8/25/2023 Officer Mullen reports…
This week Officer Sherwood and Officer-in-training Leiendecker were called out for a family of raccoons stuck in a tight situation. When the officers arrived they found two young raccoons stuck in a fence by their back legs. Momma raccoon was able to free one of the kits with the help of a chair that the homeowner had provided to help. After momma took the first kit to a safe spot, she came back to get the second kit, but he was a bit more stuck and momma was having a hard time getting the rear leg freed. The officers used their metal catch poles to separate the fencing from the house, just enough to loosen the grip on the leg. Since this kit was still young, the officers were able to cover him with a towel to calm him. With the protection of bite gloves the officers stood on each side of the animal and gently slid the leg upwards to free the raccoon. Once the kit was free, momma raccoon ran up, inspected her kit, and then ran off with him to rejoin the sibling. Thankfully the homeowner acted quickly; their legs were not damaged.
Raccoons have very tight-knit families. A mother raccoon can give birth to up to seven kits, but on average three to four kits survive each breeding season. The babies are weaned after about 3 months, but remain with their family for 12-16 months. The mother is a wonderful teacher who teaches the young to be independent and adapt to both rural and urban environments. After birthing her young, a momma raccoon will stay in the same den for up to 7 weeks and then once the babies are agile enough to run and climb, the family will find a new den every few days to keep predators from finding them. The average home range for a raccoon depends on habitat and food supply. In the urban environment, the average range for a raccoon is about one mile, whereas in the rural environment it can be closer to 15 miles.
Since raccoon babies are typically born in early spring between March and April, we are now seeing the 4-5 month old kits out enjoying the world…and sometimes getting into trouble. Please call our dispatch line at 415-554-9400 if you see a raccoon in distress, sick or injured. Thank you for alerting us to the needs of our urban wildlife.