Raccoons Aplenty

0026:122816:22F:0000:CAMERA1:7E[075:1282]G[064:0x007f]When we talk about urban wildlife in Sioux Falls, raccoons are always one of topics. They turn over our trash cans, leave crazy trails in the snow and just general wreak havoc with our domestic pets. They’re everywhere!

This week we caught at least seven on our trail cam, eating from a deer carcass. The masked faces and ringed tails are cute as can be, but can there be too many? Yes.

Male raccoons are what scientists call “polygynous,” meaning the breed with more than one female. Females can have litters of one to seven kits. Young raccoons usually stay with their mothers until the following spring.

2107:122716:23F:0000:CAMERA1:7E[076:1228]G[064:0x007f]Raccoons don’t hibernate – that’s why we’re seeing them this time of year. When there is heavy snow, they may become dormant, but generally they’re out and about, scavenging for food.

Speaking of food, the curious and intelligent mammals will search for food day and night. Brad Baumgartner, regional wildlife manager for Game, Fish and Parks, said one of the best ways to keep raccoons out of your yard is to not feed domestic animals outside. “For people who feed cats outside, we suggest a single pedestal table for the food. The cats can jump up there, but the raccoons can’t.” He also suggests covering egress windows and window wells and making sure skirting on trailers is correctly installed.

Common raccoons are found all over South Dakota. Keep an eye out for the masked mammals next time you’re taking a walk through the neighborhood at night.