, and whining sounds. Regardless of age, these different vocalizations help raccoons clearly communicate with one another.
No Raccoons in Alaska?
Raccoons are native to 49 states, Alaska being the sole state where you won’t find these critters running around. Through the years, people have brought raccoons into Alaska, however they are much less common than in other areas of the United States.
The Story Behind the Name
The word “raccoon” made its way into the English language from the Powhatan term meaning “animal that scratches with its hands.” In many languages, such as German, the raccoon is named in relation to the term for bear, going by Waschbär, or “wash-bear.”
Pet Raccoon? Don’t Do It…
It’s not uncommon in the United States for humans to try to domesticate raccoons and have pet raccoons. While they can be affectionate and playful, and are highly intelligent, keeping a pet raccoon may not seem like such a crazy idea for some folks, however raccoons are wild animals, and they’re known to be aggressive, unpredictable, and mischievous, which are just a few reasons why we advise against keeping these critters as pets.
Their Dexterity Helps Raccoons Get Into Trouble
Raccoons have nimble fingers and opposable thumbs on their front paws, and are able to use them for sophisticated tasks like opening lids and jars, eating food, and sometimes getting into trouble.
…Which is Probably Why Raccoons Are Also Known as “Masked Bandits”
When it comes to interesting facts about raccoons, we can’t go withour mentioning how raccoons are known for their sneakiness and ninja-like appearance! They sometimes get a bad reputation for their mischievous acts like thieving, digging in trash cans, and throwing trash all over yards.
Raccoons Are Common on Kennedy Space Center
As stated by NASA, raccoons are one of the most commonly spotted mammals living around Kennedy Space Center!
How Can You Prevent Raccoons?
You can prevent raccoons from entering your house with small home repairs and personal precautions.
- Install a chimney cap to remove a potential entry point.
- Trim any tree limbs back that hang over to your roof.
- Patch holes in your home’s exterior and roof.
- Put pet food inside at night.
- Make sure your trash can is never overflowing, and secure can lids.
- If you do see a raccoon in your house, don’t seal its entry point…otherwise you’ll have a new roommate.
How to Get Rid of Raccoons
If you discover you’ve got a trash panda in your attic (or even a litter of raccoon babies without their mother!) don’t touch these critters. Do give Suburban Exterminating a call for your raccoon removal on Long Island. Raccoons are known to be wild animals, and may become aggressive if they feel threatened. They’re known to bite and scratch, and transmit dangerous diseases like rabies, salmonella, Leptospirosis, and Baylisascaris, a type of roundworm.
At Suburban Exterminating, our removal method is to trap the critter, implement exclusion methods, and remove the animal and to prevent them from returning. Contact Suburban Exterminating to schedule your free estimate.