If you haven’t yet seen images of raccoons posted on the internet with the caption “trash panda” then you probably are staying well clear of Reddit and Instagram.
In 2014, Redditor u/CarlPeligro commented on a photograph of a raccoon, “Raccoons = trash pandas,” and the phrase was born. Ever since, images of raccoons are being posted on sites like Reddit, Imgur, and Instagram, and they’re all tagged as “trash pandas.”
While Cute, Raccoons Can Damage Your Home
Whether they are on Reddit or Instagram, trash pandas in the photos people post are typically adorable, maybe mischievous, and it might seem like the sort of animal you’d love to have hanging around your house. And in some situations, people and raccoons can live in proximity without any issues. But raccoons are pests, and before you become too enamored with the idea of posting your own photos, you should consider what a trash panda could do to your home.
Raccoons will make your home their home. If they can get inside your attic or your walls, they’ll be glad to take up residence without paying rent. They’ll live in your chimney or in vents, they’ll den inside your crawl space or under a porch, or any other large enough space they can get to inside or outside of your home.
When they make their home in your home, they don’t do it gently. Raccoons can tear up shingles on your roof and fascia board and can cause serious damage to your home.
They eat everything from birds to insects, eggs to frogs or rabbits, and they’ll also get into your vegetable garden. If they cannot find any of their favorite meals naturally, they’ll go digging through your trash can to see what’s on the menu.
They do not clean up after themselves. Whatever they drag out of the trash can and don’t eat, they’ll leave sitting around.
Parasites and Disease
Raccoon urine and feces also contain parasites and disease – some of which is airborne. So if posting adorable pictures of trash pandas on Instagram is so important to you that you tolerate your new tenant, be aware that they can cause you to get salmonella, roundworm, leptospirosis or any number of other diseases.
While they may be cute on social media, you’ll probably find that trash pandas really are pests. If you have one around your home, you should consider contacting a pest removal specialist.