Raccoons are native to North America, about the size of a small dog. Although they are carnivorous mammals, they have a truly omnivorous diet. Due to the development of human settlements in their natural habitats, raccoons are coming into contact with human populations more frequently. This is often due to their search for food. However, as raccoons become more accustomed to their human neighbors, interactions between the two are becoming more common.
Are raccoons aggressive animals? We found out if they are prone to attacking not only humans.
Do raccoons attack humans?
Raccoons have a very striking and adorable appearance, with expressive eyes and a mischievous demeanor. Although they do not have opposable thumbs, they have very dexterous feet. This allows them to manipulate their environment and even carry out behaviors that are perceived as human. All this combines to provoke a feeling of tenderness towards them in many people.
However, due to their fearlessness in entering human environments, raccoons have also earned a reputation as an invasive species. They can cause damage trying to enter homes, destroy belongings once inside, or simply make a mess wherever they go.
With this in mind, it is important to know that raccoons are wild animals. While there are many examples of tame individuals, they have not gone through the domestication process. This means that they are not really suitable for coexistence with humans, even if they have been bred in captivity.
In general, raccoons will not attack humans. Humans are too large to be considered prey, so they are likely to run away rather than attack. This does not mean that there have been no recorded cases of raccoon attacks.
When they attack, it is usually in self-defense. When a raccoon attacks a human, it is usually unprovoked. We discuss the situations that can lead to a raccoon being dangerous and aggressive below.
Why can raccoons be aggressive?
Wild animals are adapted to certain ecological conditions, which are linked to their biology. When these conditions change, animals can have aggressive responses or behaviors. Since raccoons are often preyed upon by larger predators, they will view humans as potential threats. Although we may simply want to interact with them, the raccoon may perceive this as a threat. If they cannot flee, they will resort to aggression to maintain their safety.
In recent years, reports of conflicts between raccoons and people have increased. Although some of these refer specifically to attacks, the majority are related to property damage, noise and destruction of homes. Raccoons attacking humans seemingly without provocation are usually completely isolated situations, not common.
Now, there is a case in which raccoons can be aggressive. When a raccoon is infected with the rabies virus, the later stages of the disease involve unprovoked aggression. While rabies in raccoons is relatively rare, it is a possibility, and not only should we avoid rabid raccoons, we should also notify authorities so they can prevent the spread of the virus.