Skip to main content
San Diego Humane Society

Raccoons: Coexisting with Wildlife

What to do if you find:

We recommend that you do not attempt to rescue an injured or sick raccoon yourself.  Special precautions need to be taken when dealing with this type of wild animal. They can carry rabies and baylisascaris worms, both of which are contagious to you, and distemper, which can be transmitted to your pets. The best thing to do is to keep an eye on the animal until an animal control arrives at the scene. 

If the animal is in immediate danger, proceed very cautiously. First put on heavy leather gloves to protect yourself in case the animal bites. Even a very small baby can and will bite. Please cage it in a kennel or pet carrier (or any ventilated secure container), and place it in a warm, dark place while seeking help.

Food & Water

Do not feed a raccoon. Feeding too quickly or inappropriately can cause illness and death.

Coexisting with Raccoons:

  • Secure trash can lids so that raccoons cannot get into them; keep trash cans in a shed or garage.
  • Eliminate access to food in your yard, place pet food inside, secure pet doors at night, pick up fallen fruit around the garden and restrict the use of birdseed. They eat insects, nuts, worms, frogs, shellfish, fish, mammals, birds, eggs, grubs, snakes, and fruits.
  • In the wild, it dens in tree hollows, hollow logs, or sometimes rocky caverns. In urban areas, raccoons may nest in drainpipes, basements, crawl spaces and house attics.
  • If a raccoon is digging in the yard, sprinkle cayenne pepper to discourage grub-hunting.
  • Trim branches that provide access to the house.
  • Bright lights, loud sounds and vinegar-soaked rags may act as deterrents. They are nocturnal but are occasionally active in daytime.
  • The raccoon’s primary enemies are humans, dog packs, traps, and automobiles. If threatened, the raccoon will often try a counter threat, fluffing out its fur so that it appears larger and uttering a throaty growl or cry. Raccoons may appear bold but usually are not aggressive except during mating season or when defending their young. However, their strength, teeth, and claws equip them to defend themselves effectively.



  • Was this article helpful?