It’s being called another sign of our changing seasons and milder winters.
Skedaddle, a Hamilton-based wildlife control company, says it was called out on Thursday for the humane removal of five baby raccoons from the attic of a home in Burlington.
Raccoons don’t normally give birth until closer to April in Southern Ontario, but Skedaddle President Bill Dowd says this marks two years in a row that they’ve discovered babies in a home early than usual.
Dowd says it means “this coming spring season there’s going to be a lot of wildlife activity,” since the babies are already being born and because he says average litter sizes are typically larger earlier in the season.
He adds that people need to be “very, very diligent” in maintaining their properties, since “you definitely don’t want a raccoon or a squirrel in your attic chewing electrical wires, trampling down insulation, urinating, defacating” and causing noise and other damage.
Dowd’s advice includes looking at your home constantly, monitoring the roof and making any needed repairs.
“Any loose shingles or aluminum soffits should be properly secured,” he said. “Vents on your roof are like magnets on colder nights for animals, so those should be screened, chimneys should be screened.”
He also warns against providing unintended food sources by putting out your garbage “first thing in the morning, not the night before, like most homeowners do, because that’s when raccoons and skunks and opposums are out foraging for food.”
Dowd says their work when called to a home includes assessing the property to find out where wildlife is gaining access and “what we need to do to that home to make it animal-proof.”
He adds that the raccoons are then humanely released on site to find alternate den locations.
“If you relocate them, about 70 per cent die and people don’t want to see an animal from Burlington, a raccoon from Burlington brought into their neighbourhood in Hamilton, or vice versa,” Dowd explained.