Skip to Content

What To Do If You Encounter A Raccoon


Encountering a raccoon can be a surprising and even intimidating experience for many people. These masked bandits are known for their cleverness and adaptability, often finding their way into urban and suburban areas in search of food and shelter. While raccoons are generally not aggressive towards humans, it is important to know how to handle the situation if you come across one. In this article, we will explore what to do if you encounter a raccoon, as well as some interesting trends, common concerns, and expert advice related to the topic.

What To Do If You Encounter A Raccoon:

1. Stay Calm: If you see a raccoon in your yard or while out for a walk, the most important thing to do is stay calm. Raccoons are curious animals and are likely just passing through. Avoid sudden movements or loud noises, as this may startle the raccoon.

2. Give Them Space: Raccoons are wild animals and should be treated with caution. If you encounter a raccoon, give them plenty of space to move away on their own. Do not try to approach or corner the raccoon, as this may cause them to feel threatened and act defensively.

3. Secure Your Trash: Raccoons are notorious scavengers and are attracted to areas with easily accessible food sources. To deter raccoons from coming onto your property, make sure to secure your trash cans with tight-fitting lids and avoid leaving pet food outside.

4. Use Deterrents: If you have a persistent raccoon problem, consider using deterrents such as motion-activated lights or sprinklers to discourage them from coming onto your property. You can also try placing ammonia-soaked rags or commercial repellents near potential entry points to deter raccoons.

5. Contact a Professional: If you have a raccoon nesting in your attic or causing damage to your property, it is best to contact a professional wildlife removal service. Attempting to remove a raccoon on your own can be dangerous and may result in injury to yourself or the animal.

6. Report Aggressive Behavior: While raccoons are generally not aggressive towards humans, they may become defensive if they feel threatened. If you encounter a raccoon that is displaying aggressive behavior, such as hissing, growling, or lunging, contact animal control or a wildlife rescue organization for assistance.

7. Be Mindful of Rabies: Raccoons are one of the primary carriers of rabies in North America. If you come into contact with a raccoon and suspect it may be rabid, do not attempt to handle the animal yourself. Contact animal control immediately to report the incident and seek medical attention if necessary.

Interesting Trends:

1. Urban Encounters: With urban sprawl encroaching on natural habitats, raccoons are increasingly being seen in urban and suburban areas. These adaptable animals have learned to thrive in human environments, finding food and shelter in garbage cans, attics, and crawl spaces.

2. Social Media Sensation: Raccoons have become social media stars in recent years, with videos and photos of their antics going viral online. From stealing food to playing with household pets, raccoons have captured the hearts of many internet users.

3. DIY Deterrents: As raccoon populations continue to grow in urban areas, DIY deterrents have become a popular trend among homeowners. From homemade chili powder sprays to motion-activated sprinklers, people are getting creative in their efforts to keep raccoons away from their property.

4. Eco-Friendly Solutions: In response to concerns about the environmental impact of traditional pest control methods, eco-friendly solutions for raccoon removal have gained popularity. From live trapping and relocation to natural repellents, homeowners are seeking out sustainable options for managing raccoon problems.

5. Raccoon-Proofing: As raccoons become more brazen in their search for food, homeowners are investing in raccoon-proofing measures to protect their property. This includes securing trash cans, sealing off potential entry points, and installing barriers to prevent raccoons from accessing vulnerable areas.

6. Raccoon Rehabilitation: Wildlife rehabilitation centers have seen an increase in the number of injured or orphaned raccoons being brought in for care. These centers play a vital role in rehabilitating raccoons and releasing them back into the wild once they are healthy and able to fend for themselves.

7. Community Education: With the rise in raccoon encounters in urban areas, community education programs have sprung up to teach residents how to coexist with these clever critters. From workshops on wildlife-proofing homes to educational outreach events, communities are coming together to find peaceful solutions to raccoon conflicts.

Expert Advice:

“Avoid feeding raccoons, as this can lead to habituation and increase the likelihood of conflicts between humans and wildlife. It is best to appreciate raccoons from a distance and not encourage them to become dependent on human food sources.” – Wildlife Biologist

“Raccoons are opportunistic feeders and will take advantage of any food source they can find. To prevent raccoons from coming onto your property, make sure to clean up any spilled food, secure your trash cans, and avoid leaving pet food outside unattended.” – Pest Control Specialist

“If you encounter a raccoon in your attic or crawl space, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Raccoons can be aggressive when cornered and may carry diseases such as rabies. Contact a professional wildlife removal service to safely and humanely remove the animal from your property.” – Wildlife Rehabilitator

“Be mindful of the impact of your actions on wildlife. Raccoons are important members of the ecosystem and play a valuable role in controlling insect populations. By learning to coexist with raccoons and other wildlife, we can create a more harmonious environment for all species.” – Environmental Scientist

Common Concerns and Answers:

1. Are raccoons dangerous to humans? While raccoons are not aggressive towards humans, they may become defensive if they feel threatened. It is best to give raccoons space and avoid approaching or cornering them.

2. Do raccoons carry diseases? Raccoons are known carriers of diseases such as rabies and roundworm. It is important to avoid contact with raccoons and seek medical attention if you suspect you have been exposed to a rabid animal.

3. How can I prevent raccoons from coming onto my property? To deter raccoons, secure your trash cans, clean up any spilled food, and avoid leaving pet food outside unattended. Using deterrents such as motion-activated lights or sprinklers can also help keep raccoons away.

4. What should I do if I find a raccoon nesting in my attic or crawl space? Contact a professional wildlife removal service to safely and humanely remove the raccoon from your property. Attempting to remove a raccoon on your own can be dangerous and may result in injury to yourself or the animal.

5. Are there humane ways to deal with raccoons? Yes, there are humane ways to deter raccoons from coming onto your property, such as using natural repellents or installing barriers to prevent access to vulnerable areas. Live trapping and relocation can also be effective in removing raccoons from your property.

6. Can raccoons cause damage to my property? Raccoons are known for their destructive behavior, such as tearing up shingles, chewing through wiring, and creating messes in attics and crawl spaces. It is important to address raccoon issues promptly to prevent further damage.

7. Should I be concerned about raccoons in my neighborhood? While raccoons are generally not a threat to humans, they can become a nuisance if they are attracted to food sources on your property. Taking steps to deter raccoons and wildlife-proof your home can help prevent conflicts with these clever critters.

8. How can I tell if a raccoon is rabid? Signs of rabies in raccoons include disorientation, aggression, drooling, and paralysis. If you encounter a raccoon that is displaying unusual behavior, such as stumbling or acting aggressively, contact animal control immediately.

9. Are there laws protecting raccoons in urban areas? Raccoons are considered a protected species in many states and it is illegal to harm or kill them without a permit. If you are experiencing issues with raccoons on your property, contact your local wildlife agency for guidance on humane removal options.

10. Can raccoons be relocated to another area? In some cases, raccoons can be safely trapped and relocated to a more suitable habitat. However, it is important to follow local regulations and guidelines for trapping and relocating wildlife to ensure their welfare and survival.

11. How do raccoons communicate with each other? Raccoons use a variety of vocalizations, body language, and scents to communicate with each other. Hissing, growling, purring, and chirping are common vocalizations used by raccoons to convey messages to other members of their social group.

12. Are raccoons social animals? Raccoons are solitary animals by nature, but they may form loose social groups called “nursery colonies” during the breeding season. Female raccoons will raise their young together in these groups before the young are old enough to venture out on their own.

13. What do raccoons eat? Raccoons are omnivorous and will eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, nuts, insects, small mammals, and even carrion. They are opportunistic feeders and will take advantage of any available food source in their environment.

14. How can I discourage raccoons from coming onto my property? To discourage raccoons, make sure to eliminate food sources such as unsecured trash cans, fallen fruit, and pet food left outside. Using deterrents such as motion-activated lights or sprinklers can also help keep raccoons away from your property.

15. What should I do if I find a baby raccoon? If you find a baby raccoon that appears to be orphaned or injured, it is best to contact a wildlife rehabilitation center for assistance. Do not attempt to care for the baby raccoon yourself, as they require specialized care to survive and thrive in the wild.

In conclusion, encountering a raccoon can be a memorable experience, but it is important to know how to handle the situation safely and responsibly. By staying calm, giving raccoons space, securing your property, and seeking professional help when needed, you can coexist peacefully with these clever critters. Remember to respect raccoons as wild animals and appreciate their role in the ecosystem. With a little knowledge and preparation, you can navigate raccoon encounters with confidence and compassion.