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Are racoons becoming endangered? Do they hibernate in the winter? Are they becoming too tame for their own future? How can I help them in my backyard? Should I feed them, if so what is best for them?

Wildlife Expert - Ken Burton

That's a lot of questions! No, raccoons aren't becoming endangered. In fact, the opposite is true; raccoon populations in most areas have increased because they do so well around humans, which in turn is because they eat almost anything. True, automobiles and diseases such as canine distemper wipe out many, but overall the species is doing fine - perhaps too well for the overall balance of the ecosystem because it is a voracious predator and a reservoir for a parasitic worm that, though harmless to raccoons, is fatal to many other mammals. In warm climates raccoons are active year-round; in cold areas they enter a period of shallow winter sleep that isn't really hibernation.

Human-wildlife conflicts are a potential problem wherever animals become expectant of or dependent on obtaining resources around humans. The future of raccoons as a whole is in no immediate danger, but many individuals get themselves relocated or killed because of their "tameness." The best way to help them is to keep them wild; don't feed them and don't allow them to help themselves to pet food or garbage. Ensure that sufficient natural habitat remains for them to exist as wild animals.

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