SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – Left to fend for themselves, four baby raccoons are now being cared for by Project Wildlife. Their mother died from poison likely meant for rodents. It's a death experts say is preventable.
"A member of the public called because she had seen their mother die," Project Wildlife Executive Director Beth Ugoretz said.
The woman told Project Wildlife that the four-month-old raccoons and their mother were living in her attic and on her roof in an undisclosed area of San Diego County.
"It sounds like it might have been poisoning," Ugoretz said.
It left the raccoons on their own.
"They weren't at an age where they could scavenge and feed themselves without help," Ugoretz said.
So Project Wildlife -- a non-profit group that rescues abandoned, injured, or sick wild animals and rehabs them to release back into the wild to survive ---rescued the babies and warns of using poisons to get rid of pests.
"The animal that was poisoned doesn't die immediately and may have time to come to the surface, crawl onto the patio or even out onto a field where another animal preys on it and then is killed by the poison," Ugoretz said.
That can be an owl, fox, hawk or a raccoon.
"Or it could be a family pet," Urgoretz said.
Project Wildlife says using baits or poisons won't get rid of your pest problems.
"One of the challenges is with killing the animals, more come in to fill in where they were. And you really have not solved your problem," Ugoretz said.
One way you can keep pests out of your yard and home is to secure a lid over your garbage container and not to leave pet food outside that attracts wild animals.
If you are going to use a rodenticide, Project Wildlife recommends you use one that is intended for what you are trying to bait, and that it's environmentally friendly.
Some of the footage used in this video report was shot using a GoPro camera.