Raccoons are a medium sized mammals averaging 14 – 23 lbs. and 24 – 38” long. They are best recognized by their bandit’s mask of black fur that covers their eyes. One theory for their mask feature is that it helps reduce glare and enhance the nocturnal night vision. They have grayish brown fur with dense underfur to help insulate them in the cold. Their tales have five to eight alternating dark and light rings. A raccoons five toes on their front paws are extremely dexterous, functioning as five little fingers which allows them to grasp and manipulate food and other objects, such as doorknobs, garbage can lids, latches and jars.
Raccoons typically live in tree cavities, storm drains and burrows but could also find their way into homes mostly in attics and chimneys. They emerge at dusk to search for food. They are omnivorous and opportunistic eaters as their environment dictates their diet. Common foods include garbage, fruits, berries, insects, rodents, plants, nuts, frogs and crayfish. Raccoons are prey of coyotes and foxes.
Raccoon mating season falls generally anytime between January and June. Most females begin reproducing around the age of one and give birth to litters of 2 – 5 kits, typically in the spring. The mother will separate from other raccoons to raise her young alone as the males do not partake in the raising of the kits. The kits stay in the den with their mother until they are about 8 – 10 weeks old and will continue to stay with her until they reach 13 -14 months of age.
Raccoons are known to be highly susceptible to carrying and transmitting rabies, but rabies is not the only health risk raccoons pose to humans. Raccoons are also the primary host of a roundworm that can be harmful to humans. Roundworm eggs are passed in the feces of infected raccoons and people can become infected by ingesting the eggs. Young children are especially at risk as they are more likely to put contaminated fingers, soil or other objects into their mouths. Eggs in newly deposited feces are not infectious and take at least 2 – 4 weeks to become infective.

Gray squirrels are a bushy-tailed, tree living rodent weighing about 1 – 1.5lbs and are about 18” long including the tail. They are gray with rusty tinges on their face, sides and legs along with a white underside. Their tails are flattened, bushy and gray with silvery-tipped hairs.
Gray squirrels build large nests composed of leaves and twigs generally 20’ off the ground in trees. They also utilize old woodpecker holes or natural tree cavities as dens to live in and raise their young. Gray squirrels are social and can tolerate other squirrels to share their nests during certain times of the year.
Gray squirrels mate twice a year from December to February and from May to June. A squirrel litter ranges from 2 – 6 young that are born hairless, blind and helpless. Spring litters are born in a tree cavity or inside a structure while the late summer litter is born in a leaf nest. The female will move her litter back and forth from a tree cavity to a leaf nest to escape predators and weather changes. The young are weaned in about 50 days. Gray squirrels typically live up to 3 years.
The diet of gray squirrels typically consists of an assortment of seeds, nuts, and berries. Such food sources include acorns, walnuts, pine seeds, wild grapes and American holly berries. If these food sources become scarce, they will feed on insects (adults and larvae), young birds and bird eggs. At the end of the summer, gray squirrels will store seeds and nuts to feed on when food is hard to come by during the winter months.
Squirrels will readily take up residence in a building or home if access to a sheltered areas such as eaves and attics in accessible. Scratching, gnawing, scurrying and pattering sounds in the early morning or daylight hours as well as the presence of droppings are typical signs of squirrel activity inside an attic space of a house. Torn insulation, dried leaves and twigs could help identify the nesting site, however, the young may be concealed within the eaves or in a wall void. Squirrels occupying the eaves and attics can damage insulation as well as electrical wiring and should be removed and excluded by professionals.

2023 Positive Pest Control; All rights reserved.
to top