Raccoon Where Do They Live

Where Do Raccoons Live? Raccoon Range and Raccoon Habitat

Raccoons are found throughout most parts of the United States and southern Canada. They also occur in South America i.e. from Mexico to its northern areas. Apart from the U.S., they were also introduced in various other continents i.e. Europe and Asia. Now let’s take a deep dive into the animal’s range and habitat and find out where do raccoons live in United States, Canada, Europe and other parts of the world.

Where Do Raccoons Live in the World – Raccoon Range

Raccoons are native to the United States. They are normally found throughout the continent, except for few states. Apart from Procyon lotor (North American or Common raccoon), the remaining six species occur all over Central, South and North America. Besides, they are also found in the Caribbean Islands. The common raccoon is found from Canada to Panama.

Raccoons in Europe

Outside the United States, raccoons were introduced in various countries across the world. In the 1930s, the Soviet Union and Germany imported these mammals. Some of the other European countries where they occur today include West Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Today, the largest number of raccoons in the world (outside the U.S.) exists in Germany. In Europe, the German city called Kassel (at the northern Hasse) holds the densest population of raccoons i.e. every square kilometer hosts 50 to 150 raccoons. Likewise, they are also present in good numbers in northern France.

In Asia, they were successfully introduced in Japan as well.

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Where Do Raccoons Live in Canada

In Canada, raccoons live throughout the country, except Labrador and Newfoundland. With time, as more and more area is cleared, the range of these mammals expand toward the north.

Raccoon Habitat

Raccoons do not restrict themselves to any specific habitat. Instead, they often occupy variety of habitats thanks to their ability to adapt perfectly to the surroundings. Since raccoons are extremely adaptable animals, they tend to occur in grasslands as well as tropical areas. Moreover, they are one of the few animals that also thrive on urban settings, including farmlands and suburbans.

These mammals inhabit swamps, forested areas and agricultural lands. Normally, they den in abandoned holes of trees and attic of urban houses. But they are mostly found living near ponds in moist woodlands.

Like us, they also require water, shelter and food sources to occupy any habitat. However, they usually prefer living in floodplain forests, marshes and hardwood swamps. They can also thrive on prairies and farmlands.

The range of these animals expands with the availability of food as well as growing number of people in a particular area. In winter when the food is in short supply, they move back to their dens and sleep for longer periods to conserve energy.

Image copyright Richard T.

The specific kind of habitat also determines raccoon population in a certain area. In agricultural areas, there are almost 5 to 10 raccoons in every square kilometer. On the contrary, each square kilometer in urban areas holds up to 100 raccoons.

Generally, raccoons do not prefer living in the open terrain. The winter denning of these mammals occurs mostly on hollow trees and logs. In places where such dens are unavailable, raccoons live in abandoned burrows of other mammals.

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They seem to have little fear of humans which is why they usually settle in urban areas. In Canada and the U.S., they are present in suburbs like Toronto, Washington and Chicago. They are also found in Albuquerque, a city in the state of New Mexico. In the cities, the denning sites of raccoons occur in the nearby forested areas.

Since raccoons are nocturnal animals, they are rarely visible in daytime. For that reason, most people are curious about where do raccoons go during the day? Do they go to sleep in daylight hours or remain active and search for food all day long?

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Where Do Raccoons Sleep? Where Do Raccoons Go During the Day?

Raccoons normally prefer living in wooded areas so that as soon as they feel any danger, they may climb up the trees. Therefore, open terrain is not one of their favorite places to thrive. During winter, they seek warm shelters and spend most of their time in their dens, going into a deep sleep (called Torpor), which is not true hibernation. Because raccoons are rarely visible in daylight, this makes most of us to wonder where do raccoons go during the day or perhaps more importantly, where do raccoons sleep or nest?

Since raccoons are nocturnal mammals, they are mostly active after dawn and dusk. Even though they spend most of their daytime in sleeping, some female raccoons may occasionally come out during the day in search of more food.

Where Do Raccoons Live During the Day? Where Do Raccoons Sleep and Nest?

As far as raccoon habitat his concerned, this mammal usually occupies both mixed and deciduous forests. However, raccoons are highly adaptable mammals and they can adjust to almost any kind of environment. This explains why these animals are now present over an extensive range like in coastal marshes, mountains and urban settlements.

