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.

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