Wild File Q&A: If raccoons are out in the daytime, are they dangerous?

Q: If raccoons are out in the daytime, are they dangerous?

Racccon climbing a tree
Raccoons are destructive little creatures whose only saving grace is that they can be cute. They are wild animals and should be treated as such. Photo and caption by Dick Brewer.

 

A: Raccoons are often seen during the day, causing some people to ask, “I thought raccoons here only active at night and the only ones out in the day were rabid. Is it safe here?”

Raccoons are wild animals, and like all wild animals, from small snakes to big bears, they  should be regarded with caution and treated with respect. But they are not inherently dangerous. It’s all about predator avoidance.

Raccoons, like all animals, want to survive. They want to get food rather than to be food, so they must minimize the chances of being killed by predators while foraging.

In the more peopled areas, raccoons tend to be more active at night because that’s when they encounter fewer predators and obstacles to getting food such as people, cars, big dogs, and more.

In Florida’s wild areas, their most dangerous predators — alligators, panthers, and bobcats — are most active and most efficient at night. In those habitats, the best chance for a raccoon to survive is to hunt during the day.

CREW Deer Monitoring Reveals Unexpected Wildlife Encounter

Monitoring wildlife populations helps us understand the health and status of various species and provides essential information when making land and wildlife management decisions at CREW.

Kathleen Smith, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission biologist assigned to CREW, conducts  deer surveys in portions of CREW using remote sensing cameras. In addition to providing information on the deer populations, these surveys help test specific methods for estimating deer populations. Using baited stations with remote sensing cameras set up nearby, the bait stations and cameras are deployed for about two weeks. Then the photos are analyzed and deer numbers, gender, ages, and activity recorded.

Anytime remote cameras are set up in the woods, it is expected that a variety of wildlife will appear and be captured as they enter the viewfinder of the camera. But you don’t always expect “action shots” of animals doing crazy things in the wild. This year, however, was an exception. As the photos got downloaded to the computers, and Kathleen and her team were quickly flipping through them, one particular action shot caught their attention. Take a look at the following sequence of photos to see what caught their eye… (click on each photo for a larger image)

Raccoon visits bait station (Photo by FFWCC)
Raccoon visits bait station (Photo by FFWCC)
Alligator attacks raccoon (Photo by FFWCC)
Alligator attacks raccoon (Photo by FFWCC)
Alligator after attack on raccoon (Photo by FFWCC)
Alligator after attack on raccoon (Photo by FFWCC)

How’s that for a surprise? Pretty amazing timing for a remote camera shot! And so much for the bait station! What do you think…did the raccoon get away?

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