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Raccoon Control
Removing alien species from the ecosystem to conserve our native species and environment.

An Animal We Should NOT Have Considered as a Pet

We started to receive raccoon sightings around the year 2001. The raccoon (Procyon lotor) is a mid sized carnivore originating in Central and North America. Raccoons were imported to Japan as pets, but they are wild animals and not easily tamed. Many of these pet raccoons escaped from their cages using their powerful and dexterous arms and hands. It is also suspected that many owners could not continue keeping them and released them into the wild deliberately. In this way, feral raccoons are spreading all over Japan. There have been reports of crops being damaged in Hokkaido and houses being broken into and soiled with raccoon droppings in Kanagawa prefecture. These are serious problems.

What Kind of Animal is the Raccoon?

  • They have a striped tail
  • A little grayer than the Japanese raccoon dog
  • Adept at climbing trees
  • Front foot Striped tail

    Problems Caused by Raccoons in Karuizawa

    1. Disturbing the Ecosystem
    Raccoons eat anything. It is possible that they could bring some species of birds and small mammals close to extinction. Mid sized, wild animals native to Japan that have a similar niche such as the raccoon dog, fox, badger, and marten will also suffer because raccoons compete with them. We receive more reports of sightings and have captured more raccoons on the east side of the town than the west. We can think of two reasons for this. One is that feral raccoons in the Kanto area (Tokyo, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa prefectures) have expanded into Karuizawa, and another is that raccoons, once kept as pets in Karuizawa have escaped and are reproducing. Since we started the program two years ago, 20 raccoons have been captured including several newborns. There are probably ten times this number inhabiting the Karuizawa area and it is certain that many other species are suffering under this pressure.

    2. Infectious Diseases
    Feces in the attic of a second house
    Raccoons can possibly carry infectious diseases like raccoon roundworm infection and rabies, all diseases that can be passed on to humans and pets. We are checking each raccoon we capture by sending samples to universities to check for these diseases. So far, we have not uncovered any terminal diseases in the Karuizawa area. We will continue checking for these diseases.

    3. House Damage
    They enter wooden houses from under the floors. They hide in attics, sometimes giving birth to their young and remaining there for the winter. We are receiving more and more reports of damaged walls and ceilings soiled with raccoon droppings.

    Public Education

    Problems on introduced species occur when people do not think twice about keeping wild animals as pets. They are careless and the animals escape giving no consideration as to the effects the animals may have on the ecosystem. We give presentations to the public on these matters in an attempt to improve the situation.

    Adoption of Captured Raccoons, Foster Owner Wanted

    A raccoon captured in Karuizawa
    NPO picchio is trying to remove raccoons from the ecosystem, but killing them is not our intention. We are looking for responsible individuals and organizations willing to adopt captured raccoons. We place captured raccoons into the care of these individuals and organizations after explaining thoroughly to them what kind of animal they are and what it takes to keep them. To date, four raccoons have been saved having being adopted by zoos.

    Please Contact Us if You

  • Are willing to adopt a raccoon
  • See a raccoon in Karuizawa
  • Incur damages caused by raccoons in Karuizawa
  • See other feral introduced species in Karuizawa