Raccoons spotted in and around Calgary

Despite the claim by some people that Calgary does not have any raccoons, a wildlife expert says the masked mammal moved into Calgary 25 years ago.
Raccoons are hard to spot because they are nocturnal, but this one was captured on camera in Springbank, just west of Calgary. (Tim Robertson)

Raccoons might be common in many Canadian cities, but they are rarely spotted in Calgary.

Despite the claim by some residents that Calgary does not have raccoons, wildlife zoologist Ken Cheek says the masked mammal moved into Calgary about 25 years ago.

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"They were first getting sightings… down in the sort of Priddis area and then all of a sudden they were all down the communities of Fish Creek," he said. "They are pretty much city-wide now."

Raccoons are nocturnal so Cheek said they don't get spotted very often during the day.

Spotted west of Calgary

Susanne Tarrant was searching at night for her cat in Redwood Meadows, west of the city, when she spotted a large dark shape moving outside. 

"As soon as he looked up it sort of dawned on me it wasn't our big outdoor cat in the dark. I flipped the light on and sure enough, it was a great big raccoon."

But raccoons are comfortable in the city too. One family in the Calgary neighbourhood of Evergreen came home from a long vacation and discovered a family of raccoons in their attic, Cheek said.

Raccoons can enter a house through many small openings including chimneys. Cheek says if you discover raccoons in your home it is a good idea to call in a professional. 

Raccoons can be aggressive when protecting their young and can sometimes attack dogs or cats, he said. The feces should also be avoided as it can contain raccoon roundworm eggs which can be fatal if ingested.

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