As nocturnal creatures, raccoons don’t typically spend much time outside during the day. Seeing one wandering around can actually be cause for concern, as raccoons usually have a reason for displaying this unusual behavior. These are some of the reasons you may see a raccoon during the day and what you should do to keep yourself safe during the encounter.
Reasons that Bring Raccoons Out in Daylight
Seeing a raccoon during the day could happen for a number of reasons. You should not attempt to get close enough to determine the cause if it is not apparent. Instead recognize that the raccoon is likely:
- Hunger – During colder months when there is less food or when a mother has babies to feed, she might spend more time foraging.
- Injured – An injured raccoon could be prevented from returning to a safe space or delirious with pain. Avoid approaching it as the raccoon might be especially reactive.
- Scared – A raccoon that was frightened out of its hiding place or chased by a predator may be running away. Again, it is likely more reactive than usual.
- Rabid – Rabies is a virus that causes a raccoon to act strangely, wander, make high pitched noises, show a discharge from its mouth, and potentially behave aggressively without being provoked. The virus can be transmitted through the raccoon’s saliva if it bites. The animal will eventually pass after 1 to 3 days.
While not every reason for a daytime raccoon sighting is rabies – in reality, there are less than 2,000 raccoons with rabies reported nationally each year – any raccoon can be dangerous. These animals will be aggressive when defending themselves or their young.
What To Do When You See a Raccoon
Day or night, never approach a raccoon you spot. Even during the day, most raccoons are harmless from a distance and will simply go about their business before wandering on. You can take steps around your home to secure trash cans and remove food sources to keep hungry raccoons from venturing into your yard.
If you do suspect a raccoon is injured or the animal is in a place where he cannot be avoided, seek professional help. Do not attempt to move the raccoon on your own. You risk injury if a frightened or unhealthy raccoon bites or scratches you. A professional uses safety equipment and specialized knowledge of raccoons to safely remove them.
For raccoon removal in New York City and New Jersey, NY and NJ Animal Control Trappers is the area’s leading provider of humane raccoon control. Our 24 hour emergency service means we can help during the day and at night.