Raccoons

Did you know?

  • Raccoons are nocturnal, which means they are most active at night.
  • Raccoons are not dangerous unless they are sick, cornered, kept as pets, or become used to being fed by humans.
  • The newborn babies have no mask around their eyes or rings on their tails.
  • Some people think Raccoons wash their food before eating, but usually the Raccoon is feeling the food with his sensitive forepaws to help identify it.

Looks and sounds

Adult Raccoons are about the size of a large house cat and can weigh from 15 to 40 pounds. They have grey-brown fur with black masks around the eyes, a ringed tail and black paws. Raccoons often chirp and purr to each other. They snort and growl if they feel threatened.

Home sweet home

Raccoons prefer to live in forested areas with a stream or other natural water sources. They are very adaptable and have learned how to live close to people in cities. Raccoons use dens to raise young and rest during the day. In areas with forest, Raccoons will also rest on the branches of trees. Raccoons will den in burrows dug by other animals, brush piles, hollow logs and holes in trees.

Family life

Most baby Raccoons are born in the late spring and early summer. A mother Raccoon gives birth to between two and five babies in her den. The babies stay with their mother until the following spring. A mother Raccoon takes care of her babies alone. She helps them learn to run, climb and forage for food.

Snack time

Raccoons are omnivorous which means they will eat a wide variety of plants and animals. Raccoons especially enjoy foods found near water such as clams, frogs, crabs and snails. They will also eat eggs, bugs, road kill, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and even garbage or pet food. This is why it is very important not to leave any human or pet food outside in your yard. Raccoons do not have great eyesight, but they have very sensitive paws which they use to find and identify food.

Raccoons at PAWS

Young Raccoons are frequently brought to PAWS in the spring and summer. They usually become orphaned because their mothers are trapped, removed and sometimes killed when they make their home in the attic or crawlspace of a house. Adult Raccoons are brought to PAWS after being struck by cars, or when they are suffering from diseases. PAWS will care for both young and adult Raccoons until they are strong and healthy and then release them back into the wild.

Need help?

If your family is having a conflict with Raccoons, or you find a Raccoon you think is injured or orphaned, you can get free help by calling the PAWS Wildlife Center at 425.412.4040. Be sure to also check out these solutions to common problems with wildlife.

Want to know more?

Learn more about wildlife.