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RACCOONS RAISE HAVOC ALONG WASATCH FRONT

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Raccoons raised havoc for many homeowners along the Wasatch Front in June. Among the cute but pesky critters' favorite tricks are nesting in chimneys and harassing family pets and eating their food.

"We average five raccoon complaint calls per day," said Scott White, an urban wildlife specialist with the Division of Wildlife Resources."Most of the problems have been reported from housing areas near streams and gullies. The Sugar House, Avenues and Emigration Canyon areas in Salt Lake City have been hardest hit," White said.

To guard against unwanted nocturnal visits by raccoons, White said, homeowners should cap their chimneys and keep pets and pet food indoors at night.

Raccoon populations have increased dramatically in recent years. Although they are not native to Utah, the animals have thrived in the Utah climate and now live throughout the state.

They are commonly found along canyon streams and in farming areas. White said people should not try to tame and keep a raccoon as a pet but should consider it a wild animal - no matter how cuddly or cute it may appear.