You will often find a sleeping raccoon within cracks of old trees. This is because hollows within old oaks and under the rocks are some of the preferred places where raccoons go during the day and sleep. They also use these old trees and rock crevices for winter denning. If a raccoon cannot find a place to den, it may use dense vegetation and burrows of other animals. Thus forests, woody plants and shrubbery are the places where raccoons go during the day.

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Some of the common places where raccoons sleep and nest are rock clefts, small spaces under decks, homes or buildings that are no longer in use, barns, woods and abandoned nests and burrows of other animals (like squirrels). As weather becomes more pleasant and less harsh, these mammals mostly sleep on tree forks. In warmer days, they find it convenient to sleep on open shelters.

As winter sets in, raccoons seek out warm and cozy places for sleeping and denning. This is why they usually find their way into the attics, garage, walls because they are perfect winter denning sites for them. As a result, you will often spot a raccoon rummaging through trash cans in your backyard, garage or crawl spaces under the deck.

Where Do Raccoons Nest?

Normally, raccoons like to use dens or burrows of other animals. Due to their adaptable nature, they do not find it hard to settle in burrows or holes dug by other animals. For that reason, you will often see a raccoon using holes for denning as well as nesting purposes. Generally, however, they nest in hollows of old oak trees and take up spring or summer residence on ground. To avoid harsh cold winter, they may occasionally share their dens with other animals, like skunks.

Do Raccoons Live in Trees?

Raccoons mostly occur in places where vertical structures are abundant. For a raccoon, climbing up trees is a piece of cake since they are one of the best climbers. They can quickly climb up trees to make dens inside abandoned hollows or tree crotches. These animals prefer living in trees that have long branches. Actually, a mother raccoon will often live in a tree hole high enough to avoid predators and raise her young out of harm’s way. Moreover, one of the benefits for living on treetops is that it would be quite convenient for raccoon to attack the prey from above. Thus, trees provide them shelter as well as place to hide from predators.

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Raccoon Facts

Raccoons are highly intelligent and curious creatures, but they can also be a nuisance to any homeowner. These nocturnal mammals can destroy gardens, make a mess by tipping over garbage cans, and can cause structural damage in search of food. On this page, you will learn general raccoon facts and how to identify raccoon damage.

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General Raccoon Facts

Scientific Name: Procyon lotor

Average Size: 12″ tall; 24-38″ long; 14-23 lbs.

Average Lifespan in the Wild: 2-3 years

Identifying Features: Gray fur with a black mask and 4-7 black rings around its tail; pointy snout with a black nose; dexterous front paws.

Raccoon Geography

Raccoons are natively found throughout most of North America. Recently, raccoons have emerged in parts of Europe and Japan.

Raccoon Habitat

Traditionally, raccoons prefer heavily wooded areas with access to trees, water and abundant vegetation. There, they make their dens in the hollow parts of trees as well as abandoned burrows, traveling up to 18 miles to forage for food.

Raccoons are extremely adaptable. They are often found in suburban and urban areas, making their homes in man-made structures like attics, sewers, barns and sheds. In urban areas, raccoons tend to stay closer to their dens with a range of only about 1 mile, depending on their age and sex.

Raccoon Diet

Raccoons are omnivores with an opportunistic diet; eating almost anything they can get their paws on. In urban areas, where wildlife and fresh vegetation are limited, raccoons will be more likely to eat human food and invade trashcans. The majority of their diet consists of sweet foods like fruits and invertebrates.

Some favorite foods include:

Raccoon Behavior

Activity: Nocturnal in nature, raccoons are mostly active at nighttime. They are most active in spring, summer and fall, and will sleep in their dens for most of the winter.

Reproduction: Reproduction begins in late winter. Females, or sows, usually give birth to 1-6 baby kits in April or May. Mothers are very protective of their young until they separate after about a year.

Social Interaction: Raccoons are independent after 12-14 months of age. Adults live in loose knit communities of 4 — 5 raccoons for better protection against predators.

Communication: Raccoons communicate with each other using over 200 different sounds and 12-15 different calls.

Skills: Raccoons possess amazing dexterity that gives them the ability to open doors, jars, bottles and latches. They are also great climbers, which allows them to better access food and shelter.

Identify Raccoon Damage

Raccoons can be extremely destructive due to their curiosity, intelligence, dexterity and climbing skills.

