Most people see raccoons during the late evenings or at night. However, how many times have you seen a raccoon during the day? It happens, but it is not very often! Raccoons are mainly active in the late evening, dusk, dawn, and night.
Many consider them nocturnal animals, but they can also be crepuscular. Although they are solitary animals, they inhabit rural and urban areas and like staying near people. That is mainly because we provide food sources to them and not because they like us!
Now let’s see where and why raccoons tend to go out during the day and some other raccoon-related interesting information!
Where Do Raccoons Live During The Day?
As you already know, raccoons are common in the US and can be found throughout except for the Rocky Mountains and most parts of the Southwest. They also inhabit Canada and range into Mexico and Central America.
Their favorite habitats include dens, ground burrows, hollow trees, and brush piles, and it is not that unusual to find raccoons sleeping in rock crevices. These furbearers prefer wooded areas with nearby water sources, such as rivers or streams.
They can sometimes make a den in a tree cavity and are very good at making dens and shelters, so good that coyotes will often take over their dens.
However, when it comes to urban and suburban areas, you can also find them hiding in backyards, bushes, cans, and sometimes in our chimneys, garages, and attics.
When it comes to their hiding spots, they are opportunistic animals; if they come across a cozy and empty den, they will inhabit it!
Why Do Raccoons Go Out During the Day?
So, as noted, raccoons are nocturnal creatures meaning they are active during the night, and sometimes crepuscular, meaning they are active during the twilight and dawn period.
So, if you see a raccoon during the day, there is a reason behind it! These animals have adapted to urban areas and are aware of the daily traffic.
Considering that we (humans) are most active during the day, they will probably want to avoid us. That is why you often see videos of raccoons going through garbage cans at nighttime rather than during the day.
So, why do raccoons go out during the day? Raccoons rarely go out in the daytime to look for food, so the reason is usually related to their den or shelter and their offspring.
Raccoons are often active during the day because they are looking for a new shelter, meaning that their previous or current place is unsafe due to the presence of predators or other factors.
These animals often go out during the day when they have babies or kits, and their den is unsafe! Raccoons usually mate in late winter, usually January; the gestation period lasts around nine weeks, and they have their kits in April or May.
The mother raccoon may be out because she is looking for her babies, which depend on her for food and water. Also, raccoons usually have one litter a year, but it can happen that the mother losses the babies due to predators.
In that case, the female raccoon may have a second litter during that year. Now when you think about it, you have probably realized that most of the sightings of raccoons happen in spring!
How to Behave in the Presence of Raccoons?
Although raccoons look like they could be pets, raccoons can be dangerous, and that is why it is not suggested that you approach and touch them. If the animal is not causing your any harm or destroying your property, it is better to leave it alone.
There are situations where you should definitely call animal and wildlife control. If they are causing you issues, such as making a mess in your attic or basement, that is your clue to call the professionals.
Also, if you see a raccoon acting erratically and displaying aggression, keep your distance from that raccoon and call local animal control.
Are Raccoons Aggressive During the Daylight Hours?
Some people think that seeing a raccoon during the day means something is wrong with it. That is not always the case; as mentioned, there are specific reasons why they come out, which do not mean that the raccoon will behave aggressively.
If you notice unprovoked aggression, that is a reason to be concerned. These animals are very cautious of their surroundings and always alert, so seeing anything that is out of character for this critter may indicate a health problem which can be something other than rabies.
Seeing a raccoon during the day does not mean it has rabies. According to a study, around 20% of the raccoon population has natural immunity to rabies, which is generally rare. For example, in 2018, there were only 50 confirmed cases of rabid raccoons in Ontario.
However, this does not mean you can let your guard down! It is always better to be safe than sorry!
How to Tell If Raccoon Has Rabies?
The major reason why people tend to avoid these animals is because they can have rabies. So what are the common symptoms? If a raccoon is rabid, it will behave very aggressively. Generally, raccoons will have some discharge coming from their eyes and mouth.
For example, rabid animals tend to produce more saliva, drool, and look like they are foaming in their mouth.
Other symptoms include staggering gait, erratic wondering, vocalization, disorientation, confusion, and even self-mutilation.
Keep in mind that some rabid animals may not display these symptoms; it happens that a rabid raccoon tested positive for the rabies virus but showed no aggression or disorientation. They can also look sickly and lethargic and have wet and matted fur.
In addition to rabies, raccoons can become infected with other viruses; for example, canine distemper or feline parvovirus, which has similar symptoms to those of rabies. As implied in its name, canine distemper is also found in domestic dogs, ferrets, and skunks.
So, if you notice any raccoon feces, do not touch them with your bare hands.
Before cleaning an area previously inhabited by raccoons, equip yourself with a good disinfectant, mask, rubber gloves, and protective clothing.
The best solution is to stay away; you can observe the animal’s behavior from a distance, but do not try to interact with it!
Should I Get a Raccoon Pet?
Although raccoons look like small fluffy bears with their adorable black mask around the eyes and cheeks, it is not suggested that you get a raccoon pet.
The problem with raccoons is that their behavior is unpredictable, and they are generally mischievous even after being domesticated. There were several instances where a pet raccoon bit its owner.
Considering that they can carry several viruses and that even disposing of their feces can get you sick, it is not worth the trouble in the end. Most people who have sustained bites from raccoons, in most cases, kept them in small and confined places.
Even if you choose to have a raccoon pet, do not keep it in the house. As pets, they are extremely high maintenance and need a lot of space. Everybody knows raccoons are super messy, noisy, and need constant supervision.
They can also inflict a lot of damage on your property; they often damage insulation, wooden beams,
In addition, in certain states, such as California, it is illegal to keep a pet raccoon.
Another problem with domesticating wild animals is that if it escapes, they will not survive for long in the wilderness because it is not equipped with the necessary skills.
How to Prevent Raccoons from Entering My Yard?
Most critters and pests are attracted to our homes and areas because food is abundant. Raccoons are known as “trash collectors” because they adore rummaging through our food scraps.
These animals are omnivores and will gladly eat pet food or bird food, so if you keep a bird feeder, that may be why you have raccoons in your yard!
If you have a serious raccoon problem, you can try installing bright lights in your yard; raccoons also dislike loud noises, but considering that they are mostly active during the night, it is unlikely that you will be blasting some music at 1 am to deter a raccoon.
You can seal off your trash bags and then seal the container so they cannot enter it. If you see them entering your attic or garage, you can soak some tennis balls in ammonia or white vinegar. They will try to chew it and will experience a nasty surprise.
Some other raccoon repellents include essential oils, such as peppermint oil, coffee grounds, predator urine, and fragrant soups.
Although raccoons are nocturnal and crepuscular animals, they occasionally venture out during the daylight.
They usually leave their safe dens and caves during the day because they are looking for a ‘new apartment’ or the mother raccoon is looking for her babies. The masked bandits are mainly active in daylight during the baby season.
Most people have had raccoon issues; how do you eliminate them? Please share your experience with us! If you have any comments, do not be shy and fire away!