Wild Kingdom

Nov 10, 2010 4:57 PM by Lindsay Clein (Butte)

MT wildlife expert offers raccoon advice

Just like bears, raccoons are going through their feeding frenzy stage and may be found hanging around homes as the weather turns more wintry.

Montana Wildlife Control Services owner Brian Stoner says although raccoons are not considered aggressive, if approached, they can be dangerous. Stoner says it's normal for raccoons to pass through, but if they're hanging around your home, it's important to call animal control.

"Remember that they're wild animals," Stoner said. "They may look cute and cuddly, but hanging around your house is not a good place to have them. They need to be out in the wild, so if they're hanging around and eating pet food and things like that, put the food away, eliminate the food source for them. Any areas underneath sheds and out buildings where they can crawl underneath and setup a home for the winter, block those areas off and try to make it so they don't want to be there and want to be in the wild."

Raccoons can be carriers of various diseases like rabies and distemper, so watch children and pets if they're in the area.

Raccoons are also nocturnal, so keep in mind that it's not normal to spot one in the middle of the day. They are also known to come into homes through pet doors, so watch for that as well.