Raccoons are primarily nocturnal animals, meaning they are most active at night. However, finding a raccoon that is out and about during the daytime is common. This behavior may raise questions and concerns as it deviates from their natural pattern. So, why is a raccoon out during the daytime? Let’s explore some possible reasons.
Where Do Raccoons Live During the Day?
Raccoons are excellent climbers and are capable of scaling trees with ease. They often seek shelter in tree cavities, hollowed-out trunks, or dense foliage. Tree dens protect from predators and the elements, making them a popular choice for raccoons seeking a safe resting place.
Attics and Crawl Spaces
Raccoons are known for their ability to access human-made structures. Attics, crawl spaces, and even chimneys can provide a warm and secure denning site for raccoons. They may gain access through openings in roofs, vents, or damaged areas. Once inside, they can create nests using insulation materials or other available resources.
Raccoons are skilled diggers and often utilize existing caves, such as those made by other animals, for their daytime retreats. They may also excavate their burrows in soft soil or beneath structures like sheds, decks, or porches. Ground burrows offer protection from predators and harsh weather conditions.
Brush Piles and Thickets
Raccoons take cover in dense vegetation, brush piles, or thorny thickets during the day. These areas provide them with camouflage and protection. They may also use these locations as temporary resting spots while they await nightfall to resume their activities.
Raccoons have adapted well to urban areas, finding shelter in human-made structures like garages, sheds, or abandoned buildings. They can squeeze through small openings and may even use sewer systems or storm drains as travel routes and hiding places.
Raccoons sometimes utilize natural dens such as rock crevices, fallen logs, or underground burrows created by other animals. These locations offer protection and insulation against the elements.
Why Is a Raccoon Out During the Daytime?
Raccoons are opportunistic omnivores and will adapt their behavior to find food sources. If a raccoon discovers a readily available food source during the day, such as garbage cans, pet food left outside, or bird feeders, it may adjust its schedule to take advantage of these easy meals.
During the spring and summer, raccoons give birth to their young, known as kits. Mother raccoons may need to leave their dens during daylight hours to search for food and care for their offspring. This is especially true when the kits are young and require frequent nourishment and attention.
Raccoons are adaptable creatures, but disturbances in their habitat can disrupt their everyday routines. Construction projects, habitat destruction, or increased human activity in their vicinity can force raccoons to adjust their behavior and become more active during the day in search of new shelter or food sources.
Disease or Injury
Raccoons that are ill, injured, or suffering from certain diseases may exhibit unusual behavior, including being active during the daytime. This behavior change could result from neurological problems, rabies infection, or other health issues. If you observe a raccoon acting strangely or displaying signs of illness, it is vital to keep your distance and contact local animal control or wildlife authorities.
If you encounter a raccoon during the daytime, observing from a safe distance and avoiding direct contact is best. If you believe there is a concern or potential danger, it is advisable to contact local animal control or wildlife management authorities, who can provide guidance and assistance.
When encountering raccoons during the day
Keep a safe distance from the raccoons. Do not approach or attempt to touch them. Like any wild animal, Raccoons can become defensive if they feel threatened or cornered.
Do Not Feed Them
Avoid feeding raccoons. Feeding them caan habituate them to human presence and lead to dependency on human-provided food sources. This can cause problems for both humans and raccoons.
Secure Trash and Food Sources
Raccoons are attracted to easily accessible food sources, such as trash cans and pet food. Ensure your garbage bins are secure with tight-fitting lids, and avoid leaving pet food outdoors.
Provide an Escape Route
If you encounter raccoons in an enclosed space, provide them with an escape route. Open nearby doors or create a clear path for them to exit without feeling trapped.
Keep Pets Indoors
If you have outdoor pets, keep them indoors or supervised when raccoons are present. Raccoons can be territorial and become aggressive if they feel their space is invaded.
If raccoons become frequent and cause problems on your property, consider using non-harmful deterrents. These include motion-activated sprinklers, bright lights, or ultrasonic devices emitting high-frequency sounds.
Contact Wildlife Professionals
If you believe the raccoons pose a threat or are causing significant damage, contact local wildlife authorities or professionals specializing in wildlife control. They can provide guidance and assistance in handling the situation safely and ethically.
While raccoons are primarily nocturnal, their behavior can be influenced by various factors, including food availability, caring for the young, and environmental conditions. If you happen to encounter a raccoon during the day, it is best to observe them from a safe distance and avoid any direct interaction to ensure the safety of both yourself and the raccoon.