Raccoon Rage
Torontoist has been acquired by Daily Hive Toronto - Your City. Now. Click here to learn more.




Raccoon Rage

2006_10_05_raccoon.jpgIn the 2004 movie Resident Evil:Apocalypse, Toronto stood in for the fictional zombie-infested Raccoon City. While the location decision was likely driven by cost considerations rather than nomenclature, the name is pretty accurate. Toronto has one of the largest raccoon populations of any city in North America, and with summer over, they’re looking to move into attics, sheds, chimneys, and anywhere else they can find a warm, dry space. They’re smart, resourceful, and with those adorable bandit mask faces, arguably the cutest of the disease-bearing urban rodents. However, even the most live and let live city-dwellers generally prefer not to have their wiring gnawed through by sharp little raccoon teeth, or their garbage and green bin stuff strewn up and down the street every trash collection day.
Back in the old days, if you had trouble with varmints in the turnip patch, the solution was easy; you’d head to the back 40 with your 12 gauge and blast away at anything that wasn’t wearing overalls. Nowadays firearms restrictions and animal cruelty regulations prohibit this kind of quick and convenient answer, so what can you do? Well, the City of Toronto offers the following tips for raccoon removal:

Encourage raccoons to leave on their own by making the home unlivable. Try:
• sprinkling naptha flakes around the area
• hanging ammonia-soaked rags
• playing a loud radio tuned to an all-talk station
• keeping the area brightly lit. Important: make sure the light source is not a potential fire hazard.

Keep in mind that these techniques may have the knock-on effect of making the home unlivable for you too. Read on after the jump for more raccoon related tips.

If you don’t feel confident enough to tackle the raccoon problem alone, the Toronto Animal Control automated raccoon hotline recommends contacting a private wildlife removal service. Torontoist called AAA Wildlife Removal, whose unlikely slogan is “The Animal’s Choice” (raccoons, given a say in the matter, would probably choose not to be removed at all). Starting at about $300 for an initial consultation, what AAA will do is find out where your woodland friends are living, force or lure them out and secure the premises to make sure that they don’t come back. You’d also do well to secure any other vulnerable areas of your home, since the now refugee raccoons are going to be looking for a new crib, and better your neighbours than you (Since 1999, provincial law has banned the relocation of wild animals, because the practice can spread disease).
Another option is just to let the raccoons stay put, grow old, raise a family and celebrate the holidays with you. Not only is it humane, but when raccoons evolve opposable thumbs and take over the planet, maybe they’ll let you live under the porch.