These furry masked bandits probably hang out in your neighborhood—they’re amazing survivors and can thrive in all sorts of habitats.

There’s no need to fear them. Their boldness and scavenging can sometimes annoy people, but there are smart, kind ways to live peacefully with raccoons nearby.

Raccoon babies huddled together in their tree home
Raccoons are still killed for their fur, but more often, neighborhood raccoons are hurt or killed just because people see them as a nuisance.

 It doesn’t have to be this way. These beautiful animals can be fun to watch, but keep them at a distance. The best way to protect your family and home—and the raccoons too—is to make sure you’re not accidentally tempting them with unsecured trash or other invitations.

Did you know?

Raccoons like to wash their food before they eat it, with paws that look a lot like human hands.

By taking a stand against the fur industry in refusing to purchase its products, you’ll encourage designers to stop using fur, retailers to stop selling it and style writers to stop touting it as fashionable.

Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals