Many people consider feeding raccoons to be a fun and harmless way to support local wildlife, but it can lead to problems for the entire neighborhood. Raccoons are intelligent and adaptive animals; once they associate human beings with a free dinner, they lose their instinctive fear of civilization, and raccoon bites account for an estimated 35 percent of rabies cases in the United States. If your neighbor's habit of offering handouts to the resident raccoon population has you worried, following these four steps can help resolve the issue.
Communicate With Your Neighbor
The easiest way to handle this problem is to simply explain your concerns to your neighbor. Remain calm, polite and factual, citing both the potential for rabies and property damage as a result of feeding these wild animals.
Explain that raccoon are more than capable of gathering enough food on their own, and that teaching them to be dependent on the generosity of humans can actually do more harm than good. With any luck, you can reason with your neighbor and halt this behavior.
Protect Your Property From Raccoon
Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to listen to reason, and the feedings may continue. In this case, your first priority should be to protect your home and property. Secure your trash cans with bungee cords or specialized raccoon-safe lids, and do not leave out compost or other tempting snacks for wildlife. Cover any sources of water, such as a pond or bird bath, at night to discourage them stopping in your yard for a drink. When the raccoon have no reason to go near your house, they should stay away.
Seek Legal Recourse
If you have attempted to handle this trouble on your own and are still being plagued by pest raccoon, you may want to look into local regulations regarding the feeding of wildlife. You could be able to prove to city officials that your neighbor is creating a nuisance, though there is sometimes no specific law against feeding raccoon. A call placed to animal control can help you clarify regulations and bring the matter to the city's attention.
Call In Pest Control
Your final option to deal with a neighbor feeding raccoon is to have the offending animals trapped and removed by pest control experts. Raccoon are clever and difficult to trap, and it is often illegal to release them elsewhere. For this reason, seeking a professional pest control service is typically the only way to safely disband a large population of raccoon. By taking responsibility for the irresponsible actions of your neighbor, you can make your whole neighborhood a safer and healthier place.
To learn more, contact a company such as Chem-Wise Ecological Pest Management Services with your questions.