My name is Ron Shepard and my wife and I have been feeding wild Raccoons, skunks, ground hogs, deer and just about anything on 4 legs for well over 14 years now and they have taught us a LOT!
Over the years, we have heard so many misconceptions, fallacies and fears about Raccoons and skunks and honestly because of (mostly) the fears, raccoons and skunks are needlessly killed. The worst part is that sometimes those killings also lead to babies dying because their mother does not come home.
When it comes to raccoons, we have learned they are an extremely intelligent furry bundle and they come in various sizes, colors and even mentalities.
Here in the Ozarks, not far from Branson, Missouri, we are on a beautiful lake in Arkansas and 14 years ago we started feeding just one little guy that came to our front door. After several days, he came back with a girlfriend and then we were introduced to his mother and father shortly after that. Of course, then came Uncles and Aunts, cousins and finally his friends.
Here it is 14 years later and we still feed most of those families along with their children, grandchildren and who knows who else as it has increased to about 80 or 90 every night!
One of the biggest fears people have with raccoons is rabies…. and I can't tell you how many people react crazily when I tell them we feed raccoons! You would have thought I just committed treason…ack. IF a raccoon gets rabies you CAN usually tell IF you know what they act like normally because their complete attitude changes to either extremely sluggish or extremely aggressive and if they contract it, they usually die within 7-10 days. We have never once had any of the hundreds we feed contract that terrible disease.
If you have a raccoon on your property and you don't want it there, PLEASE use a HAVAHART® raccoon trap to simply re-locate the little guy to another region away from your home. However, don't do that if you can help it from March to Sept because they may have babies somewhere hidden from you that they are taking care of and feeding and moving the mother would most likely kill the babies.
Please do NOT try to make a pet of one of the babies if it comes up to you as they usually do not make good pets once grown. Remember, they are wild animals.
If you want to REALLY enjoy them, put out some cheap dog food, water and even some sweets such as their favorite food….Hostess Twinkies!!!
I can't tell you how many we have that will come to our door standing on their tiptoes with their paws in the air asking for Twinkies and when we open the door they will either take it directly with their mouth or they will so ever gently take it with their little paws. The look in their eyes when they do that so very clearly says “Thank you” and it is a look that money can't buy.
If you decide to feed raccoons, always let them come to you and never try to pick them up, as that instills fear into them. If you let them come to you, they may crawl up onto you to get a sweet treat and for that moment in time when that little furry bundle shows you trust is a moment you will never forget and it is a trust that money can't buy!
"Be kind to our wild furry friends and they will be kind to you" –Ron