Raccoons can be nuisances in Mississauga, too


Published February 22, 2023 at 12:42 pm

Coyotes get most of the headlines in Mississauga and other GTA communities, but there’s another critter residents need to be aware of, too, the City says.

Raccoons, while an important part of the ecosystem, according to City of Mississauga Animal Services officials, can easily become a major nuisance if they take up residence in homes and businesses.

Mississauga Animal Services receives hundreds of calls each year related to raccoons on private and public property, last year taking 644 such calls, officials said in a news release today (Feb. 22).

“Animal Services can respond to and investigate any inquiries involving sick, injured, distressed or deceased animals,” a City spokesperson said in the news release, but “…they can’t help if an animal has decided to call your property home or if they are being a nuisance on your property. It is recommended to contact a licensed and reputable wildlife removal company if you have concerns about nuisance wild animals.”

Animal Services staffers say raccoons, nocturnal creatures that can weigh between 14 and 23 pounds, are found everywhere in Mississauga and have adapted to urban living.

“They are intelligent, curious and clever animals who play an important role in our ecosystem. They help with the population control of insects and other small rodents, disperse seeds for plants and they are nature’s clean-up crew–eating remains of dead animals,” officials say, noting the masked critters don’t hibernate in winter and wake up, mostly evenings, to go rummage for food.

But “if you see a raccoon in your yard during the day, it’s normal. Raccoons can be active throughout the day, especially during certain times of the year,” officials add.

Problems for business owners and homeowners arise, though, when the ring-eyed creatures begin sifting through garbage bins looking for a meal.

“Ensuring proper garbage disposal, rinsing recycling and securing bins can prevent them from sifting through the garbage,” officials say.

While raccoons are, for the most part, found in forests, they also make their homes in neighbourhoods on properties that have sheds and underneath decks.

“Raccoons aren’t the best roommates. They can cause a lot of damage and frustration to homeowners, often getting into garbage bins and leaving behind a big mess, destroying vegetable and herb gardens, digging up lawns in search of grubs and, in some cases, ripping up property to find shelter,” City officials caution.

Animal Services officials say that if you see a raccoon on your property or find one lurking around your home:

  • avoid physical contact
  • don’t approach, disturb, scare or threaten a raccoon
  • avoid feeding or petting
  • don’t intentionally try to hurt it
  • call a licensed and reputable wildlife removal company that can safely capture and relocate it
  • keep pets indoors

If the raccoon appears to be sick, distressed or injured, call Animal Services at 905-896-5858.

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