Intruder Alert!

I went out back to do some gardening at around 7 pm this evening and found this little guy on the roof of our shed. I suspect he was just about to jump down onto the deck and eat my baby spinach. We have a lot of old garages and sheds in the neighborhood where raccoons have made homes and early in the morning on garbage pickup day we'll often see the big mother raccoon with three or four of her babies in tow, checking out what's available.

Fun Facts about Raccoons

• Raccoons get their English name from the Algonquian Indian word 'Arakun', which means "he scratches with his hand".

• The territory of the average urban raccoon has been documented at less than 0.1 sq. km./0.5 sq. miles.

• Raccoons usually don't build their own dens. They take over a den that was made by a skunk or a fox or find a way to get into your home or shed.

• As omnivores, raccoons feed on grubs, insects, rodents and other small animals, eggs, fruits, nuts and vegetables. They will also eat from garbage and compost containers.

• Male raccoons are polygamous and will mate with several females in succession. Female raccoons are monogamous, will mate with only one male and will not tolerate other males after mating has occurred.

• The life span of urban raccoons is only one to two years; most urban populations are completely replaced over four years.

• Raccoons conserve energy during winter through inactivity, not hibernation.

• Raccoons are one of the few creatures capable of making the adjustment from family pet back to wild animal.

• In Ontario, it is against the law to keep raccoons as pets.

• Raccoons can be kept away from houses by trimming tree branches to 10 feet from roof and by keeping climbing plants trimmed away from roof and eave areas.

• To deter raccoons, sprinkle strong smelling repellents such as oil of mustard, in or around the composter and garbage.

• To help keep them away from compost and garbage storage areas, install motion-sensitive outdoor lights.