Raccoons are highly adaptable and can survive in many different types of environments including those in close proximity to humans. Raccoons not only survive in these urban areas but often thrive due to relatively easy access to living spaces and food that is made available in and around our homes and businesses. Raccoons are very omnivorous and commonly eat an even mix of invertebrates, vertebrates, and plants. This consist of worms, grubs, insects, fruits, nuts, amphibians, small mammals, birds, and bird eggs. In urban areas, their diet will also commonly consist of available cat food or dog food and any accessible garbage. Raccoons are mostly nocturnal and feed at night but will sometimes move during the daytime to take advantage of available food sources.
Raccoons often carry many different diseases, bacteria, and parasites which can easily be transferred to humans or pets. Raccoons commonly carry multiple bacterial diseases including leptospirosis, listeriosis, tetanus, and tularemia. They also carry many types of internal parasites that can weaken their immune systems but are often capable of living for years while infected with large numbers of Baylisascaris procyonis roundworms in their digestive tracts while showing no symptoms. The larvae of these internal parasites are easily spread through the air from raccoon feces that is commonly left around your home or even in your attic. Proper breathing protection should always be worn when working in close proximity to any wildlife feces. There are literally dozens of pathogens carried by raccoons including distemper, an epizootic virus that causes rabies like tendencies in raccoons. Distemper is the leading cause of natural death for raccoons living in North America and we commonly capture and observe raccoons throughout Texas that are infected with this virus. Lastly, but maybe most importantly, raccoons are one of the leading carriers of Rabies in North America. Rabies is a lethal disease caused by the neurotropic rabies virus which is carried through the blood and saliva of infected animals and can easily be spread through bites or even tiny unnoticed scratches. Rabies in Texas is an ongoing state health emergency. Therefore, according to the Rabies Control and Eradication Administrative Code (Chapter 169. Administrative Code) Rules of the Board of Health for the Rabies Control Act (Chapter 826. Texas Health and Safety Code), it is illegal for a person to transport certain animals that are high risk for transmitting rabies, including coyotes, species of foxes indigenous to North America, and raccoons, to, from, or within the state. A violation of this law is a Class C misdemeanor. For this reason it is imperative that a licensed wildlife biologist at Wildernex handle all necessary raccoon removal and raccoon control on your property.