Originally, raccoons lived only in North America. Omnivores are a real plague there now. In their search for food, they can cause a lot of trouble, for example by overturning garbage cans.
From fur animal to insect
The animals now roam Europe as well. How did they get here? Presumably through fur farming. In the 1930s, the first animals were sent to Germany for their fur, but also as pets. Information about the fugitives came soon. Some of our eastern neighbors also deliberately set animals free for hunting.
Smart hunters turned out to be good survivors and today one and a half million raccoons roam Germany. This breed has been progressing for many years in our country as well.
Raccoons in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, raccoons live mainly in Limburg. These animals were presumably escaped pets, released specimens, or descendants of a wild colony from Wallonia. In this About 60,000 wild raccoons live in the southern part of Belgium.
Occasionally, invasive species appear in other parts of our country. like a A raccoon invading a chicken coop in Wood, Brabant, 2021, bit a chicken and fell asleep. It was then suspected that it was an escaped pet.
Can raccoons be kept as pets?
Many of Europe’s wild raccoons are escaped pets or their offspring. Apparently exotics are popular beasts. With their human-like hands and crooked heads, it’s no wonder raccoons look like cute scoundrels.
But these ferocious animals have a bad reputation in their home in North America for a reason. Masked bandits can cause a lot of trouble by eating pond fish, tearing down roofs and turning gardens upside down.
Additionally, raccoons can carry dangerous diseases such as rabies. In the Netherlands, the disease has not yet appeared in raccoons, but Dutch exotics carry a parasite. This raccoon roundworm, Palesascaris procyonis, can also make humans sick.
That’s why it’s not legal to bring a raccoon into your home since 2016 in the Netherlands. Since that year, the animal has been on the European Union’s list of invasive alien species.
Do you see a raccoon? Then don’t try to capture the animal, but report it The Mammal Society’s Raccoon Hotline. They keep track of how many handsome bandits are roaming around the Netherlands. With this information, they hope to be able to quickly detect the onset of the plague. Otherwise, no dumpster is safe from creative thieves.
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