The infamous masked bandit is known for its cleverness, its mischievous personality and, yes, the black mask around its eyes. The cute creatures are native to North America and are a common sight in our region. Though they are most active at night, it is not unusual for homeowners to spot them in the evening or early morning hours foraging for food.
Many times, they are caught in the act of garbage thievery as they rummage through bins for anything edible. Their most distinctive feature and their reputation for digging through the garbage have earned them the nickname “masked bandit,” but what, really, is the purpose of the mask? Our professionals in raccoon removal in Durham dig into this intriguing question.
Why the Disguise?
When raccoons are born, they have little fur. The characteristics we use to identify them, namely the mask and the stripes on the tail, are absent or just barely visible. Their markings become more pronounced over the first few weeks, as their thick layer of under fur grow. It takes approximately a month for the longer outer fur to begin to come in. This is the time when the mask and rings start to become really distinctive.
To us, the facial pattern resembles the masks worn by bandits or even the Lone Ranger. The dark colouration around the eyes, however, is not there to help disguise this clever mammal during its daily antics of garbage pilfering. Though the reasons the raccoon developed dark circles around its eyes are not entirely known, there are a couple of theories.
One thought is that these markings aid in nighttime vision and reduce glare from incoming light. Another of the mask’s possible functions is as an identifier. Though you might not be able to tell one raccoon from another, the subtle differences in the facial patterns across individuals may help raccoons identify each other.
What Are They Thinking?
There is no doubt that the masked bandit is one smart little animal. It is a great problem solver, especially when it comes to procuring the delicious morsels that we believe we’ve so cleverly secured inside jars, cans or latched containers. Even though some of us humans have a hard time opening these, our furry little friends seem to have little difficulty. They have dexterous and strong fingers and a thumb that is flexible, even though it isn’t opposable. These traits give them the ability to manipulate lids and latches with relative ease.
To a frustrated homeowner who has had to clean up spilled garbage one too many times, it may seem like these invaders are intent on making life challenging. The truth is, they’re just doing what they need to survive. Raccoons are well adapted to living among people, and their omnivorous diets and scavenging skills make our urbanized areas prime grounds for feeding. It isn’t just your garbage at stake, either. If you grow a garden or store pet food outside, both are easy pickings for a hungry raccoon.
They are also capable of making their way into attics, chimneys and crawl spaces. In the process, they can do a lot of damage. Though they are only trying to find a safe and comfortable place to call home, this is little consolation when it is your roof, shingles, siding and vents that are being damaged. When raccoons begin to do damage to your yard and home, they may not seem so cute anymore. Instead, you want nothing more than to serve them with an eviction notice.
How Do You Break It to Them Gently?
Raccoons aren’t typically aggressive, but, if they feel threatened, they can become so. They are also known carriers for a number of diseases, including rabies. So, if you want these unwelcome tenants removed, be sure to enlist professionals in raccoon removal in Durham. Skedaddle technicians are trained in raccoon behavior and have the skills to humanely remove any inhabitants from your property and prevent their return. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.