Raccoons

As of the beginning of 2013 we don’t have raccoon rabies in Michigan.  We do have a lot of distemper which can have the same symptoms as rabies. 
If a raccoon has entered your attic, boat, chimney, grill, etc. late winter/early spring, it is a female intending to have her babies there.  We get calls all spring all day every day about this exact situation. 

Please don’t trap and remove her then ask us to take the babies you will hear crying two days later. There simply aren’t enough of us to take in all the baby raccoons who need help that have been interfered with by humans.  If we take them from attics, boats, chimneys, grills, and so on we won’t have room for the ones who are truly orphaned such as babies sitting on their dead mom along the road or babies from a raccoon that has fallen from a tree and died.  There are two options:  Let her finish raising her babies, then block the access after they leave.  Or you can use a light bulb and radio placed near her nest area.  A licensed trapper can assist you in doing this, and can block or repair the access hole after Mom moves the babies so you won’t have this problem again.  Raccoons like dark and quiet, and any human interference will cause her to move her babies.  They move the babies to different places anyway, especially after their eyes are open at three weeks.  If you trap Mom and release her within a mile or so from the den site, she will return as this is within her territory anyway.  She will tear the site apart trying to get to her babies. 
If baby raccoons are crying and approach you they need help.  Remember they are just babies and only want to drink, sleep, and be warm.  Very young ones don’t have teeth and can’t bite.  If you are walking in the woods and see babies but not their mother, you probably scared off the mother.  Unless there is some obvious problem with the babies such as bleeding, lethargy, or flies on them they are fine.  Mother raccoons will be out during the day to eat because they are hungry.


If you have found an injured raccoon it must be contained before you call for help.  If not, it may crawl off where you can’t find it or go into the street and be hit by a car.  Place a garbage can on its side then use a shovel to gently nudge or scoop the injured raccoon in the can.  You could also use a broom to move the animal into the can.  Then gently stand the can on its bottom.  Or you can place a large plastic container over the raccoon then gently slide the lid underneath. 


Resource Guide for Wildlife

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