If you know anything about raccoons, you understand that it is quite unusual to see a raccoon out during the day. Does seeing a raccoon during the day mean something is wrong? One may be worried about the animal being sick or injured. At Northern Colorado Pest and Wildlife Control we work with these critters on a daily basis and can provide some insight as to what this may or may not mean. If you happen to see a raccoon out and about during the day, it is highly recommended to stay clear of the animal. It is always recommended to stay at a safe distance when working with wild animals as they are unpredictable and any wild animal that loses its fear of people can be dangerous.
Raccoons are nocturnal — a main reason it is odd to see raccoons out during the day
It is unusual to see raccoons out during the day because these stealthy mammals are night creatures, or more scientifically, nocturnal. The raccoon joins roughly 70 percent of other animals — such as bats, owls, foxes, and coyotes — that are more at home when the sun is down. They are the power rangers of the night because they have night vision, which allows them to hunt in relative obscurity. According to National Geographic, being active in the cool night air helps prevent them from overheating, which could dehydrate the animals. Naturally, because their sight is rather acclimated to the moonlight, these animals have evolved to have heightened senses of smell and sound. Evolution also may have played a part in the iconic masks of the raccoon, which may help eliminate the glare of bright car lights at night.
When evolution is not kind to humans
Raccoons, like the remainder of the animal kingdom, have evolved with traits that help them survive. For example, the raccoon has an underfur that insulates them from the cold. The creature is also incredibly smart, which is one reason it may be able to find a cozy place to nest inside your home without you realizing it until you see their young in the spring. In fact, the raccoon is so smart, it is able to remember how to solve problems for three years, Wikipedia reports. So to keep the crafty creature from becoming a member of your family, you will have to outsmart it.
There are many reasons raccoons may be attracted to where you live, including the denseness of bushes and trees surrounding your home. They feed off of insects and worms, fruits and nuts, and even bird eggs. While they’re hunting for food at night, they can use that heightened sense of smell to sniff out the goodies in your trash, for example, and use their strong and dextrous, clawed hands to forage through your waste. They also are known to dine on the bowl of dog or cat food left outside.
Raccoons and disease mean daytime exposure
The most concerning reason someone might see a raccoon during the day is disease. Unlike prairie dogs, which can survive while infected with the plague, raccoons that contract rabies are a big problem. Rabies would be at the top of the list when it comes to sick raccoons, followed by distemper. A rabid raccoon may have the following symptoms: staggering gait, being oblivious to noise and movement, erratic wandering, discharge from the eyes and mouth, wet and matted hair on the face, vocalization, and self-mutilation. Distemper symptoms vary but may include the same symptoms as above in addition to emaciation and massive hair loss or patchy hair.
Rabies infestations in Colorado center more on skunks and bats, according to the Colorado Department of Health. But since skunks travel on the ground and rabies is very contagious, it is almost always concerning when you see raccoons out during the day. Of greater concern when raccoons or other wild animals have rabies is the potential for the family pet to be exposed to the disease. No one wants a re-enactment of “Old Yeller” on their hands. According to the Colorado Department of Health, you can be sure that if your cat or dog was bitten by a wild animal and is alive 10 days later, the biter was not infected with rabies when it bit them.
As stated above, it is important to not approach a raccoon, especially if it appears sick or injured. This is when you want to call the local professionals at Northern Colorado Pest and Wildlife Control.
Injured raccoons also may be out in the daylight
Other reasons why you might see raccoons out during the day are if they are injured, a baby raccoon, or a mother raccoon that is taking a quick break from her babies that are nursing. From more than 20 years of experience in the field working with these animals, I can say with confidence that an injury from a car can change their typical behavior, which would be true with any wild animal.
Raccoons out during the day could be baby raccoons beginning to play
It is also common for baby raccoons to begin to play with their siblings and explore their surroundings. We have observed numerous times raccoon babies playing around on a customer’s roof right by the entry point into the attic. This is because they are learning to play and because it may be getting too hot inside the attic, and they need to take a break or a breather. Another behavioral observation that we have observed is a mother raccoon just taking a break from her babies. The look on their faces says everything, as they look exhausted and in need of a break from the babies. In both cases, the mother raccoon and the babies will not venture very far from the nest, and they only come out for a very short period of time.
Always call an expert when you see raccoons on your property
There are numerous reasons why a person might see a raccoon during the day, with rabies being the most concerning. A rabid raccoon is nothing to play around with. Other reasons why a person might observe a raccoon during the day are injury to the animal, other diseases, babies being babies, and mother raccoons that need a break from their young. As stated numerous times before, call your local wildlife professionals at Northern Colorado Pest and Wildlife Control if you suspect a rabid raccoon, and as with any wildlife, keep your distance.
Remember, these are general indicators, and if you notice these signs in raccoons out during the day, it is crucial to contact a wildlife professional or local animal control for assistance. Dealing with sick raccoons requires expertise to ensure both human and animal safety.
Our trusted team takes the chore out of wildlife removal
At Northern Colorado Pest and Wildlife Control, we’ve trained for years to remove unwanted critters from your home and property. We approach the problem with education first, preventative measures second, and concern for the wellbeing of the animal. We know more than most because our owner has a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology and a master’s degree in entomology, both from Colorado State University. He’s essentially studied wildlife and insects for more than 20 years!
But do not think for a second that the presence of raccoons on your property says something about you. Raccoons are present in every urban neighborhood in America, according to the Humane Society. You can work to move out these unwanted tenants on your own with “humane harassment.” The Humane Society suggests using bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells, such as cider vinegar in a bowl. There are several other measures you can try on your own, but you will find it much easier to rely on the professionals at Northern Colorado Pest and Wildlife Control whom you know you can trust.
Northern Colorado Pest and Wildlife Control provides fast and courteous responses to our customers’ needs. We specialize in a wide range of pest control and wildlife control services. We serve Denver: north to Wyoming including Fort Collins, Eaton, Greeley, Evans, Windsor, Loveland, LaSalle, Johnstown, Milliken, Berthoud, Longmont, Boulder, Louisville, Superior, Lafayette, Thornton, Lakewood, Golden, Westminster, Denver, Aurora and surrounding cities.