Raccoons are Taking Over Germany & Europe!

It was a typical day for a retired man in Harleshausen- a suburb near the German City of Kassel. 

He was going about his day tending to some housework, when suddenly a masked creature jumped out of nowhere and bit his hand. 

The creature wouldn’t let go, and he tried to shake it off. When he finally managed to punch the creature away, it rushed back and bit his foot. 

The whole encounter lasted no longer than a minute, but the fight felt like an hour. 

He wobbled off quickly, bleeding from his wounds, to get some help with this strange creature he was not expecting. 

Note: our video version of this post is filled with incredible footage, which you can watch right HERE

You can also download the audio-only podcast by pressing the download button above. 

Raccoons are Taking Over Germany 

What this unlucky German man fought was a raccoon - to him it was unfamiliar, scary, foreign. 

To Americans, raccoons are a daily occurence. They’re native to our area, and something that most people have seen. 

Raccoons are native to North America. They don’t belong in Germany. Yet, out of nowhere, it seems that raccoons are taking over Germany. 

What is going on here? 

The Story of Raccoons Taking Over Europe 

In the 1920’s, raccoons were transported to Germany for fur & pelt farming. There weren’t many of them- they were expensive to transport, and many people hadn’t seen them before. 

A couple were released into the wild for hunting. During World War II, a bomb opened up a raccoon farm, releasing a couple dozen more into the wild. Over the decades, it’s likely that others were released or escaped- but not many. 

What started as no more than a couple dozen raccoons in the wild would soon grow into an exponential problem in not just Germany, but Europe as a whole. 

Raccoons had been jaded & trained in American cities for hundreds of years prior to arriving in Europe. 

Studies have proven that these “urban raccoons” are significantly more intelligent than their wild counterparts. 

Urban raccoons are significantly smarter than cats & dogs, and nearly as smart as young apes. 

They have an excellent capacity to remember where food is located, navigate complex city structures, open things, climb things, and perform other impressive feats. 

Their intelligence, ability to open & climb things, and natural curiosity for their world made them the perfect invasive species to take over Europe. 

Not even 100 years after these first few raccoons escaped in Europe, biologists estimate that there are almost (or at) 1 million raccoons in Germany alone! 

Europeans were unprepared for raccoons to take over their cities. Raccoons are now infesting many urban structures, exploiting small holes for their gain, and setting up homes in their homes. 

Raccoons have also spread to other countries. The UK for example is also experiencing a bad raccoon problem. 

Europe’s Response to Raccoons

The European Union & Germany predict only negative effects of raccoons spreading over Europe. For this reason, they are highly encouraging the termination of raccoons across Europe. 

It is not only legal, but encouraged, to eliminate raccoons with chocolate-bait death traps, as well as use weapons (yes, shooting) to eliminate raccoons. 

However, this response has not been met with encouragement by many German citizens. 

Many support the protection of raccoons, and believe that they aren’t as big of a threat to biodiversity & urban structures as the EU fears. 

Many people believe it’s unethical to eliminate raccoons with such intensity! 

Regardless of your stance on the subject, it seems that raccoons will stay in Europe. With numbers now reaching millions across Europe, it is unlikely that any large-scale human effort will fully be able to curb the negative effects + continued spread of raccoons across Europe. 

Many regions in Europe are currently under-equipped to deal with the explosion of raccoon infestations, among other pests that have quickly taken over and learned to use their urban cities for benefit. 

Effects of Raccoons in Europe

Raccoons among other pests have primarily negative effects in Europe, and some of the consequences can be quite serious. 

Raccoons are notorious for biting, ripping apart, chewing, and otherwise damaging urban structures. 

Europe’s beautiful cities, cathedrals, buildings, and houses are at risk when it comes to raccoons. They show no discrimination when it comes to which homes they like to infest, and many of these older buildings have weaknesses that allow raccoons to find secret holes & rooms where they can live. 

Once raccoons infest the building, they do not “go to the bathroom.” Their waste, including when they pass away, will decay into the building, and also decay into the air. 

This reduction in air & structural quality is dangerous to human health. 

Raccoons can directly attack humans as well, and in many cases spread rabies. 

About 59,000 people die every year from rabies, and rabies is super dangerous: it has a 99.9% fatality rate. An estimated 1-2 dozen people have survived rabies- at most. 

Once symptoms of rabies start to appear, it’s too late for any treatment. You’re dead. 

This is why it’s super important that you go to a hospital IMMEDIATELY if bit by a wild animal, or especially raccoons. 

There are additional negative effects of raccoons in Europe, but the main points are that it negatively affects people’s health, damages buildings, and at worst can spread deadly diseases & parasites. 

Do You Have Raccoons? 

Many European regions are under equipped and unprepared for the sudden expansion and infestation of raccoons. 

We at Wildlife x Team International have extensive experience in wildlife & pest control, with locations all across the United States (and expanding fast!). 

Please call us at 1-855-WILDLIFE or visit www.wildlifexteam.com if you think you have a wildlife or pest problem. 

What we can do is safely & ethically remove the animal, restore the damage done, and then safely return the animal to the wild, where it won’t be able to infest your home ever again! 

Thanks for reading! 

-Wildlife x Team International 


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