Raccoons survive in the wild due to a diet of wild plants and animals; but because of their adaptability, our garbage cans are veritable buffets for thousands of them lurking in the cities of New York and New Jersey. The highly diverse diet of a raccoon allows them to eat almost anything humans do; making dumpsters, garbage pails, and waste bins high profile targets for these messy eaters.
Raccoons can easily knock over or break into garbage pails, and tear into bags. The scattered garbage, while a good sign of a pest problem, can be used as a meal for mice, rats, opossums, pigeons, and more. One family of raccoons can attract an entire zoo of pests to your home. As nocturnal animals, raccoons easily get into your garbage unseen and will keep coming back for more. Most raccoons can figure out how to open latches on common garbage cans. Spring is approaching, and raccoons will start breeding, making more pests to feed off of your garbage.
Raccoons can get into your home via open windows or doors, and will search for food almost immediately once inside. Raccoons are hosts to many diseases, including rabies. If you see a raccoon in the day, it may have rabies. These mammals are among the biggest pests you will have to deal with in a city, other than snakes or owls. Raccoons can grow to weigh about 30 pounds, about the size of a medium dog. Sheds make good shelters for these pests, protecting them from rain, snow, or extreme heat. They need places to hide in the day. Raccoons have very sensitive and dexterous paws that they can use to open garbage pails, jars, and even doorknobs. The natural predators of raccoons are not found in New York City or urban areas of New Jersey, so only diseases, infections, and roadkills limit the population. Raccoons are fantastic swimmers and climbers, making it easy for them to break into a home, and hunt in the wild. Outdoor fish ponds in backyards are easy hunting spots for these omnivores. The species has been eating raw fish for thousands of years.