Do Raccoons Attack People? Are They Dangerous?

Raccoons are notorious scavengers foraging just about anywhere they can find food. As humans further encroach on their natural habitat, building houses and venturing farther into the forest, we can expect an increase in dangerous interactions to occur.

Although raccoons are a rare sight in the city, us “Country Folk” have been dealing with raccoons our whole lives. They might seem like a cute, quirky teddy bear, but those long sharp claws can do serious damage.

Do Raccoons Attack People?

I’ve been dealing with raccoons my entire life. I can’t even count how many run-ins I’ve had over the years. Breaking up fights with my dogs, release them from traps, dealing with them at camp, and forcing them out of the barn.

Out of all those times, I’ve never had a raccoon straight-up attack me unprovoked. They might hiss and snarl when backed into a corner, but give them an opportunity to run and they will take it.

Raccoons Usually Don’t Want to Fight

There’s no reason why a raccoon would ever want to attack a human unprovoked. It just wouldn’t make sense for one of the smartest animals on the planet to attack something 10 times its size. When that fight or flight instinct kicks in, they’re always heading for the nearest exit.

What if The Raccoon is Acting Aggressive?

Although most people associate aggressive raccoons with being rabid that’s rarely the case. Aggressive raccoons are usually the result of previously being fed by humans. They know that if they harass a person he’s more likely to abandon his food.

Steer clear of raccoons that are acting aggressively and let wildlife officials know at the first sign of an infestation. It doesn’t matter if a raccoon has rabies. I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of those sharp claws/teeth.

Raccoons Can Put Up a Fight

Raccoons are definitely made to fight with their long, sharp claws and strong jaws. I’ve had to break up a few fights between my raccoons and my dogs. They can really tear up a dog in a fight. I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of those claws.

Although they can definitely put up a fight, raccoons don’t pose a real threat to humans. Having a few raccoons wander up to the campfire doesn’t mean you should go inside. He will usually leave the minute he realizes you don’t have any food to give him.

Are Raccoons dangerous?

Generally speaking, it’s not dangerous to have a few raccoons hanging around. As opportunistic feeders there’s bound to be a few hiding in the bushes every time you setup camp. If there’s food anywhere in the vicinity there will probably be raccoons nearby.

Can raccoons injure a peson?

Yes, Definitely! Raccoons can attack and injure a person, but it’s almost always in self defense. Yell at a raccoon from a safe distance and 99% of the time he’s gonna back off. Trap him in a corner and keep getting closer you’re gonna be in the hospital getting a rabies vaccine.

When will raccoons attack a person?

Raccoons will usually only attack when threatened, but sometimes a mother will go on the offensive to protect her babies.

Do I need to get a rabies vaccine before I go camping?

There’s no reason why you should get a rabies vaccine before a camping trip. Raccoons will rarely show aggression towards campers. Just make sure your food is secure and you never feed them.

What if I get bit or scratched by a raccoon?

If you get bit or scratched you need to clean the wound and head to the hospital. You need to go get a series of rabies vaccines even if it didn’t seem like he had rabies. Rabies is easily treatable, but it will kill you if you don’t get vaccinated. Plus the doctor will probably want to get you on antibiotics to prevent infection.

Never Approach a Raccoon

The only time a raccoon will attack you is if he can’t find an immediate escape route. Give him a wide berth so he can get away from you. Don’t chase and yell because that will only cause additional stress increasing your odds of being attacked.

Just be smart and teach children to never approach animals they don’t know. Most of the situations where a person has been scratched or bitten could have easily been avoided by just staying away.

Watch Out For Signs of Rabies

Even though anybody that gets bit or scratched by a raccoon needs to go in for a vaccination it’s rare for the animal to actually have rabies. If you can’t tell if a raccoon has rabies it probably doesn’t. The telltale signs of rabies are pretty obvious.

  • Rabid raccoons act like they are going crazy. They look disoriented, confused, slow and stumble around like drunks. Watch the video below it should be fairly obvious.
  • Looks sick and weary
  • Foaming at the mouth: Everybody knows that you shouldn’t approach a raccoon that’s foaming at the mouth.