How to deal with a stray raccoon at your house

If a stray animal takes up residence at your house, it's best to call a professional. (Photo courtesy of Gregg Nelson)

If a stray animal takes up residence at your house, it's best to call a professional. (Photo courtesy of Gregg Nelson)

This time of year, I get a lot of calls about baby animals showing up at people's houses.

If you see a stray animal roaming around your house, the first thing to remember is not to touch it. Baby raccoons may have rabies, and you would never know it. If you touch a stray, your scent that is left on any animal will turn the mother away from taking them back.

If you come across a baby raccoon, it's likely the mom has been injured or killed. If one is lingering around your house, it is best to push the baby into a box with a stick and leave it in the shade close to where it was found.

It would be more humane to get an animal rehaber to take it or any nuisance wildlife control operator can euthanize it for a fee, which is a much better option than letting it die on it's own, which is likely to happen.  

Baby squirrels seldom are seen, but again if you do see one, that means mom isn't around any more. Squirrel mothers are not the best at taking care of their young, as they have several litters each year, the next time being around August. I usually let them fend for themselves if possible.

If you see a stray baby animal or have any questions on what to do, contact a local pest control specialist or your local wildlife department.

Big Bear Wildlife Control is located in East Haven, Conn. As of May 31, 2012, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.



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Just had to comment on this. I have had several opossum babies over the past few years, their mothers were all hit by cars. When I see one on the road, I get out and check it's pouch for young (if it's female) and raise the babies. Opossum DO NOT CONTACT THE RABIES VIRUS. They were all sweet & loveable little things, both male and female at various ages. Opossum have very bad eyesight and slow reaction skills, since they eat carrion (dead animals), most times they end up getting hit themselves. I have been bitten a few times and honestly it was my fault because I scared them accidently, but it was a very quick 'bite & release' type thing and I just washed it with antibacterial soap/water and poured some antiseptic on it. Never did it get infected or even a rash or soreness appeared. You need to approach injured ones very slowly from behind and keep your voice quiet and soft. Wrap it in a towel and get it to a wildlife rescue or rehabber. Do NOT call Animal removal or any type of place that says they will remove wildlife for a fee. Almost every single one of these places kill them, doesn't matter wheather they are skunks, raccoons, beavers, groudhogs, adults or babies--these idiots just want to kill everything. If you have a wildlife rescue anywhere near you, I would strongly encourage everyone to volunteer there, so as to see how you properly handle /feed/ cope with any wildlife you may come in contact with. Keep their number handy and learn to exsist with these wonderful animals. Please people, stop the killing.......

We have two raccoons living in the maple tree just beyond our deck... the tree is so close the long branches extend right over the roof of our sunporch. I awoke one morning to a strange sound just outside my bedroom window. I opened the shade and there was a raccoon clinging to the window screen in the exact stance as Garfield the Cat. He had a benign and friendly expression on his face. Even though our newspapers have warned us never to feed wild animals, and that our county has the highest rate of rabies in raccoons than anywhere else...sometimes you have to use your own brain and feelings. This raccoon loves to watch us sit on our sunporch and will come down the tree to eat the food we put out for stray cats. I have watched him religiously. He allows my cats to be near the food as well...his only stance has been to make himself look bigger, and this alone keeps the cats at a distance. I watched our Himalayan cat (clawless) climb the deck stairs unafraid while the raccoon merely takes its 'stance'...and he not only allowed this cat to climb right by him, he followed this cat to head towards the food dishes. He sniffed the cat's tail and then got down to the business of having lunch. He is there during the day and at night. We took one hilarious photo of him sitting on his behind with his belly sticking out (think of the Buddha pose) and feeding himself the dry cat humans eat popcorn. It is a delight to watch all of these animals. I feed the wild birds. We take in the homeless. This raccoon and his buddy actually got into our house once...we had left the pet door 'open'...and of course we scooted them out. They were very afraid of us. Now they are relaxed and listen to my voice. They recognize my loving voice and my upset voice and respond to my vocal inflections and facial expressions. If we blindly listen to newscasters or anyone else about what do with wildlife, instead of observing for ourselves what CAN be done in a loving way, then I believe that is what we should do. Of course...there is always the possibility. But these coons have been here for many years. We witnessed a little parade of them with their babies heading for a water dish that I put out. My husband supports me. If not for the water bins/dishes, where would they go? The brooke is a long distance from us and they could get killed by a car trying to get there. We put out a good sized tray and filled it with water. The coons love to dip their feet in it and splash around. Look...Learn...Provide...Observe...Love...Protect...Admire...Interact

Hawks, vultures and eagles have to eat, too and they have young chicks, who have to eat, as well.

Please Please Please never call anyone but a wildlife rehabber for Baby Animals as big bear wildlife said they will be euthanized by anyone other than rehabbers.... just because they are in your vicinity. and they often do very well once rehabbed and put back in the wild.Wildlife and Wildlife Babies deserve the chance to live a full and happy life. Babies most especillay.... please don't compound the orphan babies by euthanizing them on top of losing their parent. Please have a heart!!

Baby raccoons, if you can get them to eat (and they eat LOTS), can be human raised just fine. And when I couldn't care for them, I took them to a wildlife refuge; I didn't even THINK about euthanizing them. A few weeks of antibiotics and rehab and an adult raccoon with a broken jaw I found healed up nicely and was released back into the wild. Baby squirrels and raccoons I've found also did well. Killing them is awful and should not be the first thing anyone thinks of. This article was clearly written by an idiot with little animal knowledge.

Please do not handle raccoons and racoon feces. 80% of all raccoon feces contain a roundworm that if accidently ingested can cause damage to humans, especially children. Please look up "raccoon roundworms" and read about the problems that handling raccoons and their feces can cause. It can even be fatal.

I just cleaned up raccoon 'diarrhea' off of my deck yesterday, before I read your post. Thanks for the advice, but I agree with the response right after yours....who handles feces without using gloves or at least paper towel? And what do we do instead? Call Animal Control about feces on our deck? And my cats are not going to walk through the feces...they might sniff it but that would be it.

Well if you WASH YOUR HANDS with hot water and soap, as required by any basic hygiene, that should eliminate any problem! Besides, who handles feces of any type with their bare hands? One would hope that the person working with the feces wears gloves and/or uses a shovel.

We've had several baby rabbits in our yard. We've moved them at different times for different reasons and the mother has always come back. We don't handle them any more than is necessary but it's not totally true that the mother won't care for them if they have human scent. I've handled a baby bird too and the mother resumed caring for it after I moved it to safety. If fact, she was screeching at me the entire time. Also, it's pretty inhumane to euthanize baby animals when wildlife control can take them and prepare them to be released back into the wild when they are old enough.

Thanks for posting that mothers come back. It's a long held belief that babies will be rejected if they smell like a human, but research has found that it is not true for rabbits, birds, skunks and cats. This was probably someone who removes and kills for a living.

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