• Germany's news in English
 

Rascal raccoons wreak havoc in suburbia

Published: 27 Oct 2012 18:25 GMT+02:00

Sociable, fearless, adaptable and with a sweet tooth: hordes of rascal raccoons are entering the German suburbs in search of food, conservationists said on Saturday.

Introduced to Germany in Hesse in the 1930s, the non-native animal rapidly settled in, made itself at home and is now regularly spotted up and down the country.

An estimated 500,000 of the vexing vermin are currently thought to be living in Germany - 400 raccoon families are thought to be living in Berlin alone - and with city populations growing at an alarming rate, they could soon become a fixed feature of the urban landscape.

“We'll have to reckon with more raccoons in towns in future,” said Magnus Wessel, head of the conservation department at Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND).

Believed to seek out human dwellings both for safety from predators and for the abundant food, the omnivores have even been known to enter houses in search of a quick snack.

One animal, no longer content to be hand fed at the front door, burst into a living room in Trippstadt near Kaiserslautern. “The raccoon came through the cat flap and ate the crisps on the living room table,” said Günther Klein of the Rhineland-Palatinate hunting association.

In a separate incident, a couple in Spessart, Hesse, got a nasty shock when they came home from holiday to find a raccoon relaxing on their sofa – surrounded by carnage.

"He had [ripped up] all the upholstery and laid waste to the house,” said Klaus Röther. The animal is thought to have come down the chimney, he added.

Raccoons have also been raiding German cornfields and orchards, according to the report. Famous for their sweet tooth, they are particularly partial to plums, apples and cherries.

Some hunters even put down chocolates to attract and catch the pests, said Bernd Moeller, of the Brandenburg hunting association.

But although hunters are fighting to keep populations under control, they admit the raccoons are here for good.

“The raccoon has established itself in Germany, it has to be accepted,” said Daniel Hoffmann of the German Hunting Federation (DJV).

DAPD/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

20:26 October 27, 2012 by marimay
We have racoons in suburban and urban areas here in CA and they are not a problem. Just adorable. We have squirrels as well, but we don't try to kill off all living things either... If a raccoon can get into your house, somethings wrong with your house.
20:34 October 27, 2012 by raandy
We have racoons where I lived also. You have to secure your trash, and your bird feeder is most likely going to be trashed.They get into fights and make a very loud screeching sound, unnerving. They can in urban areas be very destructive.
08:20 October 28, 2012 by Enough
Nothing like having a full grown coon jump out at you from a garbage can. I can tell you, from personnel expierence it was not fun and I'm glad I was younger at the time and didn't have a heart attack. Coons are also vectors for rabies. They will break into houses and squeze into the smallest of holes to make a den. Their urine is horrible and much worse than a spraying cat. Speaking of cats...that's one of their favorite ways of breaking into a house...the cat door.
08:46 October 28, 2012 by pjnt
Good luck with the raccoon problem. They are a serious predator with an uncanny sense of survival. They are fearless and have no problem going, doing and eating anywhere, anything, anytime. They can be very dangerous too.

Yes they are cute. But in a theatrical sense to me. Wolf in sheeps clothing!
23:32 November 2, 2012 by TLC
I had no idea that there was a raccoon problem in Germany and that they were actually introduced to the country in the 1930's.

The only one I ever saw was in the Berlin Zoo in 2001! lol
18:46 November 3, 2012 by Supermog
Whose bright idea was it to introduce the raccoon to Germany? Probably related to the idiot who brought the North American Tree Rat to the UK, and the rabbit and bramble to Australia, not to mention the starling to the USA. Environmental sabotage on a massive scale.
13:13 November 10, 2012 by ErnestPayne
Try getting a species into your country for scientific research. Impossible. Getting a species into a country as a pet? Easily done. Witness the problem with pythons, walking catfish, etc., in Florida.
16:53 November 22, 2012 by LaserGuy
I shoot every stinking raccoon that shows up in one of my traps. They are incredibly destructive, and carry a parasite in their feces that will 'lay you out'. They will rip a hole in the side of your house to gain entrance, and continue to rip out insulation until you get rid of them. Anyone that "hand feeds" these vermin at the door is a idiot, just asking for trouble. If you can't shoot them, then a bow and arrow works quite well, even a knife on a long stick used as a spear. Kill them off now, or face the destructive consequences. Raccoons are NOT the fun little creatures depicted in Disney films. In a built up area, the only good raccoon is a dead raccoon
Today's headlines
July asylum applications hit 'all-time record'
An asylum seeker reception centre in Trier. Photo: DPA

