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Raccoons are found throughout the state, excluding high mountains and desert regions. They have adapted well to residential life because of their flexible diet and nocturnal nature. Raccoons are opportunistic feeders and have a diverse diet that includes insects, plants, and small animals—but also unnatural foods, like pet food and trash, when they have the chance. Raccoons are notorious for getting into garbage cans and eating pet food left on a porch or food left out at campsites.

Raccoons that are fed by people often lose their fear of humans and may become aggressive. Do not attempt to feed or touch a raccoon. Raccoons can host various zoonotic diseases and parasites that can be harmful to people or pets (e.g., rabies, distemper, roundworm). Raccoons, especially those with young, can be aggressive towards dogs. Check your backyard before letting pets outside to make sure that no raccoons are around.

If you encounter a raccoon:

  • Keep a safe distance
  • Keep children and pets away. Do not attempt to intervene in an altercation with your pet. Getting between a raccoon and your pet could result in injury (bite or scratch).
  • Do not approach – raccoons may bite or scratch when cornered, startled or threatened.
  • If a raccoon approaches you, make yourself big and make noise to scare it away.

Relocation of raccoons is illegal in Oregon: Research has shown that relocated animals can transmit diseases to new areas and often have very low survival rates. Raccoons may be trapped with a permit from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, but they must be released on the same property or humanely euthanized. If you are attempting to trap raccoons with a permit, it is important to be ready with a plan for all captured animals, including unintended bycatch.

Are raccoons causing a nuisance on your property? Here are some options:

- Work with a permitted Wildlife Control Operator to trap raccoons on your property. Wildlife Control Operators are private individuals who professionally trap animals in urban areas where conflict is occurring. Find more information about Wildlife Control Operators here.

-Contact your local ODFW office if you wish to trap raccoons on your property yourself. You must obtain a permit to trap raccoons prior to beginning any trapping efforts.

-Follow the tips below to reduce raccoon use of your property or neighborhood.

  • Don't leave pet food outside. Feed your pet indoors or pick up the dish after they finish.
  • Fasten garbage can lids with a rubber strap. Don't place meat products or other attractive foods in uncovered compost piles.
  • Keep surplus bird food cleaned up around feeders. Place bird feeders out of reach of raccoons.
  • Close openings to animal cages and pens.
  • Close garage, storage buildings, basement, and attic doors and windows, especially at night.
  • Close off all vents or open spaces under buildings with metal, hardware wire or boards, but be careful not to seal animals inside. If an animal is present, close off all of the area except for one small 12-inch by 12-inch opening. Wait until after dark, and then close it off. If the animal is still inside, repeat the process. If raccoons or skunks are using the site, be sure not to lock the young inside. Raccoons and skunks leave their young in the nest for 3-7 weeks. You should wait until they are old enough to travel with the parents.
  • Prevent raccoon access to chimneys by securely fastening a commercial cap of sheet metal and heavy screen over top of the chimney. Consider fire safety first.
  • Prune all large overhanging tree limbs that animals may use to gain access to building roof or upper floor windows and vents. If trees cannot be pruned, tack a metal band, 16-24 inches wide, around the tree trunk below first limbs but 4-8 feet above the ground.

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