Using trail cameras to survey the area, we are hoping to get a snapshot of some of the predators that frequent the greenway. In one particular study, we set up fake bird nests on the ground at our different plots. Each “nest” had a camera aimed at it to survey potential nest predators. Potential robbers included gray foxes, red foxes, squirrels, opossums, and raccoons. Deer even stopped to look at the nest. However, it was the raccoon that could be found in 61% of the pictures.
The prominence of raccoons in our study could be due to the fact that this is their prime mating time. Mating season for raccoons falls generally anytime between January and June. The gestation period for a raccoon is roughly 65 days, and average 3-5 baby racoons per pregnancy. The females typically raise their young alone in the den. Since we are currently in the middle of their mating season, the high numbers of raccoons could be attributed to the females scavenging for food for their young, and of course, for themselves.
The high numbers we are seeing could also be because racoons have the ability to stay in their den for up to a month without eating. With this past winter being cold and the temperatures currently rising, the raccoons could possibly be at the point where it is time for them to start scavenging again.