We see rats nightly scurrying between garbage bags on our walk home at night, but the first raccoon we’ve seen during the day, we’ve seen two others at night, was on Clifton Place between Nostrand and Bedford Avenues, and luckily this time we had a cell phone camera.
The raccoon sat on the ledge and showed no fear or concern with me or the dog, and as I fumbled with a cell phone camera which works so much easier on television, he looked at us as though curious of his new neighbors before ambling away.
Raccoons are furry, but children should know they are not fun animals to be around and never to be approached. “Raccoons can carry rabies, a lethal disease caused by the neurotropic rabies virus carried in the saliva and transmitted by bites… …Of the 6,940 documented rabies cases reported in the United States in 2006, 2,615 (37.7%) were in raccoons.” Wikipedia
Joseph Pane, biologist for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, said there are numerous raccoons throughout the city and it is not unusual to see them at this time of year.
“While raccoons are not true hibernators, they do find dens, and this time of year when the temperatures go up and down, they are looking for a last meal before they board up for the winter,” said Pane.
Pane recommended that residents make sure their garbage is in a closed container, and if possible to put the garbage out the morning of pickup instead of the night before pick-up.
Additionally, residents that feed their dogs or cats outside should make sure no food is left as raccoons will help themselves to leftovers.
Pane did note that there is rabies in the city and raccoons can carry the disease. As such, if a resident is bitten or scratched by a raccoon or any animal, they should go to the emergency room for treatment.
While the city’s Department of Health does not do any regular pest control on raccoons because they are free roaming like squirrels, they will come out and do trapping if a resident is bitten or scratched to test for rabies, he said.