People who live at the intersection of urban and rural habitats often wonder whether they can safely leave their pets alone in the yard. While it is indeed more safe to keep pets indoors, the risks of leaving them outdoors are often overstated by news outlets and wildlife agencies. So, before you call raccoon removal in Okanagan, would a raccoon attack a dog? Rarely, but sometimes. Understanding when and why an “attack” might happen requires a little understanding of animal behaviour.
What Do Raccoons Eat?
Raccoons are small carnivores that weigh between eight and 20 pounds on average. This puts them at about the size of a housecat or small dog. Raccoons are incredibly well adapted to urban areas and are happy to reside in attics, abandoned trash bins, and porches. Although they can eat human trash, they also feed on insects, mice, bird eggs, nuts, crustaceans, and berries. Notice — all of these foods are significantly smaller than eight to 20 pounds.
As a general rule, predators smaller than around 40 pounds find it very difficult to capture prey larger than themselves. Even animals such as coyotes or lynxes, whose weights hover around 40 pounds, often have trouble killing deer and other large prey species. A raccoon, then, would stand no chance against a larger animal like a dog, coyote, or large fox and would not see such a creature as a potential prey item.
Cats and small dogs can engage in scuffles with raccoons when left unattended. These are rarely considered to be predatory attacks, however.
When Do Raccoons Attack?
There are situations in which a raccoon might willingly attack a dog or human. The most common is one in which the animal has no choice but to defend itself. Any cornered creature will always do its best to defend itself. Sometimes, helpless dogs and puppies unknowingly corner wild animals, and this can result in injuries to either animal. More often than not in such situations, the dog is the aggressor.
When wild animals are allowed to become overly familiar with humans and their pets, negative encounters are more likely to occur. Unfortunately, you can cause this to happen inadvertently when trying innocently to help. Such harmless-seeming gestures as leaving food out for hungry creatures, or hosting a bird feeder on your property, can cause wild creatures to become bolder. This can lead to direct conflicts with your pets, as both animals begin to feel that your property is, in reality, their property.
The final reason a raccoon might choose to attack is that it’s infected with the rabies virus. Though rabies is uncommon in raccoons, it can be transmitted by a seemingly healthy animal. Because it kills its host quickly, you may not have time to determine whether an animal was acting strangely before biting your pet. To prevent tragedy from occurring, always keep your pets vaccinated.
What Can You Do To Prevent an Attack?
Although raccoons are unlikely to seriously harm your pets, they can create headaches and trouble. To avoid unnecessary incidents, you should always keep your property clear of food sources and potential den sites. Removing these can also help to prevent more dangerous animals from taking up residence around your home. If you find that you already have a colony of animals entrenched in your property, do not attempt to evict them on your own.
A removal professional at Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control can safely remove your unwanted guests. All animals deserve a chance to find another place to live, and our technicians can place babies in a heated container until their mother has located a secure, alternate place to house them. Call Skedaddle today.