Updated: Dec 29, 2022
They may be cute and fuzzy, but raccoons can be deadly. It may be tempting to try and befriend this adorable masked critter, but the reality is that it’s best to keep it as far away from your home as possible.
If you’d like to learn more about what makes raccoons dangerous, keep reading. We’ll outline the most disastrous issues they cause to humans and pets, and what you can do about them.
We’ll also cover the minor dangers of raccoon encounters that you should still be aware of. Finally, we included a few tips to help you stay safe from these large rodents.
Raccoons Carry Rabies
Rabies is a deadly virus that can spread to humans through animal bites. Raccoons, along with bats, skunks, and foxes, are its main carriers in the United States.
If you see a raccoon with an oddly staggering gait or discharge from its mouth and eyes, those are signs it might be rabid. Keep your distance, and call your local animal control to deal with the animal.
Rabies is most frequently transmitted through bites or scratches. If you, a pet, or a child are attacked, seek medical attention immediately.
Raccoons Can Be Aggressive
Healthy raccoons are, for the most part, not very likely to attack humans. However, a raccoon with rabies or canine distemper can be quite dangerous to humans. Their claws and teeth are sharp, not to mention the rabies transmission risk we’ve already discussed.
If a raccoon approaches you or hisses at you, you will likely be able to scare it away. Make yourself seem large and generate noise by shouting, clapping, or stomping. If it stays put, you can back away slowly while still making noise.
If it does attack you, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
They’ll Make a Mess of Your Property
While most raccoon encounters don’t end with disaster, the reality is that they can absolutely wreak havoc on human property. They will spread garbage around in search of food, and damage yards and gardens.
Most dangerous of all, they can leave behind droppings and urine that carry diseases, as we discuss in the next section.
Raccoons Droppings Can Carry Other Diseases
While rabies is the disease most commonly associated with raccoons, there are other risks. Raccoon droppings can carry a whole range of germs and pathogens that can infect humans and other animals. Pets and children are especially at risk, since they may not know to avoid droppings.
One notable risk is a parasitic roundworm called Baylisascaris, which can infect and cause very serious harm. Raccoons also carry diseases that don’t necessarily harm humans but can harm dogs, like canine hepatitis, canine distemper, and parvoviral enteritis.
Stay Safe from Raccoons
Raccoons are amongst the most dangerous wild creatures that we can encounter in urban spaces. To stay safe from raccoons, make sure to avoid them if you see them out in the wild, and if they seem aggressive, call animal control.
Additionally, it’s important that you keep your home and property as inhospitable to them as possible, to prevent an infestation. Don’t leave garbage and food sources accessible on your property, and make sure there is limited access to your roof or attic.
If you’re in Southern California, our team can always help you. We can come to your aid if you need professional rodent extermination or if you need help with raccoon-proofing your home.