With the drought conditions severe this year, (as a matter of fact, I consider we are still in a drought due to the low moisture conditions in the soil) most wildlife are finding it slim pickings and heading to your landscape environment.
Bet you think I'm going to talk about deer. Not really, its all about raccoons. Most of the time you don't see these visitors to your landscape but I bet you can hear them getting into your garbage or even crawling in your attic this fall. There are three reasons why these bandit-looking animals are finding your environment attractive.
First, we, you and I have moved into their neighborhood especially considering the wooded home developments we have occupied. Basically, we have taken over their neighborhood. Second reason why we are seeing more evidence of their presence is because their population has exploded. Just take a look at the dead raccoons evident on our highways lately. Thirdly, especially this year, is the lack of food out there in the woods. They are coming to your green space to have breakfast, lunch and supper not to mention a midnight snack. Their diet has changed due to the new menu you provide. That could very well be sweet corn, bird feed, garden goodies as well as dog and cat food. We now have domestic raccoons if you want to call them that.
Raccoons can be cute and that's where some people get up too close and personal. Raccoons carrying rabies is the definitive reason why not to attract them to our environment.
Some of the warning signs of raccoons caring rabies are:
1. Being out in the daytime
2. Raccoons acting over friendly because most healthy animals will shy away from humans.
3. Being unusually vocal
4. Raccoons that are observed to have some kind of paralysis of limbs and overweight appearance.
If we can't stay out of their neighborhood then we need to avoid getting up close and personal to these cute sometimes rabies caring bandits. One last note, if you are bitten by a raccoon, try and capture the animal or at least get to a physician as fast as possible.