Keep Me Wild: Raccoon

Raccoon in tree
Raccoon on tree limb
Raccoon on grass
Raccoon face closeup

Introduction

Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are intelligent and adaptable animals often encountered in urban and residential areas. They are omnivores with a diverse diet that may include plants, insects, dead animals, small live animals, and non-natural food sources (e.g., pet food, trash) if given access. Raccoons can become aggressive when threatened, food conditioned, or habituated to humans - so avoid approaching or feeding Help keep raccoons wild. Learn more!


Homeowners, Property Owners, Renters

Use wildlife-resistant containers.picture of a raccoon outside

  • Always keep trash, recycling, and compost in secure bins.
  • Wait to put out trash until the morning of collection.
  • Remove unsecured trash, food, and strongly scented items (e.g., sunscreen) from yard.

Use simple, effective exclusion methods.

  • Keep doors and windows closed and locked when unoccupied.
  • Bring small pets, pet food and animal feed in­­side - or otherwise fully secured - at night.
  • Eliminate access to potential den sites (e.g., under deck, attic, chimney).

Use simple, effective deterrent methods.

  • Install motion-activated lights, noise or alarms.
  • Install electric fencing around chicken coops and animal enclosures.
  • Clean garbage and recycling bins with bleach or ammonia.
  • Do not feed raccoons!

Yards, Parks & More

Use “wildlife-smart” landscaping. 

  • Remove bird feeders from yard.  
  • Plant native flowers to attract birds instead.  
  • Do not feed other wildlife – this will attract raccoons. 
  • Pick ripe fruit off trees, and promptly collect fruit that falls.  

Keep yards & green spaces clean. 

  • Properly clean up areas of raccoon droppings – Also known as a raccoon ‘latrine’.
  • Keep trash, recycling, and compost in secure bins. 
  • Remove pet food, water bowls, and other attractants. 
  • Keep vegetation trimmed. 

Prevention is Key

If you encounter a racoon – and it appears healthy:

  • Enjoy the sighting!
  • Keep a safe distance. 
  • Keep children and pets away.
  • DO NOT approach, confront, or try to handle it - Raccoons can bite or scratch if scared, startled, or feeling threatened.

If you encounter a racoon – and it appears sick or injured:

  • Keep a safe distance.
  • Keep children and pets away.
  • DO NOT approach, confront, or try to handle it - Raccoons can bite or scratch if scared, startled, or feeling threatened.
  • Call a local Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility, Animal Control, or CDFW.
  • If you find a dead raccoon - Wear personal protective equipment (e.g., gloves) if handling for disposal.

If you encounter a racoon – and it approaches you:

  • Keep a safe distance.
  • Keep children and pets away.
  • DO NOT approach, confront, or try to chase it - Raccoons can bite or scratch if scared, startled, or feeling threatened.
  • Encourage it to leave on its own - Make yourself look bigger and make noise.

If you encounter a racoon – inside a home, school, or structure:

  • Keep a safe distance.
  • Keep children and pets away.
  • DO NOT approach, confront, or try to chase it - Raccoons can bite or scratch if scared, startled, or feeling threatened.
  • Give the raccoon an escape route. Let it leave on its own.
  • If the racoon cannot make its way out – Call local Animal Control or CDFW.

NOTE: Do not attempt to feed or touch a raccoon. Raccoons can be hosts to various zoonotic diseases and parasites that may harm people or pets (e.g., rabies, distemper, roundworm). For your safety - Avoid direct contact!

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