Spread across most of the North American continent, raccoons are considered pests because of their foraging and nesting habits. They are often associated with trash consumption and live in a wide range of habitats, including rural, urban, and suburban. Raccoons are notorious for their curious and shrewd natures.
Ranging considerably in weight (7 to 30 pounds) depending on habitat, raccoons are easily identified thanks to their unique coloration. Black encircles their eyes and extends across their cheeks, similar in appearance to classic burglar masks. Raccoons can reach 3 feet in length and generally have gray fur with hints of brown. Their tails are also unique as they display alternating rings of white and black down the length of the appendage. Raccoons are occasionally compared to canines and bears most likely because all three animals' snouts, omnivorous teeth, and body proportions appear similar.
Various species of raccoons live around the world. However, they are most prominent in the United States, Mexico, and parts of Canada. Adaptable, raccoons are found in almost every climate region of the U.S., and some have even learned to survive solely on human garbage. Favorite nesting locations of wild raccoons include forests, marshes, and prairies.
Male and female raccoons enter homes for different reasons. The males rarely invade human habitations and will only do so if natural food sources are scarce. Females, on the other hand, often enter attics, chimneys, and crawl spaces when they are pregnant with young and wish to provide shelter to their coming offspring. Since their hands are structured in such a way that allows them to grasp objects, raccoons have been known to open doors and gain access to secured goods like stored pet food.
Raccoons damage landscapes while they forage for food. As omnivores, the animals will eat most anything, including vegetation found in gardens and on farmland. The nocturnal mammals also contribute to structural damage, as they are adept diggers. Furthermore, raccoons contaminate homes with their excrement and urine and are carriers of disease. They infamously target unsecured garbage receptacles and leave behind unsanitary messes. Raccoons occasionally attack livestock, such as poultry, and common house pets, like dogs and cats, as well.