Raccoon Capture – Mission / Abbotsford / Langley / Surrey
The raccoon (/rəˈkuːn/ or US Listeni/ræˈkuːn/, Procyon lotor), sometimes spelled racoon,also known as the common raccoon, North American raccoon, northern raccoon and colloquially as coon, is a medium-sized mammal native to North America.
Raccoons can carry rabies, a lethal disease caused by the neurotropic rabies virus carried in the saliva and transmitted by bites. Its spread began in Florida and Georgia in the 1950s and was facilitated by the introduction of infected individuals to Virginia and North Dakota in the late 1970s.
Of the 6,940 documented rabies cases reported in the United States in 2006, 2,615 (37.7%) were in raccoons. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as local authorities in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces, has developed oral vaccination programs to fight the spread of the disease in endangered populations. Only one human fatality has been reported after transmission of the rabies virus strain commonly known as “raccoon rabies”.
Among the main symptoms for rabies in raccoons are a generally sickly appearance, impaired mobility, abnormal vocalization, and aggressiveness. There may be no visible signs at all, however, and most individuals do not show the aggressive behaviors seen in infected canids; rabid raccoons will often retire to their dens instead. Organizations like the U.S. Forest Service encourage people to stay away from animals with unusual behaviour or appearance, and to notify the proper authorities, such as an animal control officer from the local health department. Since healthy animals, especially nursing mothers, will occasionally forage during the day, daylight activity is not a reliable indicator of illness in raccoons.
Unlike rabies and at least a dozen other pathogens carried by raccoons, distemper, an epizootic virus, does not affect humans. This disease is the most frequent natural cause of death in the North American raccoon population and affects individuals of all age groups.For example, 94 of 145 raccoons died during an outbreak in Clifton, Ohio, in 1968. It may occur along with a following inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), causing the animal to display rabies-like symptoms. In Germany, the first eight cases of distemper were reported in 2007.
Since raccoons in high mortality areas have a higher rate of reproduction, extensive hunting may not solve problems with raccoon populations. Older males also claim larger home ranges than younger ones, resulting in a lower population density.