Sometimes labelled as the “masked bandits of the wild”, raccoons are much more than trash stealing wildlife visitors. They are very intelligent and adaptable wildlife residents who find ingenious ways of problem-solving, especially when it comes to finding food. In an effort to reduce the effects of their visits, people have resorted to using various types of DIY methods for raccoon control. Whether you are in the beautiful city of North York or the rural areas of Durham Region, an encounter with a raccoon could be an unpleasant experience. But raccoons themselves are also having unpleasant encounters, thanks to human activities.
Raccoon in a Pickle
Due to the habits of these very outgoing and adventurous wildlife residents, they tend to find themselves in unique and peculiar situations. From being half stuck between doors, pipes or windows to accidentally locking themselves in houses and garbage bins, their situations will make you wonder if their human-like accidents were actually done on purpose. Running into a clear glass and falling from roofs are also other accidents that are a norm for these “Daredevils” of the wild.
One raccoon was spotted in a predicament by Ontario resident Megan O’Connor who was on a recreational stroll with her dog when she saw the problem. The unfortunate raccoon’s head was trapped in a glass jar and was clearly terrified, so Megan called in the wildlife rescue team. After the raccoon was freed, the team had to treat injuries to its face and paw and the poor thing spent five days in recovery before being released into the wild. CTV News covered the story here.
A similar predicament befell another raccoon in Oakville, this time the circumstances were more complicated. The raccoon scurried up a tree with the jar still covering its head forcing a collaboration between the Oakville fire department (who had to get him out of the tree) and the wildlife rescue team who removed the jar. Fortunately for this raccoon, the encounter did not cause much physical damage and so it was quickly released into the wild.
Another case of raccoon foraging gone wrong was captured and shared by a Reddit user from Toronto. In this case, six raccoons had found their way into a school dumpster where they no doubt had their fill of the tasty treats inside. When it was time to leave however, they had problems (especially because they are on the chunkier side) and that is when the school’s caretaker came to the rescue. He provided a makeshift bridge using a plank, which allowed them to scramble away to freedom.
Keeping Raccoons Safe
In an effort to stop these accidents from happening, you should be mindful of the habits of these wildlife citizens. Simple steps can be taken to mitigate the risk to the raccoons by just being aware that they will visit from time to time. In fact, raccoons, like other wildlife species, live by the motto ‘Wherever there’s stuff to eat, you’ll find our feet’. The less potential raccoon food (pretty much everything you’d eat plus more) you have lying around, the less likely you are to see raccoons and other wildlife animals dropping by for a visit.
They are foragers and will seek food from various areas especially in residential areas. They are not very selective in their eating habits and will resort to “dumpster diving”. They will scavenge for food in garbage bins as they tend to carry a wide variety of potential meals. Keep the bins locked away or keep them secured with covers that are not easily removed.
Since raccoons often wind up trapped as they stick their heads into containers in search of food, you should wash these containers to remove all food residue and properly close them before putting them in your garbage disposal bin (including recycling bins). It is also a good idea to cover pipes by using mesh that will allow ventilation and still serve as an outlet but keep the would-be guests out for their own good.
Raccoons are wonderful climbers but, some situations threaten the safety of these adventurers. Therefore, put away ladders, chairs and trim trees that are in close proximity to the house. This will discourage them from making their way up to roofs or balconies.
Raccoon in a Bind? What to do
In an effort to assist a raccoon or any other form of wildlife, never take it upon yourself to rescue the raccoon on your own. Try to remember that the experts to call in these cases is not the police (who incidentally have been reminding citizens to desist calling 911 when they sight the foragers). This is a job best left to those who are experts in the field of raccoon control. It is best that you contact your local North York wildlife control service to handle the problem safely.