View Full Version : Why all the dead racoons?
10-03-2002, 12:57 PM
I've been driving for over 20 years now and I've seen my share of roadkill.
But this year I've seen must have been over 30 distinct dead racoons in the past month. There has always been one here and there but what gives this year? Has there been a racoon population explosion or are the more susceptible to being hit this year?
10-03-2002, 01:14 PM
Nope. The mooses are just tired of hiding the bodies.
10-03-2002, 01:19 PM
I knew those meese were responsible!
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
10-03-2002, 01:26 PM
Disease making them more sluggish/slower?
10-03-2002, 01:30 PM
I thought of that Bosda and hope it isn't true.
I'm hoping there is just more of them and so I see more dead ones. There seems to be too many dead ones for that though.
Duck Duck Goose
10-03-2002, 01:51 PM
Yeah, I was just gonna say, West Nile slowing them down, making them stupid? Birds with West Nile behave erratically, so I would suppose that a raccoon with a high fever and a killer headache wouldn't be quite so careful out on the highway.
What county are you in? PDF map of Minnesota counties showing West Nile.
Looks like the only counties with no West Nile at all are up in Lake and Cook counties.
10-03-2002, 02:19 PM
Scott county and I know we have West Nile. Guess I didn't even think of West Nile.
How many racoons per square mile anyway. I had no idea there was so many or maybe they're all dying :(
10-03-2002, 04:43 PM
The short answer: My aim is improving.
Duck Duck Goose
10-03-2002, 05:38 PM
Andy, my understanding of the way that viruses move through a population, in terms of biology and genetics and Darwinian selection, etc. is that the virus may kill, oh, say, 90% of its victims--but it will always leave a remnant. If viruses didn't leave a remnant population, they'd be out of business in a generation, right?
So I wouldn't worry that raccoons are an endangered species, even the raccoons of Scott County. But it may be pretty quiet in Scott County woodlots for a couple of years.
10-03-2002, 07:22 PM
If it's not rabies, it might be Canine or Feline Distemper.
In the final stage of the disease, the raccoon may begin to wander aimlessly in a circle, disoriented and unaware of its surroundings, suffer paralysis or exhibit other bizarre behaviour as a result of brain damage.
There is no danger to humans, but if you have unvaccinated cats or dogs, I would keep them indoors or on a leash when you're with them. Obviously, keeping them on a leash tied to a tree would be bad. If there've been coons in the area you can disinfect with a bleach/water solution.
10-03-2002, 07:41 PM
voltaire probably has the answer. Raccoon populations typically go through boom and bust cycles with the bust usually caused by distemper. Chances are, if you see a live raccoon in the daytime, it probably has distemper.
10-04-2002, 01:17 AM
More roadkill in general, simply means that there were more targets, which translates into a healthy birthrate. A virus will take it's toll in the natural habitat of the affected species.
10-04-2002, 01:42 AM
I don't know if they can get West Nile, & I've always been led to believe that distemper will make them go for cover & hole up untile they die. I'll go look for cites. My money's on the low value of fur. It used to be people would make enough to make it worth their while to pick up road kill.
My wife ran over one near the airport in Memphis. That tells me that there are just a lot more of them. I've also seen more hit on the Natchez Trace, this year.
10-04-2002, 08:51 AM
- - - If you run over one at night, that's just poor luck on their part. If you run over one during the daytime -or even see one during the daytime, that's most likely disease, usually canine distemper.
10-04-2002, 08:57 AM
Another thought crossed my mind in that we have had gentle winters here the past few years. Maybe more have lived through it? What % of racoons live through a typical Minnestoa winter?
I also want to note that it is a recent 'past month' thing. However, maybe there was more before earlier this year and I didn't notice it.
I also thought distemper made them hole up but am not sure.
I didn't know people picked up roadkill for the fur!
10-04-2002, 04:15 PM
andymurph64 you might try the MN DNR for information on the % of survivors.
Well, raccoons can get West Nile, shows how much I know. http://www.birdsnways.com/wisdom/ww51ev.htm
I just did a general look on google, & here's some prices in LA for 1990-2000, $4.23-$2.54 for those that don't want to click. http://www.alligatorfur.com/annualreport/furind.html
In the 70's, it was much more profitable to pick them up & I knew people who did, as long as the pelt is intact, it can be worth it.
Here in IA, road crews do clean the roads of the kill, so you may be in a low maintenence area, if that is the case in MN.
10-04-2002, 04:59 PM
I live in Wisconsin and I've seen the same thing here. Loads o' coon carcass on the side of the road.
I haven't heard about any disease present in them (though with our summer of West Nile and CWD in deer, that's certainly a possibility). I would have to concur with the notion that seeing a raccoon in the daylight is usually a sign that something is wrong with it. Hmmm...think I'll contact our DNR to see if they have anything to say about it.
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