The average lifespan of a raccoon in the wild is 3 to 5 years and to most humans, this figure may seem depressingly low. Unfortunately, wild animals face many hardships and dangers that are often worsened significantly by human activity. As you consider whether to call humane or traditional raccoon removal, consider the tough road your masked intruders have likely had to face.
Why Are Their Lifespans So Short?
Lifespan figures can sometimes be misleading. Though you might take an average lifespan estimate to mean that adult animals live out their full 5 years, most estimates account for infant mortality. Due to the fact that as many as half of raccoons don’t make it past their first year, the mean lifespan for an adult raccoon is significantly lower than it would otherwise be. However, just because raccoons survive infancy, doesn’t mean that their lives aren’t difficult.
Baby raccoons die from exposure, disease, starvation, predatory attacks, and human extermination attempts. While these causes of mortality tend to kill juveniles more efficiently, they persist throughout a creature’s entire life. An adult can live well beyond 5 or 6 in the right conditions. Normally, however, a lifespan of 5 or 6 years is as much as most animals can hope for.
What are Some Common Raccoon Predators?
Just because they’re covered in fur, some people think urban carnivores can spend unlimited time outdoors. This isn’t necessarily the case. During especially cold months, raccoons die unless they manage to find warm shelters for themselves and their families.
Winter can present creatures with a number of other challenges besides handling the cold. Those that do manage to find shelter often fail to find sufficient food. When this happens, there is often little to prevent starvation or freezing, as their vital fat stores quickly deplete.
Plenty of North American predators, including cougars, coyotes, lynxes, wolves, and raptors prey on adult and juvenile raccoons. Even foxes and other small carnivores can take young raccoons left unattended by their mothers.
In most places, raccoons can be hunted legally, though doing so requires a license. Unfortunately, many people simply ignore regulations and poach animals anyway. While most populations aren’t at serious risk of decline, killing animals without regard for government regulations can cause unintended ecological consequences. In some instances, killing animals regarded as pests can increase the prevalence of more serious problems like mice and rats.
Though humans sometimes kill animals intentionally, the vast majority of raccoons killed by people die in traffic accidents. These incidents tend to especially affect younger animals who haven’t developed the ability to gauge traffic speeds, but plenty of adults die this way as well.
How Long Can a Captive Animal Live?
Few people keep raccoons as pets, but those who do often have their hands full dealing with escape attempts, destructive behavior, and unpredictable mood swings. Still, pets and zoo animals can live comfortably up to 20 years or more — even longer than most pet dogs.
It’s important to remember that just because an animal can live a long life in captivity doesn’t mean it belongs in captivity. Wild creatures evolved to live in the wild and have strong biological drives to find food, reproduce, and care for their young. Depriving an animal of the ability to fulfill these drives may be worse than allowing them to live a short but fulfilling life outdoors.
If you’ve located a raccoon population on your property, don’t attempt to deal with it on your own. Sealing off potential entryways without professional oversight can cause a number of unintended consequences. A humane removal professional can remove animals and deter them from returning to your home.. For fast, professional, and experienced service, call Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control in Waukesha today.