In order to stock fur farms, the first raccoons were sent to Europe in the 1920s. Many raccoons escaped and started a new population in the wild thanks to an unintentional bombing and some bored farmers looking to spice up the local wildlife. Raccoons are now regarded as an invasive species in Europe.
The animals were even sent to Japan. Their journey there began more virtuously: Rascal the Raccoon, the wholesome star of the anime animation, was a childhood idol among Japanese kids in the 1970s. Children clamored for their own pet raccoons, and at one time Japan was importing almost 1500 of them each month. When these pets became too large for families to properly care for them, many of them naturally ended up back in the wild.
Are the raccoons dangerous? Raccoons can carry several dangerous diseases including rabies. While incidents of rabid raccoons attacking humans are rare, it's not something you want to risk.Raccoons carry two other diseases, roundworm and leptospirosis, that can also be transmitted to humans and pets.
Do raccoons come out in the winter time? During cold spells they will curl up in a ball or lay on their backs, covering their eyes with their front paws and sleeping for days at a time. But if the cold weather snaps, it is not unusual for the nocturnal raccoons to come out in search of food.
How do I keep raccoons out of my garden? To keep raccoons at a distance, try scattering blood meal around corn plants. Also try sprinkling wood ashes around your plants. Grind up garlic, mix it with an equal portion of chili powder, and spread it around the garden.
Do raccoons die from rabies? Raccoons—along with foxes (red and gray), skunks, and bats—are considered a primary carrier of the rabies virus in the United States. While any warm-blooded animal can carry rabies, these are the ones we call “rabies vector species.”
Scientists believe raccoons to be intelligent animals, but people who live in cities may find that their local populations are particularly cunning. This might be the result of urban raccoons frequently having to overcome hurdles created by people. When Toronto-based psychologist and biologist Suzanne MacDonald fitted city raccoons with GPS collars, she discovered that they had learnt to stay away from significant intersections. The idea that raccoons accustomed to living among humans are better able to solve unusual challenges was validated by a second experiment. In both urban and rural areas, MacDonald hid food in trash cans. Most city raccoons could figure out how to open the tricky lid, but the country raccoons consistently failed.
Anyone who has had a garden, cooler, or garbage can broken into by one of these animals knows that they have some of the most dexterous hands in all of nature. The first people to notice their unusual paws were Native Americans. The Powhatan phrase aroughcun, which means "animal that washes with its hands," is where the English word "raccoon" originates. Similar thinking went into the naming of the raccoon by the Aztecs. Mapachitli, which means "one who takes everything in its hands," was its given name. Mapache is now a Spanish word that means "raccoon."