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Are raccoons dangerous? How to protect yourself and your pets from the animal.

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 9/12/2022 Evan Hecht, USA TODAY

In season four, episode nine of Bob’s Burgers, viewers were introduced to the character Little King Trashmouth the raccoon. The character has been featured in multiple episodes across the series as Linda Belcher created a fantasy world surrounding the raccoons in her restaurant’s back alley. Despite her husband's disdain for the raccoons, Linda still fawns over the fantasy world of Little King Trashmouth and Co. 

Linda’s love for the raccoons is present throughout the series, but her adoration for the raccoons could put her in a dangerous place. Are raccoons actually dangerous?

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Are raccoons dangerous?

Despite being no larger than an average house cat, raccoons can be dangerous. They are strong and stocky with sharp claws and teeth that they often use to defend themselves, according to crittercontrol.com. Besides their defensive attack style, raccoons are also dangerous because they can carry diseases that can infect humans. According to crittercontrol.com, raccoons can carry rabies as well as roundworm, both of which are harmful to humans. 

Raccoons can carry other diseases, according to Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, including:

What do you do if you’re attacked by a raccoon?

If attacked by a raccoon, the main thing to do is to get checked for rabies, according to wildlifexteam.com. Raccoons are a rabies vector species meaning they’re more likely to carry and transmit rabies than other species. Rabies doesn’t show signs of infection till symptoms get serious, so get checked as soon as you can if attacked. 

Are raccoons dangerous to pets?

Raccoons can be just as dangerous to pets as they are to humans. According to The Humane Society of America, raccoons will not attack dogs but if caught or attacked by a dog, they may fight back. The Humane Society also says raccoons can prey upon kittens and small cats for food. Raccoons can also prey upon chickens and rabbits.

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How to keep raccoons away

Since raccoons pose a threat to humans and pets, you may want to protect your space from the animal. Lawnlove.com provides nine tips for keeping raccoons out of your yard 

  1. Secure your trash cans
  2. Remove possible food sources such as compost piles, bird feeders, pet food bowls and nut and fruit trees
  3. Protect your fruits and veggies 
  4. Block access to hiding places
  5. Eliminate water sources 
  6. Treat your lawn for grubs
  7. Use scent repellents 
  8. Install motion activated lights or sprinklers
  9. Use sonic pest deterrent devices

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Are raccoons dangerous? How to protect yourself and your pets from the animal.

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