Raccoons are highly curious and intelligent animals. As they have learned to live among humans, the mammals have become a common Calgary nuisance. Raccoons have come to equate people with food. They often turn over trash cans and climb into dumpsters in search of scraps. The animals are also fond of stealing pet food or bird seed. When desperate and hungry, they have been known to enter enclosed porches by tearing the screen. Female raccoons gain access into homes by tearing a hole in a roof or by climbing into chimneys. They might also make their home in outbuildings on a property. These locations provide warm, safe environments for raising young. Invading raccoons are suspected when home and property owners hear the noises created by the female and her offspring. The animals are particularly destructive on the interior of homes or buildings when accumulating insulation and similar materials for nests. Ponds and swimming pools are attractive for food, water or a leisurely bath. The mess raccoons leave behind indoors and out includes fecal matter. Hazards: Raccoons are known to carry rabies, leptospirosis and canine distemper. The fecal material commonly contains roundworms. Roundworm eggs are easily ingested by people and pets after making physical contact. Effective and safe removal requires contacting a professional pest control specialist.