Raccoon

A little about raccoons:

Raccoons are found in all parts of Ohio, and are very common in suburbs and cities. They can live almost any place where there is food for them to eat and a den to serve as shelter. Litter sizes consist of 3 to 7 young (also called kits). Newborn raccoons have fur, and their eyes open after 19 days. After 6 or 7 weeks, the young are weaned and weigh about 1.5 pounds.
Young raccoons will stay with the mother through the fall with some staying with her during the winter as well. Raccoons are usually nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. However, mother raccoons will use every opportunity to forage for food when she has a litter, so she may be active during the daytime in the spring and summer. It is not uncommon to see baby raccoons alone while the mother is away. She will always reunite with them, especially at night when humans are scarce.

I found a baby raccoon, what do I do?

Leave it alone if:
It is seemingly healthy, with its eyes open. If it is away from its den, but not in immediate danger, watch from a distance to see if it goes back to its den or if the mother retrieves it. Unless the kit is still there after a few hours or overnight, it should be left alone.
If it is seemingly healthy, with its eyes closed. If it is away from its den, but not in immediate danger, wait to see if the mother retrieves it at night.
Put an upside-down laundry basket over the kit with a towel or heated sock filled with dry rice to keep it warm (and a light weight on top of the basket so it cannot push its way out). Monitor it until well into the nighttime hours. The mother will overturn the basket to take the kit.
You can also put the kit in a cardboard box with a towel or heated sock filled with dry rice to keep it warm. Tape the top of the box closed with newspaper. The mother will tear through the paper to get to her kit.
Even if you have touched the kits, the mother will return for them! Female raccoons are very dedicated parents.
If raccoons have taken up residence on your patio, or in your attic, eaves, or chimney, they can usually be forced to relocate by making the area less appealing to them. The mother will likely relocate the kits to another den site, carrying one kit at a time. This process may take multiple nights.

Contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator if:

A raccoon kit is far from its den and it appears to be sick, cold, weak, injured, covered in parasites, or still has its eyes closed.
If you know the mother raccoon is dead or has not returned for more than one day.
Predation of the nest has occurred and a kit has been left behind for more than one day.
The family pet brings a kit home and you cannot return it to the den.

Never keep a raccoon as a pet!

Raccoons are wild animals that belong in the wild. Once they grow, they are active and independent, which could easily make them dangerous and destructive.

Take a moment to understand that your good intentions in picking up a baby raccoon could actually cause harm to you AND the animal. Understand that wild animals are born to live their lives in the wild.

How can I prevent raccoons from creating dens in my home/yard?

Raccoons may create a den in your yard or anywhere that seems like a safe place for a den. Use preventive measures to ensure that raccoons will not occupy certain spaces.
Be sure to securely close any possible points of entry (i.e. under patios, chimneys, etc.)

Do not leave outside containers that raccoons could climb into (large buckets, planters, trash cans, etc.). They might find these things to be a suitable den for their babies.

Raccoons are attracted to accessible food, so do not leave pet food or bags of garbage outside..

How can I help prevent orphaned raccoons?

In spring and summer, people often set traps to resolve garbage and other “nuisance” issues. Unfortunately, this approach can lead to trapped and killed mothers who leave their starving young behind. Consider using methods to deter them from wanting to stay in the area instead (see above).
Always keep your pets under control and watch them when they are outdoors, especially in the spring and summer when they could easily find baby wildlife.