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Have raccoons infiltrated Brussels?
16:57 30/01/2023

At the beginning of December, a Woluwe Saint-Pierre resident discovered that her bird feeder had been broken into and emptied. Wondering who could be responsible for such an act, she set up a camera. It turned out that the perpetrator was none other than a raccoon, reports RTBF.

The question now is, are these little thieves about to invade the city? The answer is most likely not, but it still pays to keep an eye on the little creatures.

At first glance, a raccoon looks rather cute. However, it’s black face mask, human looking hands and striped bushy tail don’t tell the whole story. This species, in fact, carries different types of bacteria and diseases, that are transmissible to humans.

Originally, this invasive species comes from North America. It was brought over to Europe during the 1930s, and its numbers then started to multiply in Germany and Luxembourg. Now it’s believed there are tens of thousands in the Walloon region.

The problem that this causes is an unbalanced ecosystem. Predators that keep the North American population at bay, such as snakes, owls and hawks, are not sufficiently present in Belgium. As a result, a large number of raccoons are helping themselves to crops and bird feeders, and killing birds, among other nuisances. Fortunately, though, they’ve largely remained outside of Brussels… until now.

In July, a young adult was captured in Sonian Forest. As for the one caught on camera in Woluwe, Brussels Environment gave a Flemish company the task of capturing it. The original idea was to quarantine it and then hand it over to a zoo. However, things didn’t go as planned as the raccoon never returned to the scene of the crime.

According to an expert, there were two reasons for this: “Either it fled back to the forest due to the resident putting away her birdfeeder, or it died. It’s important to remember that these wild animals don’t survive long in the city, where they are victims of traffic, among other things.”

However, if you want to guarantee some winter nourishment for birds in your garden, it might be best to place your feeder out of the reach of raccoons.



Written by Louis Kernoa-Pascoe