Raccoons


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How can something with this much personality and world-class charm manage to cause so many problems? Paws as nimble as fingers, intelligence, and insatiable curiosity, that's how. As many home owners will testify (and usually in very colorful language), raccoons can open doors and windows, turn on faucets, remove bottle caps, unlatch refrigerators, open jars, and climb almost anything. Don't be fooled by the raccoon's fox-like face, they are actually related to pandas and descendants of the dog family. And not to disillusion anyone, but raccoons (in the wild, at least) don't actually "wash" their food before eating. They will occasionaly dunk their food in water (in captivity), but experts in raccoon behavior admit they really don't know why.

Raccoons, like squirrels, survive very well in urban areas. In fact, in some parts of the country, there are more raccoons in urban areas than in the wild. This, of course, is why sometimes the lights go out. Raccoons will climb trees and distribution poles, but their favorite utility structures seem to be substations. They love bird eggs and nesting birds in substations will bring every raccoon in the neighborhood. Besides causing a substation outage (and possibly, significant equipment damage), raccoons will occasionally survive a contact. If the raccoon is still in the substation when the crew arrives, things can get awkward. Raccoons are not only very strong, but fierce fighters when cornered. For you folks in the Southeast, keep in mind that raccoons are one of the primary carriers of rabies. So please exercise a little caution if you should come across a "dead" substation and a live raccoon.

Utilities with chronic raccoon problems have come up with some ingenious solutions that seem to work for them, so pick a place to go...

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