Raccoons (Procyon lotor), with their distinctive black mask and ringed tail, are one of the most familiar and common North American mammals. Primarily an eastern and southern animal in Colonial times, raccoons have greatly expanded their range. They are now common to abundant in Colorado, especially along waterways and in suburban/urban areas, including Colorado Springs. Periodically, distemper outbreaks significantly reduce local populations. Adults are medium-sized, weighing 20-30 lbs. Their dense, luxurious fur varies from blackish-brown to yellowish-brown. Aptly described as “opportunistic omnivores,” raccoons subsist on a wide variety of plant and animal foods, including fruits, insects, field crops, small animals, fish, pet foods, garbage, etc. Breeding occurs primarily in January/February, with a litter of 2-5 young being born in early April. By the end of June, many litters begin foraging with “mom”- and getting into mischief.
Raccoons can be a nuisance in a variety of ways: 1) living in human structures (e.g., crawl spaces, attics, garages); 2) having their young in attics and fireplace chimneys; 3) having toilet areas (i.e., latrines) in, on and around human structures; 4) getting into garbage/trash cans; 5) raiding fish ponds/water features; 6) ravaging fruits and crops; 7) damaging roofs, soffits, wiring, vents, insulation; 8) acting aggressive towards people; 9) posing human health concerns (e.g., raccoon droppings can be considered hazardous material due to endoparasites, fungus, etc.); etc. Raccoons are very intelligent, inquisitive, dexterous, powerful, ravenous, and often bold around people. All that can spell “t-r-o-u-b-l-e.” The title “masked bandit” is very fitting.
Our approach to controlling raccoon damage typically includes: 1) an investigation/inspection to confirm presence, find points of entry and assess damage; 2) setting appropriate live traps, initiating eviction procedures or removing animals on the spot; 3) relocating animals appropriately; 4) monitoring to ensure all animals are out of the structure; and 5) repairing/excluding entry points to both look good and permanently keep raccoons out. Examples of the latter include: wire mesh screening, metal flashing barriers, chimney cap installation, tree collar installation, tree branch trimming, chemical repellent utilization, etc. We also do raccoon latrine clean-up, disinfection and odor control.
Note: The ringtail (or ringtail cat) (Bassariscus astutus), a taxonomic “cousin” to raccoons, is also found in the area, especially in the Front Range foothills. These delicate, housecat-sized creatures resemble a cross between a fox, housecat and raccoon. They are a yellowish-tan color with an enormous ringed tail. They occasionally are found in human structures. We’ve removed several from the Broadmoor Hotel and Glen Eyrie Castle.
If you need help with a raccoon (or ringtail) problem, call us at 719-636-1014 for an investigation and prices. We’d be happy to help.