Raccoons may have cute faces and generally look harmless, but they are known to be aggressive animals. Most people, thus, tend to steer clear of them. However, these animals often live near humans, with some even inviting themselves into your property. So, exactly how dangerous are raccoons? And do raccoons attack humans?
This article sheds some light on raccoon behavior toward humans and offers some tips on safeguarding yourself and your property against raccoons.
Do Raccoons Attack Humans?
Raccoons are generally shy creatures, but it’s still a good idea to take precautions until you’re sure whether these animals pose a danger to you or your family.
Like most animals, raccoons like to have their space and can be territorial animals. They are not often aggressive, but they can attack humans when provoked or if they feel threatened. Female raccoons, in particular, can also go into full protective mode if she feels like their young ones are in danger. Raccoon attacks on humans usually happen at night, but it’s very rare.
A major reason for raccoons becoming aggressive is that they are not feeling well or are disoriented and can’t correctly assess the situation and protect themselves. So, they take a proactive approach and lunge at you without notice.
However, given the general non-aggressive nature of raccoons, they usually don’t attack immediately and are more into defensive postures with the hopes that you will leave them alone. You can expect them to make noises and even throw things in your direction to scare you off. Some raccoons may even attempt to bluff an attack with grunting and a fake charging stance to avoid an actual confrontation.
So, given raccoons’ general behavior, it is common for humans to assume that the raccoons are about to attack them. In truth, however, these animals are just curious about you, especially if you are holding or carrying something like a bag. They’d come closer to check if you have something delicious and interesting.
And because you assume that the raccoon is about to attack you, you react defensively, which the raccoons can interpret as a threat.
And if the raccoons find themselves cornered, you can expect these animals to protect themselves with all that they’ve got. Despite their size, raccoons can be physically strong and use their thick claws and even their teeth in self-defense.
What Do You Do If You Get Attacked By A Raccoon?
Raccoon attacks are rare. But if a raccoon attacks you, you need to seek medical health immediately.
These bites or scratches can be serious, with some even becoming fatal. Raccoons are known carriers of different diseases like rabies, so urgent care is crucial if you get bitten or scratched by them.
You don’t need to wait for a raccoon attack before you take action against them. These creatures don’t need to scratch you for you to get sick. Even inhaling raccoon feces or coming in contact with their urine can increase your risk of contracting various diseases, including leptospirosis, raccoon roundworm, and salmonella.
Additionally, raccoons carry bacteria through their furs, so petting or touching them is never a good idea. This is critical for pets at home because these bacteria can spread quickly among other animals.
So, aside from ensuring that your doctor gives you a clean bill of health, you must also start taking action to remove these raccoons from your property.
10 Tips To Protect Yourself Against Raccoons
Here are some actions you can take to protect yourself and not end up having to deal with a raccoon attack:
#1. Start making your property unpleasant and uninviting to these little rascals. You can use natural repellents to make them not want to go to your property, like peppermint, eucalyptus, garlic, and onions.
#2. Maintain a clean yard and shed — the main reason why raccoons go to your home or near your home is to look for food in garbage cans. So, ensure your garbage bins are tightly closed or secured and that they can hold their weight and not tip over.
#3. Secure your dog or cat food in air-tight containers or bring the pet food inside your home instead of leaving it in your shed. Raccoons can be persistent about food and will make your home their residence if they know that the food supply is plenty.
#4. Refrain from giving raccoons any treats, especially in the form of food. If you do, they’ll treat you like their food source and make your property their home.
#5. Woodpiles should be appropriately stored or removed because raccoons can use these scrap materials to make their den and a breeding ground for their species.
#6. Seal all possible entry points in your yard and home to prevent these animals from entering your property. This is also applicable to cracks and holes that can lead to your attic or walls because once raccoons get inside your home, it will be more difficult to get rid of them.
#7. If any raccoons come near your property, avoid confrontation — the raccoons are hoping for the same. They are easy to chase away, so do that instead and don’t give these animals a reason to attack.
#8. Long weapons are a must to ward them off. A stick, chair, or long-range weapon is your best choice when encountering an aggressive raccoon.
#9. If raccoons have already established their homes on your property and you need to work on tasks outside like cleaning and gardening, protect yourself by wearing long sleeves, pants, and thick gloves, to reduce the risk of being scratched if there’s an aggressive raccoon nearby.
#10. Seek the help of professionals, as some raccoon problems may require a more strategic approach. They will also help you raccoon-proof your home or give you advice on keeping raccoons away.