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Raccoon (Procyon lotor). Français : Raton lave...

Raccoon (Procyon lotor). Français : Raton laveur (Appellé Racoon en Guadeloupe) (Procyon lotor). Author: Darkone, 5. August 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The dry Midwest summer isn’t just causing problems for plants, it’s forcing some animals to fight for their lives, too.

Drought conditions across Michiana have wiped out much of the wildlife population’s natural food supplies.

“The natural berries, the nuts, the creeks have dried up,” said Nuisance Animal Controller Don Gee. “There’s no crayfish there’s, no minnows. They’ve all moved.”

That means animals like raccoons or moles have to find their food sources elsewhere and, in many cases, they’re heading straight for people’s backyards. Like my neighbor’s. Obviously, my neighbors dog, a labrador-poodle mix, isn’t a racoon dog. Because a mama raccoon and her two babies braved the dog in the backyard and dug a den under my neighbor’s garage. At night the mama and her babies would come out and raid the bird feeder while the labradoodle watched.

My neighbor called the DNR, who recommended, in order to prevent the spread of disease, that my neighbors safely and humanely euthanize the raccoons. My neighbors did NOT want to kill a mama and two cute baby raccoons. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources then said that while euthanasia is the recommended solution, homeowners may live-trap nuisance wildlife. The animals must be released within the county of capture on property in which you have permission to do so.  You can purchase Live-traps from hardware stores and garden centers. The Humane Society of Elkhart County also makes live-traps available for a $25 fee which will be returned when you bring back the trap. There is a charge of $1 a day for the trap. If you do not want to trap the raccoon yourself, contact a licensed nuisance wild animal control operator.

My neighbors rented the traps, loaded them with fruit and one by one, they captured the raccoons.

Who could resist a face like that? This baby is being relocated 14 miles from where he has been living. Raccoons are territorial and must be moved at least 10 miles or they will find their way back.

Raccoons can carry a variety of diseases and parasites that can be transmitted to domestic animals and to humans. Canine distemper is fairly common in areas where high densities of raccoons are known to exist. Raccoons can also carry raccoon roundworm, rabies, and parvovirus.

And while raccoons are adorable while little, they grow up. I found this video of Willy, a bottle-fed and hand raised raccoon, online. I think it will give you an idea of what living with a full-grown raccoon is like.