Here are some signs to help identify a raccoon problem:

  • tipped trash cans
  • raided bird feeders
  • pilfered gardens
  • damaged crops (ex. chewed sweet corn, hollowed out watermelons)
  • uncapped chimneys
  • torn shingles
  • raccoon tracks: five long toes and fingers resembling human hands

Raccoon Diseases

Raccoons can carry several bacterial diseases and parasites that can be transmitted to humans and pets through a bite or the ingestion of raccoon waste.

Some diseases that can affect humans and pets include:

  • leptospirosis
  • salmonella
  • roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis)
  • rabies

Although raccoons are notorious for carrying rabies, there has only been one recorded human death from raccoon rabies in the United States. Some signs that a raccoon may have rabies include aggressiveness, unusual vocalization, and excessive drool or foam from the mouth. If you think you may have identified a rabid raccoon, call your local animal control authority immediately.

Fun Facts

A raccoon will rinse its food in water prior to eating it. When there is no water close by, a raccoon will still rub its food to remove debris.

Some hypothesize that the purpose of a raccoon’s black mask is to reduce glare, helping it to see better in the dark.

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A group of raccoons is called a nursery.

Although raccoons only live 2-3 years in the wild, a raccoon can live up to 20 years in captivity.

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Where Do Raccoons Live?

Raccoons may look cute and cuddly, but behind those friendly faces are destructive creatures that can ruin gardens and crops, cause damage to home and property and potentially be a danger to pets and children. Raccoons are savage fighters with sharp teeth and piercing claws, and they will eat just about anything they can find. If you spot a raccoon wandering around your suburban town or even an urban city neighborhood, you may find yourself wondering, exactly where do raccoons live in the city? After all, these invaders are surely not pet raccoons who just happen to have given their owners the slip in order to do some nightly foraging.

Inside the city limits may not seem like an optimal place for a raccoon to live, but they certainly don’t seem to mind it. Raccoons typically look for places to call home near bodies of water and prefer areas that have lots of trees to use as dens. However, with the spread of urban and suburban areas, raccoons have adapted well to city life. They will often live just outside city limits and travel through storm drains and sewers to find trash cans and dumpsters that provide easy meals.

Because of the variety of foods that a raccoon will eat, they are found just about everywhere in North America. Raccoons don’t discriminate in the types of fare they feast on. They will eat aquatic animals such as frogs and crayfish from streams and ponds, fruits and vegetables from gardens and farms and scraps from trash cans and city dumpsters.

Where Do Raccoons Sleep?

Raccoons are opportunistic creatures when it comes to where they sleep. Most raccoons seem to prefer sleeping in large holes in trees or hollow parts of fallen logs. They also find shelter in abandoned cars, attics, crawl spaces, barns, and sheds.

Raccoons change dens frequently, sometimes moving on to a new den every night. A raccoon may live in a tree one night and relocate to a cozy spot in your attic the next night. During breeding season and harsh winter conditions, however, they will opt to remain hunkered down in their den for more extended stays.

Do Raccoons Live in Trees?

Raccoons are excellent climbers, making tree dens an optimal location. Mothers who are raising their young will typically find a high tree hole away from predators. Juvenile raccoons live in trees for a few months with their mother until they can forage for food on their own.

What to Do If You Find a Raccoon in Your Backyard

The arrival of spring means the emergence of raccoons from wintering locations and into many backyards across North America. Raccoons eat incessantly during the spring and summer months in order to store body fat for the winter, when food sources may not be as abundant. If you spot raccoons in your area, it may be necessary to remove all potential food sources from your property:

  • Move trash inside or lock trash can lids securely in place.
  • Protect your garden by placing raccoon repellent around your garden perimeter.
  • Seal or barricade any holes or crevices in your house that could possibly lead raccoons to find shelter in your attic, basement or shed.

Raccoons are very persistent animals, so they may need to be humanely removed from your property and relocated out of the area using a raccoon trap.

Need Advice?

Are you having issues with invading raccoons on your property? Contact our customer service center at 1-855-5-HAVAHART or ask online for advice on keeping your attic, trash cans and garden free of destructive raccoons. You can also find more tips and tricks on our Havahart® Facebook page. We would love for you to share your own experiences with our community.

For more great resources and exclusive updates on Havahart® products, subscribe to our eNewsletter.

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