This adult raccoon was dropped off at Wild ARC last fall when it was a newly orphaned baby. It was rehabilitated over the winter and finally released into the wild this week

This adult raccoon was dropped off at Wild ARC last fall when it was a newly orphaned baby. It was rehabilitated over the winter and finally released into the wild this week

When raccoons, homeowners collide

  • May. 6, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Nobody wants a raccoon family living under their deck, but relocating the pesky critters can be a death sentence for the mother and her young.

At the Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Metchosin, six orphaned raccoons babies are living in an incubator. They’re small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and need to be bottle fed until they’re old enough to find food on their own. It can take weeks or months to rehabilitate a young raccoon before it’s released into the wild, and if last year is any indication, the centre will see at least 100 pass through its doors over the course of the summer.

“It’s a huge strain on our resources,” said Wild ARC administrator Angela Kendall, one of the few paid staff at the centre. “It’s frustrating because these are animals that could have been raised by their mothers, had someone not interfered with them.”

Often the babies are bought in by homeowners who blocked off the hole a raccoon mother was using to get under a deck or into a shed, not realizing its young were there until it’s too late.

“The mother sees the entrance blocked and doesn’t know her babies are still in there, so she ends up abandoning them,” Kendall said.

Jeff Krieger of Alternative Wildlife Solutions specializes in humane removal of unwanted wildlife.

When he clears out a raccoon den, he’ll put the babies in a box with a heating pad and wait for the mother to retrieve them, a technique he learned as a volunteer at Wild ARC before starting his own business.

“Raccoons have a 15 kilometer range, and they keep multiple dens in that area,” he explained. “When you block off one den, they just move the family to another one nearby.”

That’s the right way to get rid of raccoons. The wrong way is to trap them and dump them in another area. That’s not only illegal when done without a permit, it’s also likely to kill the animal, according to Kendall.

“Raccoons are territorial, and they learn to find food in a specific area,” she said. “Scooping them up and dropping them in a new area is like putting a human in a place where they don’t speak the language—they know there’s food around somewhere, but they don’t know how to find it.”

She also stressed that for people who have problems with raccoons, relocating the animal is only a temporary solution.

“Whatever attracted the first raccoon there is going to keep attracting more in the future, unless you fix the root of the problem,” Kendall said, adding that raccoons are unlikely to become pests when garbage and compost is properly contained, and if properties are kept in good repair so raccoons can’t make dens where they aren’t wanted.

Kendall encourages people to call Wild ARC for advice on keeping raccoons or other wildlife off their property or to find out the best way to remove unwanted animals.

The centre can be reached at 250-478-9453.

news@goldstreamgazette.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found hanging in his jail cell

The Compost Education Centre is hosting its annual spring plant sale on May 8 at 1216 North Park St. Physical distancing protocols will be in effect during the sale, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Black Press Media file photo)
This weekend: Tenth annual spring plant sale hosted by Victoria Compost Education Centre

The non-profit event Saturday, May 8 will feature numerous varieties of plants, live music

Saanich police detectives are investigating a reported sexual assault that occurred near Glanford Park on the evening of Dec. 29, 2020 and have shared an artist’s rendering of the individual. (Image via Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Saanich police release sketch of suspect sought in December sexual assault

Anyone with information asked to contact detectives, Crime Stoppers

Work is progressing on the new student housing building at the University of Victoria. The building will be home to 398 students when complete in September 2022. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
VIDEO: Mass timber installation begins at UVic student housing project

Green technology plays key role in building that will be home to 398 University of Victoria students

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read