July asylum applications hit 'all-time record'

More people applied for asylum in Germany in July than in any previous month on record, the Ministry for Immigration and Refugees announced on Friday. READ  

This Week in History
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after WWII
Germans fleeing from eastern Europe after the Second World War. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The 1,000s of Germans massacred after WWII

Seventy years ago on Friday, a munitions depot exploded in the Czechoslovakian town of Ústí nad Labem. For the thousands of Sudeten Germans who lived in the town, the event was a death sentence. READ  

Minister seeks to rid laws of 'Nazi language'
In the center, Nazi lawyer Roland Freisler, who wrote laws that are partially still in existence today. Photo: German Federal Archive / Wikimedia Commons.

Minister seeks to rid laws of 'Nazi language'

Germany has made great efforts to purge legal system of remnants of Adolf Hitler's regime, but some laws still bear traces of the Nazi past. The Justice Minister wants to change this. READ  

Treason investigation of Netzpolitik halted
Netzpolitik published documents outlining the internal spy agency BfV's spy programmes and budget. Photo: DPA

Treason investigation of Netzpolitik halted

Update: Federal prosecutors announced on Friday they are suspending investigations of treason against 'digital rights' website Netzpolitik for 'the greater good' of upholding freedom of the press. READ  

Newborn baby found in Munich airport toilets
Munich Airport. Photo: DPA

Newborn baby found in Munich airport toilets

A newborn baby was found in a toilet in Munich airport on Thursday. Police so far have no clue as to who or where the mother is. READ  

Brit arrested in Munich for meth smuggling
Photo: BVZ/Zoll

Brit arrested in Munich for meth smuggling

A 50-year-old British woman is being held in custody in Munich on suspicion of attempting to smuggle two kilos of crystal meth out of Munich airport disguised as sweets. READ  

Start-up helps new Berliners slash red tape
Hate waiting in line at the Bürgeramt? There's a company that lets you pay to get the perfect appointment. Photo: DPA.

Start-up helps new Berliners slash red tape

Why waste time jumping through the hoops of German bureaucracy when you can pay someone else to take the hassle off your hands? A new Berlin company is offering to do just that - and it's got city officials fuming in the process. READ  

Michael Jackson shrine may have to beat it
A fan visits the makeshift Michael Jackson memorial in Munich. Photo: DPA.

Michael Jackson shrine may have to beat it

A memorial set up in Germany by some of Michael Jackson's most ardent fans the day after his sudden 2009 death has come under threat in a strangely emotional turf war. READ  

Ai Weiwei in Germany as UK slammed over visa
Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei arrived at Munich airport on Thursday, greeted by his son and son's mother, filmmaker Wang Fen. Photo: DPA.

Ai Weiwei in Germany as UK slammed over visa

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei arrived in Munich on Thursday on his first overseas trip since he was arrested nearly four years ago, after Britain denied him a six-month visa because he did not declare a supposed "criminal conviction" on his application. READ  

'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Regulations for women's parking spaces differ from state to state across Germany. Photo: JG-NF / Wikimedia Commons.

'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?

Frankfurt Airport is one of many places in Germany to offer women their own 'bigger and nicer' parking areas. Is this sensible practice or plain sexist? READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Society
In North Germany, money sometimes DOES grow on trees
National
Hero mechanics stop Bavaria shooting spree
International
Denmark says that border controls are coming
National
Did hackers take control of German missile battery?
Politics
Munich gives gay pride green light
Business & Money
Berlin rent controls hit prices hard
National
Fighting to breastfeed in public without shame
Society
Ice cream for dogs 'gobbled up in one gulp'
Education
Are hotpants a feminist issue?
Rhineland
Lion cub reunited with mother
National
How the heatwave is cracking Germany's Autobahns
International
Why the French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
Sponsored Article
Crans-Montana: International expat hub
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,212
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd