Love them or hate them, there is not any denying that raccoons are smart and curious problem solvers.
Always foraging, exploring, and climbing with their incredibly dexterous paws, these cute, masked mammals play each villain and hero in folklore stories around the globe.
More practically, raccoons have been known to interrupt into attics, trash cans, and feed livestock in the hunt for their next meal or shelter to boost their young.
Close encounters with humans are extremely common, and that is why we’d like to know: are raccoons dangerous?
No, raccoons are generally not dangerous to humans, although they’ll deliver a nasty bite and may sometimes carry the rabies virus.
Overall, you’ll be wanting to keep away from wild raccoons, regardless of how much they beg for food with those big, candid brown eyes.
Close the pet food, resist their charm and keep your distance should you’re smart. You can learn more about raccoon behavior and their interactions with humans in this text.
Understanding raccoon behavior
Raccoons are nocturnal animals, meaning they’re most energetic at night. They are also highly curious and intelligent creatures known to unravel complex problems in the hunt for food and shelter.
This has led to a couple of homeowner or farmer discovering a previously secured food container or chicken coop that had been broken into in probably the most ingenious way.
Raccoon-proof snaps, locks and hooks are a must if you desire to keep these devious creatures at bay!
Commonly seen in urban and suburban areas, raccoons travel several miles in the hunt for food or a mate, meaning they could live in or near human-populated areas, either full-time or part-time.
They are excellent swimmers and climbers, giving them unprecedented access to nesting sites and food that other animals may not have the option to achieve.
Unfortunately, this also implies that they often find their way into fruit trees, attics, chimneys, roof vents and other small spaces we would reasonably not allow them to in!
Their high intelligence means they’re quick to adapt to most means to scare them away, and plenty of even directly associate humans with food, approaching humans in hopes of getting a handout.
In the wild, raccoons normally live in forests near streams, lakes, or other bodies of water where they’ll find loads of food, so that you’re likely to search out them in such places throughout North America.
Are raccoons aggressive towards humans?
No, although they’ll change into aggressive if cornered, trapped or if their young are directly threatened.
Some raccoons which have change into accustomed to the presence of individuals and receiving handouts may also change into mean in the event that they are denied food.
Have raccoons ever attacked humans?
Yes. Documented raccoon attacks have happened, but they’re extremely rare and typically only occur when the animal is offended or feeling directly in a roundabout way.
Raccoons prefer to retreat or flee from a fight at any time when they’ll, but like all wild animals, they might be unpredictable and will attack when least expected. We’ll talk more in regards to the problem of rabies in a moment.
How do raccoons attack?
Raccoons have just one type of attack that’s relevant to humans: biting. Like most omnivorous mammals, raccoons have sharp fangs for pricking and holding prey, and long, sharp incisors for slicing.
Their molars are wide and flat, perfect for grinding fruit, nuts and meat. All these teeth mix into a strong bite that may inflict serious damage on the human body if the animal is forced to defend itself.
Raccoons are also known for his or her very dexterous forelegs, more like small hands, and while they’ve claws, they’re small, and the relative lack of strength of a raccoon means they’ll do little greater than scratch a human.
What causes raccoon aggression?
Raccoon aggression normally occurs for certainly one of several reasons.
First, as we’ve got already mentioned, a cornered or trapped raccoon will change into aggressive whether it is refused to flee.
Secondly, a mother raccoon will aggressively defend her cubs if she feels they’re at risk and can’t get them out of the den fast enough.
Third, the results of the rabies virus could cause extreme and strange aggression in animals, and although that is rare in raccoons.
Finally, the small percentage of raccoons which have lost their fear of humans (especially people who depend on humans for food) may naturally be more aggressive than others, and these individuals usually tend to attack humans when denied food. Don’t feed wild raccoons!
Do raccoons eat people?
No. A raccoon is not going to attack you within the hope of killing and eating you. However, these omnivores are highly opportunistic, and it is probably going that a raccoon would nibble on fresh human flesh for food.
Are raccoons territorial?
Not towards humans, but all raccoons might be expected to vigorously defend their den, especially if there are cubs inside.
This is another excuse why you must never try and remove a raccoon from an attic or other constructing yourself, because the mother will most certainly be inside with the cubs and will attack to guard them.
How strong is a raccoon?
Raccoons are surprisingly strong for his or her size and may often be seen climbing trees and partitions quickly, and even dangling from branches after losing their grip.
Of course, they will not be strong in comparison with a human, but their jaws have considerable strength and might be difficult to physically manipulate, especially with larger adult specimens.
Don’t underestimate them should you are forced to face one!
What do you have to do should you see a raccoon?
If you see a raccoon, you needn’t do anything unless it’s breaking into the bin or attempting to climb your home. Both cases mean they usually tend to be around you.
If you have got this problem with raccoons, contact your local animal control or wildlife rehabilitation agency. You can attempt to scare them away by making noise and shining a flashlight at them, but watch out, they’ll probably come back.
If you see a raccoon within the wild and it doesn’t seem sick or injured, it is best to depart it alone.
These animals are generally shy and solitary and is not going to approach humans unless they’re already accustomed to human presence or handouts.
Other than in these cases, or should you know you might be disturbing a den or mother with cubs, you ought to be very careful of any wild raccoon that comes near you, especially in the course of the day. It can have rabies!
What do you have to do should you are attacked by a raccoon?
The best plan of action within the event of a raccoon attack is to retreat from the world as quickly as possible.
Raccoons will rarely pursue once they repel an attacker. If that is difficult as a result of limited space (equivalent to an attic) or other circumstances, you must fight back.
Try using a pole, stick or other object as a shield to maintain the raccoon at bay and avoid being bitten.
If you have to do away with a raccoon, stomps and hard punches will normally suffice. They are rarely larger than a small or medium-sized dog, and other than their teeth, they’ve little defense.
If you might be bitten by a raccoon, it’s imperative that you just get tested for rabies immediately! See the following section.
Do raccoons carry diseases that humans can catch?
Raccoons can carry several nasty diseases and parasites that might be transmitted to humans, probably the most notable of which is rabies.
Although the raccoon is never infected with rabies, it does occur, and should you are bitten by a rabid animal, the implications might be fatal.
Raccoons may or may not show signs of rage, with fearlessness towards humans, heightened aggression, odd vocalizations, poor general health, and a sickly or depressed appearance being probably the most common signs.
It is value noting that some raccoons infected with rabies simply retreat to a burrow or other hiding place.
Other diseases carried by raccoons include trichinosis, giardiasis, tularemia, and tetanus.
None is as serious as rabies, but all might be contracted by individuals who come into contact with infected raccoons or their droppings.
You may even must worry in regards to the usual assortment of fleas, ticks and mites together with all of the associated diseases they could cause.