Do Raccoons Attack People?

newbiegardner(Z10 S. Florida)December 3, 2008

Folks,

My 7 year old daughter and I went outside around 9 p.m. tonight to check on our chickens in the coop (it is cold for South Florida tonight) and we saw a single raccoon about 100 feet away.

It looked straight at me while I had the coop door open and begain walking towards me slowly. We have seen raccoons before but they usually RUN from us....not walk toward us.

Anyway, I didn't worry at first thinking it would "spook" and turn away. I turned back to the coop and returned to checking on things. My daughter grabbed my hand and yelled "Daddy, it is still coming!!!".

I looked up to see it less than 50 feet away from us and still approaching slowly.

Afraid to turn my back to it....both my daughter and I slowly backed away towards our home....the raccoon froze for a few seconds.

We kept backing up until we were within 20 feet of our patio door...and then turned and made a dash for the door.

When we turned around to look from the safety of our home, it was nowhere to be seen.

At this point, I realized I DID NOT LOCK THE COOP.

I left my daughter inside and returned to lock the coop....looking nervously around me the entire time. Nothing.

I locked the coop and hurried inside.

Am I paranoid? Should I be scared? Do raccoons attach people? Could this one have rabies?

We have a swingset in our backyard...is it safe to let my daughters play in the backyard during the day? Evening?

"Jeepers"! I've never had a raccoon "stare me down" before and certainly never had one walk TOWARDS me.

Any advice for us "city folks"? BTW, we live in the city but in an area of wooded 1 acre lots.

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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Racoons do occasionally attack people, especially rabid ones. They can do some real damage. typically it is only a problem if you approach them and corner them, or endanger their young. This one was probably curious, racoons do not hunt people. Be careful and don't reach for one ever even if its half dead, but you don;t have to be afraid, it knows that in a scrape it would probably do worse than you.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 11:22PM
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nelda1234

newbiegardner,

coons are curious little devils - We used to hunt many moons ago when it was profitable, never had one go on the attack. I now live on 4 acres of woods and I have never seen one during the day. they are nocturnal. I will occasionally see them going to there den around 5am. They were more than likely going to check out your chickens and see what was for dinner! Now knowing that you have a preditor you will need to check over your chicken coop very carefully for any holes,loose boards,fencing, if you are in doubt reinforce it. You can also put out a live trap and take him very far away - remember he has friends and WILL bring them back. You also have to remember most of wildlife has become unafraid of humans because their habitat has been envaided and there food source has become trash cans/garbage and unfortunetly for us our chickens and pets. Of course any wild animal who feels that they are cornered will defend itself, walking away slowly facing the coon was the right thing to do. The raccoon could have rabies -but would have charged you and your daughter. You can call your local DNR and have them put out the live trap, they then will take it to a safe location or put it down if it does have rabies. Your daughter will be fine playing on her swing I however would supervise if she is going to be out in the evening, at least until you decided what to do. Make sure your trash is in a tightly sealed container, there little hands can open lots of things and do lots of damage,playing it safe is a good way to seeing that he has nothing to eat at your house, they also like to eat your seed out of your birdfeeders I had one at night that totally tore up one of my feeders - he is no more! (coon hunting season starts on November 8th) I have for years now been putting my feeders up at night and rehanging them again in the morning. makes my life alot easier and less expensive.

Nelda

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 11:44PM
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jenica(7B)

They just had a story about a raccoon attacking this lady on NPR's, "This American Life". She was walking in the woods near her house and the thing charged her. She had a winter coat on and that protected her somewhat. She ended up pinning it down and calling her husband and son with her cellphone to help her because she couldn't get up without it attacking her some more. The husband and son came out and held it down with a stick and thought they could just whack it over the head once and kill it humanely. They ended up hitting it for about 20 minutes before the thing finally died. Needless to say the raccoon had rabies and the lady had to get a rabies shot as it had bitten her even through all her winter clothes. Rabies gives animals crazy resilience and strength.

So anyway be very careful with raccoons. I agree with Nelda that they are curious and it could have just been that but after hearing that story I wouldn't take any chances. When they're rabid they act like they're possessed and your superior size isn't going to help much.

Jenica

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 5:08PM
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johanna_h(Z5 SW MI)

I once had a coon in my suburban backyard. It moved kind of slowly and didn't spook. I called a trapper, because I was concerned about my dog and the coon getting into it.

Well the trapper set a trap with tuna or cat food or something stinky, and for about three days the coon stayed in the tree and didn't go down to the food.

Finally I came around the corner one day to see the coon on the ground. I got the hose and "guided" it into the trap.

When the expert came to pick it up, he said it was very unusual behavior for a raccoon and it was probably sick with distemper. He didn't charge me for trapping it, since it was such an unusual situation.

Can you set a trap to try to catch the raccoon? Around here you can pay animal control under $5 to take it away and destroy it. It's really not kind to drive it five miles away and release it in an unfamiliar place that is someone else's territory.

