In this article, we’ll answer the question:
“Are raccoons dangerous?”
First, you’ll find a short summary about the dangerousness of raccoons in general, then get specific answers about these mammals like are raccoons aggressive, will they bite, do raccoons eat humans, etc.
Raccoons are medium-sized mammals in the family Procyonidae under the order Carnivora. These omnivores are native to North America but are also distributed across mainland Europe, the Caucasus, and Japan.
Are Raccoons Dangerous?
Raccoons are dangerous to humans and are common carriers of rabies and other diseases. A raccoon becomes the most dangerous when it’s sick, cornered, or defending its young from people and pets.
Raccoons are common carriers of infectious diseases like rabies, leptospirosis, Giardia, canine distemper, raccoon parvoviral enteritis, canine hepatitis, and pseudorabies. They are also known to transmit diseases to humans and other animals through both direct contact and their waste.
According to this University of Florida publication, “Some of these diseases are asymptomatic, showing no signs of infection, and often do not affect raccoons, but can still be passed on and deadly to other animals, including humans. Because it is not possible to be certain if a wild animal is sick, it is safer to consider the animal a hazard and avoid it.”
Are Raccoons Aggressive?
Raccoons are aggressive towards humans, pets, and other animals. It is common for a raccoon to act aggressively to protect itself and its young from other predators by biting and scratching until it can get away.
Every situation will vary for why a raccoon is aggressive, but there are specific cases where raccoons almost always attack a person or other animal. The most common one is fear. Raccoons will become aggressive as a form of self-defense if they feel threatened or cornered, especially if they have young nearby that could potentially be harmed.
Other common causes of aggression include territorial disputes with other raccoons, hunger, and thirst. Additionally, some raccoons can carry infectious diseases like rabies, which can cause them to be increasingly hostile and unpredictable.
If you encounter a raccoon that appears aggressive, it is essential to remain calm and avoid provoking the animal further. Flee the scene and do not attempt to touch or move a raccoon with any objects.
Do Raccoons Bite?
Raccoons do bite humans, pets, and other animals if they feel threatened. A raccoon will also scratch people and animals as another form of defense. Getting bitten by a raccoon or scratched can be life-threatening if it is carrying an infectious disease, which is common in this species.
A raccoon can be territorial and aggressive, and therefore bite you, if it feels like you are encroaching on its territory, removing an important food source, or trying to capture its young. Raccoon bites can be very dangerous as they can often lead to infection or death. If a raccoon bites you, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. A raccoon bite can be lethal, especially if the animal has rabies.
As with any wild animal or even some pets, it’s always best to take caution when you’re in their territory or if they are invading your property (e.g., to sift through the trash). By keeping your distance and making sure that they feel safe, you can often prevent any dangerous issues from arising with raccoons. If you encounter these animals, the best thing to do is back away slowly and avoid any contact.
Do Raccoons Attack Humans?
Raccoons do attack humans when they are rapid with a disease like rabies; however, a healthy raccoon will often avoid people and scurry away unless it feels threatened, cornered, or their young are put in danger.
If you encounter a rabid raccoon, or if you try to capture one in the wild, these animals can become quite territorial and may attack you. Raccoons have sharp teeth and claws that can easily puncture human skin and cause serious infections. Therefore, it is essential to be very cautious when dealing with a raccoon or coming across one in nature.
Do Raccoons Eat Humans?
Raccoons do not eat humans and cannot consume a person’s body. A raccoon prefers to eat smaller creatures like fish, frogs, mussels, insects, mice, and rabbits.
Raccoons are also omnivores that feed on various plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts. They also eat bird eggs.
Are Raccoons Friendly?
You can visit our other guide about are raccoons friendly to find out how nice these mammals can be to people in the wild and at a zoo.
Raccoon Dangerous & Aggressive Summary
You now know the answer to the question about are raccoons dangerous.
As you discovered in this guide, raccoons do not eat humans or attack people unless they feel threatened. Therefore, are raccoons aggressive or not depends on if these mammals are being encroached upon by people in nature or in captivity.
I’m the lead editor and writer for Animal Answer Guide. I enjoy sharing expert knowledge on the various characteristics of common species within the five distinct groups of animals: amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.