If a baby raccoon has been alone for more than a few hours, they are probably an orphan. Mother raccoons don't let their young out of their sight for long. Put an inverted laundry basket over the baby (with a light weight on top so they cannot push their way out) and monitor them until well into the nighttime hours (raccoons are nocturnal, so the mom should come out at night to reclaim her baby). You can also put the cub in a pet carrier and close the door. Instead of latching it, prop it closed with an angled stick. When the mother returns, she'll run in front of the carrier, push over the stick and the door will pop open.

If the mother does not return, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. In spring and summer, people often set traps in a misguided effort to resolve garbage and other "nuisance" issues. Unfortunately, this approach leads to trapped and killed mothers who leave their starving young behind. If anyone in your neighborhood is setting traps, persuade them to use more humane and effective methods instead.

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Why they are important

Despite the mischief this "masked bandit" can sometimes cause, the raccoon plays an important role in the ecosystem by helping to maintain healthy populations and distributing seeds, etc. from what they catch or forage.

Interesting Facts

- There are 6 different species of raccoon native to North and South America
- Their masks absorb light and allow them to see better
- Populations have exploded
- They are very intelligent
- Raccoons rely on their sense of touch to locate goodies
- Their front paws are incredibly dexterous and contain roughly four times more sensory receptors than their back paws
- They are resourceful problem solvers