That's my advice.

--Johanna

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 7:03PM
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mersiepoo(6)

Pretty much what everyone else said, if it's sick with rabies or distemper or some disease, they won't run or be afraid. We had a raccoon that kept trying to get into our house during the daytime! My husband got rid of it with the help of Smith and Wesson, ha ha! I'd definitely keep away from any raccoons that didn't run or act afraid. I'd dispatch them if possible since they do carry rabies a lot, ditto feral cats. In my old neighborhood some lady was feeding wild cats and one bit her and tested positive for rabies.

I'm glad it didn't go after you and your daughter, or go into the coop with your chickens!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 7:55PM
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thinknpink

I had a rabid coon once on my back porch, I let my dogs out mid-day and heard all kinds of noise. I snatched my dogs up quickly and took them back inside. This Racoon was real sick. I ran and found a Kennel and used a broom to shove him into it. Took the kennel to the back of the woods and left the door open. I bleached the whole area after that. He Was sick enough to be out in mid day and just looked sick. That's just one country story .I have Hawk stories and snake stories...Life in the country..So peacfull..Not!!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 12:11AM
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BigCountry24_live_com

I had a raccoon outside that wouldn't leave me alone. I have a dog and was worried about it. I fired two rounds into the ground to scare it a way. It worked then the sherriffs office came and took my rifle.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 1:26PM
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myfamilysfarm

Most of the times, raccoons will not come out in daylight. but they will come out at dusk and dawn. You don't say, where in FL you are, but I know just outside of Tampa's city limits there had been several raccoons with rabies. If it comes back, and it probably will for your chickens, get rid of it somehow.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 5:40PM
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trianglejohn

Most of the time any raccoons I crossed paths with would either run away afraid or try to hide and snarl at me but one time while out walking I saw a small group of them and one of them puffed up real big and grunted and charged at me like a mean dog. I stood my ground and it eventually ran off but it did come about 5 feet from me. It didn't act sick. It acted like a tiny pissed off bear. So I have seen them charge a human even when they didn't seem sick but it is rare.

I used to raise small cage birds in large wire cages hung in the shade of some oak trees. The cages were made to withstand a wild animal trying to get into them to kill the birds. When I heard the birds squawking I would go out and chase off whatever it was bothering them. Most of the time it was stray cats or opossums. The biggest problems were blue jays and raccoons - they would try all day or all night to get the birds no matter what I did to scare them off. One night a raccoon had stuck its finger through the wire and pinned a bird by its tail against the cagewire. It couldn't hurt it but it wouldn't let it go either. I showed up with one of those extra large maglite flashlights. No matter what I did the raccoon would not leave the bird alone - I sprayed it with a garden hose (full blast to the face!), hit it with a plastic bucket, hit it with a board,, finally I began really hitting it hard with the flashlight. I probably hit it hard a dozen times before it finally pulled its fingers out of the wire and walked away. I'm a big guy and I tell you I was using all my body weight to bash that guy and it meant nothing to him, he just sauntered off like nothing had happened. So they are tough little animals. If I had a gun and if I believed in using guns I could have shot him point blank, he wasn't afraid of me at all.

Your neighbors may be feeding the 'coons which will cause them to be extra tame around humans.

Keep in mind that they have nothing better to do then figure out a way to get into your chicken coop and they are smart. Be careful.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 10:07AM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

The biggest problem is that there is always at least one person in the neighborhood that loves to feed them. Then they lose any fear of humans and start to see humans as a food source.

That coon was probably strolling over to see what you'd brought out for him to eat.

However, raccoons on the east coast are the primary carriers of rabies, so stay well away from them. I worked in animal control in Maryland and during a rabies epidemic and 75% of the raccoons that we caught tested positive for rabies.

They do not have to appear sick to infect you. The virus is in their saliva several days before they show symptoms.

Do not take any chances with rabies. If a raccoon bites you, scratches you, or gets any spit on you, go and take the rabies series. It is BS that the shots are painful; a lie told to children to keep them away from wild animals.

If you have a lot of raccoons in the area, there is a rabies vaccination for humans, just like you vaccinate your dogs to prevent rabies. Talk to your doctor about getting your child vaccinated if you are really worried about it.

The rabies vaccine for dogs and cats is extremely effective. Properly vaccinated animals do not get rabies, so keep the pet's vaccinations up to date. That's the best protection for your family.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 4:49PM
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sanel1991_ymail_com

ok i have a raccoon where i work and its always in the garade, i am currently at work and it just knocked down the garbage can and was eating stuff out of it, its 2 23 am and idk if i should go outside to pick the garbage can up cuz its somewhere under a car? could attack me idkk

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 3:25AM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

I went out one day to find a fat coon SWIMMING out to my ducks in the pond.
I screeched for hubby to get the gun and he fled thankfully.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 4:21PM
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