Image via WikipediaThe Northern Raccoon Procyon lotor is known for its distinctive black mask and night time raids on birdfeeders.
The common name raccoon comes from the Algonquan Indian word aroughbcoune which “means scratches with his hands.” The species name Procyon lotor means “washing bear.” Raccoons have very clever little hands that can open just about anything and they often seem to wash their food before they eat it. Scientists aren’t sure why the animals go through the dunking motions even if there is no water.
The territory of a raccoon can be as large as ten miles. This means he'll usually stay in your yard for only a few days and then move on looking for different food, water, and shelter. Of course another one may replace the one that just left your yard or you may be free of raccoons for weeks. An exception to that is a nursing mother raccoon. Healthy mother raccoons are often active during the day foraging for extra food and can stay in the same area until her babies leave the den in about eight weeks. Afterward the mother and young find a new place to sleep each night as she teaches them to survive.
Michigan has very long days during the summer months, nocturnal animals will often start to emerge from there dens before dark. This only means that they are hungry. If you are thinking of trapping an animal remember most raccoons or any wild mammal during spring and summer months are most likely nursing females!
To prevent successful raccoon raids:
3. Take your bird feeders down at night when raccoons are most active and store them in the garage, shed, or a secure container that the raccoon can’t raid.
Source:Mammals of Michigan Field Guideby Stan Tekiela Book, feeders, baffles, and steel container are all available at Wild Birds Unlimited, East Lansing.