Brooklyn Boro

Crafty masked bandits invade Brooklyn

Raccoons Continue to Make Appearances in the Borough

August 26, 2016 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
While a raccoon’s natural habitat is in the woods and forests, their adaptability has allowed them to migrate to urban areas. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
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Raccoons just can’t seem to stay away from their favorite neighborhoods in Brooklyn.  On Tuesday, a crafty critter tried to elude capture by two NYPD officers in Flatbush. However, the intruder got stuck in a store’s retractable metal door as a lunchtime crowd gathered to watch it try to outwit the police.  The next day, the dodger was found hiding in a nearby tree.

Last week’s incident was not much of a surprise; the often-unwelcome visitors have been spotted in various parts of the borough, from Bay Ridge to Williamsburg.

In January, a woman reported a male raccoon was lurking in her yard in Park Slope. According to The New York Times, the woman who called in to report the raccoon also stated that she had first called a trapper in August after finding a dozen raccoons in her yard.  She said the raccoons were beating up her cat and trashing her grapevine. The Times quoted her saying, “It was like a frat party. They were insane.”

The Times also reported that “the city abounds in raccoons.” While their precise numbers are not known, raccoons’ encounters with people seem to have increased; trappers are getting more and more requests to remove the animals.

While a raccoon’s natural habitat is the woods and forests, their adaptability has allowed them to migrate to mountainous and coastal regions and to urban areas where homeowners are less than thrilled to find the critters scavenging around their property.

As a result, raccoons are lured into traps, as city law requires that they must be caught and euthanized in a humane fashion. They are termed “nuisance wildlife,” and a licensed city trapper must be called to take them away.  

However, according to the Times, the trappers usually free the raccoons in different areas in Brooklyn, including Floyd Bennett Field and Prospect Park.

Other neighborhoods in the borough that have had run-ins with the trespassers are Crown Heights, where raccoons mauled a chicken and have fought with cats; Sunset Park, where residents discovered a family of raccoons living in an unused chimney; Carroll Gardens, where at least two raccoon families moved onto a block; and Boerum Hill, where the animals have crashed block parties.  

While raccoons can peacefully coexist with people, they can sometimes be dangerous when provoked. They may also carry diseases such as rabies, so they should not be approached when sighted.

In a Brooklyn Eagle article from 2014, it was reported that a rabid raccoon was found on a block in Bensonhurst, a heavily residential area filled mostly with one- and two-family houses.

In another Eagle report from 2012, a Park Slope homeowner recalled opening her kitchen drawer only to find a raccoon staring back at her.

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