Over the past few years, and especially this past season, reports of raccoons are on the rise in Kimberley, this according to WildSafeBC Kimberley-Cranbrook community coordinator Danica Roussy.
Roussy said that there’s been reports of raccoons digging at irrigation hoses, around which they find bugs to feast on. They also are known to dig up grass in people’s yards and get into garbage.
As cute as these animals may be, raccoons can cause significant damage to your property in their quest for food and spots to set up their dens.
Feeding them is not a good idea, as food-conditioned, human-habituated raccoons become bolder around humans and can even become aggressive and potentially hurt someone.
This is why WildSafe says it’s so important to try and prevent them from becoming comfortable in your yard and they’ve provided a few tips on how to do so.
Firstly, a rule which Kimberley locals are well familiar with by now, make sure your garbage is stored securely and only bring it to the curb on the morning of collection day.
Try to only feed your pets indoors, but if you do feed them outside, bring in any leftovers immediately.
Keep pet doors locked at night, as raccoons have been known to enter homes knowing there’s food inside.
Never feed raccoons, even if you think you’re helping them out.
“Raccoons have evolved to live without our help and feeding just leads to conflict,” Roussy said.
Also make sure to keep your outdoor barbecue grills and grease traps clean as raccoons will quickly hone in on these high-calorie food sources.
Keep in mind that raccoons may become aggressive towards humans if cornered or handled. Because they’re small, they don’t necessarily pose a serious threat, but that doesn’t mean they are incapable of hurting you.
If approached by one, scare it away by making a lot of noise, yelling and clapping your hands. Keep any small pets indoors, particularly at night, when raccoons are most active, as cats and small dogs can get seriously hurt or even killed in a fight with them.
Never try to approach a raccoon, as again, they can behave in an aggressive manner if threatened. They also can sometimes carry a dangerous parasitic roundworm that can be transmitted to humans though contact with their droppings. If you have to clean up spot where raccoons have been, make sure to wear a mask, goggles and gloves.
If you see a raccoon acting aggressively, call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.