Woodland, forest, urban areas, agricultural lands.
The raccoon is a medium-sized carnivore originating from North America with a distinctive black eye mask and a ringed bushy tail.
Origin and Worldwide Distribution:
This species originates from North America. It was brought into Europe in the mid-20th century for the zoo, pet and fur trades and has since escaped into the wild.
It is now present in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. Raccoons can survive in a wide range of habitats.
Potential or Known Impacts:
They are omnivorous and opportunistic, eating eggs, chicks and adult birds, especially waterfowl. Their impact on biodiversity can be severe, especially in Natura 2000 wetlands.
They are also known to damage fruit trees, vineyards and chicken farms and they carry important diseases and parasites, such as rabies, roundworms and toxoplasmosis.
How did it/could it get here?
It arrived here through fur farms, zoos and private ownership, before escaping into the wild
If already present in Ireland where?
Present in Ireland
Methods for Prevention:
A sales ban, the phasing out from zoos, collections or any other ownership, a rapid eradication of any newly emerging populations, and the management of established populations should prevent the species from invading the rest of the EU.
Current Legislative Position (Listed on 03 August 2016)
This species must not intentionally be brought into the Union; kept; bred; transported to, from or within the United Kingdom, unless for the transportation to facilities in the context of eradication; placed on the market; used or exchanged; permitted to reproduce, grown or cultivated; or released into the environment.
For further queries, you can contact the Non Native Invasive Species Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558.