The North American carnivore has established itself in large numbers in Germany and Central Europe. A dead raccoon found in Falsterbo in Skåne causes concern in Sweden. In Göteborg and Denmark, they have been observed. Also in 2011 Satu Koski found a raccoon on his farm in Åseral in southern Norway. The trend worries the Naturvernforbundet (Friends of the Earth Norway).
– It is a carnivore. It preys on young birds, eggs, fish and is almost omnivorous. It may upset the balance of nature very brutally, information advisor Christian Børs Lind says to NRK.
Børs Lind fears raccons can adapt to Norwegian climate well, as they dominantly live in North America. Species that are not native to an ecosystem tend to be dominant, he says raccoons, in the same way as brown snail, can be very numerous and almost impossible to get rid of when they take hold.
The original habitats of the raccoon are deciduous and mixed forests, but due to their adaptability they have extended their range to mountainous areas, coastal marshes, and urban areas, where some homeowners consider them to be pests. As a result of escapes and deliberate introductions in the mid-20th century, raccoons are now also distributed across the European mainland, the Caucasus region and Japan.
Raccoons can carry rabies, a lethal disease caused by the neurotropic rabies virus carried in the saliva and transmitted by bites.