WildSafeBC is reporting an uptick in raccoon sightings across Kimberley, Cranbrook and the surrounding areas. (Black Press Media stock image)

WildSafeBC is reporting an uptick in raccoon sightings across Kimberley, Cranbrook and the surrounding areas. (Black Press Media stock image)

WildSafeBC reporting uptick in raccoon sightings in Kimberley, Cranbrook

Food-conditioned and human habituated raccoons become bolder around humans

WildSafeBC is reporting an uptick in raccoon sightings across Kimberley, Cranbrook and the surrounding areas.

Danica Roussy, WildSafeBC Community Coordinator says it’s important to manage attractants to ensure raccoons don’t become comfortable in your yard.

“Raccoons can be found in a wide variety of habitats including forests, marches and farmland. Highly adaptable, raccoons can also thrive in dense urban centres,” said Roussy in a press release. “Raccoons are normally shy, nocturnal animals but can easily become habituated to humans and pets. When raccoons find food in our yards and communities, they quickly learn to associate humans with an easy meal.”

Like many other animals, food-conditioned and human habituated raccoons become bolder around humans, which can result in conflict.

WildSafeBC explains that raccoons can cause significant damage to gardens, buildings, crops and livestock in their search for food and denning sites. Raccoons can also carry a roundworm parasite that that is dangerous to humans and pets, specifically through raccoon feces.

Roussy adds that raccoons can become aggressive towards humans if cornered or handled.

“Given their small size, they do not pose a serious threat but are capable of inflicting injuries,” Roussy said. “If approached by a raccoon, scare it away by yelling, lapping or making noise. Never attempt to approach a raccoon. Like all wildlife, raccoons can act aggressively if they feel threatened.”

Roussy recommends preventing raccoons from accessing food and shelter on your property in the following ways:

– Keep all garbage securely stored until the day of collection.

– Feed pets indoors, or if fed outdoors, take in any feed that is not immediately eaten.

– Bird feeders can attract raccoons. If raccoons are present in the winter, take bird feeders in at night.

– Keep pet doors locked and closed at night. Raccoons will enter homes if they think they can get a meal on the other side.

– Never feed raccoons. They have evolved to live without the help of humans and feeding can lead to conflict.

– Keep barbecues clean, specifically grills and grease traps, as raccoons will quickly learn about these food sources.