What You Don’t Know About Rabid Raccoons

Edited by
Inga Cryton
Reading Time: 24 minutes.
Updated: .

Rabies is not a thing of the past. Every day someone in the world dies from this fatal viral disease. Feeding or petting infected raccoons may put your family at high risk for exposure to this viral disease.

Raccoon rabies can be passed to people. The deadly nature of the disease is one of the main reasons that it is considered such a serious disease. What’s more rabies can’t be diagnosed in a raccoon accurately. To get an accurate diagnosis, the raccoon’s brain must be examined.

How to protect your family and pets and how to avoid exposure from this deadly viral disease? Learn about rabid raccoons, the symptoms of disease in raccoons and methods of prevention.

Are they dangerous to humans?

Have a strong temptation to pet a cute raccoon? No matter how cute the raccoon is, it’s a bad idea. Raccoons can be infected with rabies and can turn aggressive toward people or animals.

Rabies is nearly always fatal.

Oh my, for me? And all I got you was rabiesSo what is rabies? This is a viral disease that affects mammals. The virus affects the central nervous system travelling from the site of the bite to the brain – through the nerves over a period of three to eight weeks. The patient doesn’t show signs of disease over this period. However, once the virus reaches the brain it produces inflammation.

At this time the patient starts to show signs of rabies such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Seizures

Once these symptoms appear, the disease is nearly always fatal.

Do raccoons carry rabies?

Yes, they do. These destructive animals are known as one of the most common carriers of rabies – zoonotic disease – in the U.S. Most rabid raccoons start acting extremely aggressive and become dangerous to humans and pets. In some states, this pesky animal is classified as a rabies vector species. It means raccoon can not only carry but also transmit rabies. The most effective way to stop raccoon rabies is vaccinating wild raccoons, instead of killing them.

If your pet has been in a fight with a potentially rabid raccoon, wear gloves – when dealing with a pet – to keep any still-fresh saliva from getting into an open sore.

Do raccoons carry rabiesPeople may be exposed through contact with infected raccoons or infected pets. That is why, most communities have laws that require the vaccination of pets against rabies.

Do all raccoons have rabies? All raccoons don’t have rabies. To contract rabies, raccoons must be exposed to the saliva of some infected animal.

How do raccoons get rabies?

According to the Human Society, animals that have rabies can spread the virus only by biting another creature – like raccoon or squirrel – during the final stage of the disease. Raccoons are most likely to be infected with rabies. Once exposed to the virus this pesky animal may show no signs of having rabies for 2 months or longer. After this period, about 90% of raccoons with rabies exhibit unusual, identified-with-the-disease behaviors.

Worldwide, about 50% of people die from rabies every year.

When the lethal virus enters the raccoon’s body through exposure to the saliva of a sick/infected raccoon, the disease attacks the animal’s nervous system, moving to the salivary gland, brain and other areas and affecting cognitive, motor, and other functions.

The infectious path of rabies virus

Rabid raccoons are dangerous to humans and other animals. What to do in case you have to deal with a possibly rabid animal? The safest way is to telephone the police or animal control authorities. Experts have the knowledge and equipment necessary to euthanize the dangerous animal.

Rabies cannot go through unbroken skin.
You or your pet can be exposed to rabies only via a bite from a rabid raccoon/animal or possibly through abrasions, open wounds, scratches or mucous membranes in contact with brain tissue or saliva from a rabid raccoon/animal.

To help keep your family safe from the threat of raccoon rabies, take the following measures:

  1. Keep your pets up to date on their rabies vaccines;
  2. Cover all garbage cans securely to avoid attracting raccoons to your property;
  3. Don’t feed raccoon in your yard. Doing so will encourage the animal to return to your yard.
  4. Don’t allow your pet – dog or cat – to run at large;
  5. Once your pet has finished eating outside, remove the feeding dish.

Rabid raccoons are dangerous to dogs

Raccoon trappingTired of raccoons tormenting your pets and uprooting your yard? Read here working info on raccoon trapping. Use our smart trapping tips and don’t let destructive animals turn your property into their dining-room.

Here’s how natural repellent can help you to repel raccoons effectively. Learn how to make the process of raccoon removal much easier.

Let’s face it: Raccoon removal is not an easy task. However you can consult with raccoon extermination services – here is how to do it.

Signs of rabies in raccoons

As far as rabies can be passed to people from raccoons you are to know and recognize the signs and symptoms of a rabid/sick raccoon.

  • Rabies advisoryEarly signs of rabies in raccoons are acting disoriented, seeming partially paralyzed or sick, walking unsteadily or moving without apparent purpose.
  • As the infection progresses raccoons can make unusual voices which can include chattering, screeching and other unusual sounds they don’t normally make.
  • Final stages – when rabid raccoons are close to death. At this period of disease raccoons may have problems with moving. Raccoon’s hind legs may become paralyzed. The animals may drool and froth at the mouth. It is essential to avoid animals in this condition and to prevent your dog or cat from coming into contact with sick raccoons.
If you see a rabid raccoon, don’t try to chase off or capture the animal. Call your local animal control service, describe the raccoon’s behavior and request the animal to be removed.
If you’ve come in contact with a strangely behaving raccoon, call the doctor as quickly as possible.

Top Five Signs of a Rabid Raccoon

  • I'm crazy raccoonUnexplained aggression or lethargy;
  • Raccoon looks slow, disoriented or confused;
  • The animal seems to be unaware of noises that would normally send it scurrying to another location;
  • Loss of raccoon’s leg function due to paralysis;
  • Throat muscle constriction that causes drooling, choking and frothing of the mouth.

If a typically nocturnal animal – like a raccoon – is exhibiting abnormal behavior during the day, you are to seek advice from wildlife rehabilitator or your local animal control.

Following our simple recommendations will help prevent both your pet and your family from being exposed to raccoon rabies.

You can find further details of Raccoons Control here.

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  1. Giving a racoon the rabies shot,will it cure the animal?

    • You can give them a vaccine to prevent rabies but once they start to show symptoms it’s too late.

    • Unfortunately no. Once the animal starts showing symptoms there is nothing that can be done to cure it.

    • rabies cannot be cured only prevented. a vaccination will prevent a bitten animal from becoming sick.

  2. If there are baby racoons living in my yard can I somehow get them vaccinated

    • City usually drops food (pellets) mixed with vaccine. For raccoons, skunks and foxes. This measure keeps rabies under control. Probably that is the safest way to get your backyard wildlife vaccinated…

  3. If you shoot & kill a very sick raccoon, what do you do with the body- could scavengers get sick from it?

    • You would burn it

  4. This information is somewhat misleading. Raccoons have to be bitten by a rabid animal to contract rabies. This article makes it sound like all raccoons carry rabies. There is only one case that I know of where a person actually died of rabies due to a raccoon. I have raised several orphaned raccoons with no issues.
    If you have raccoons living in your attic, shed etc… chances are it’s a mama and her young. Mama coon will move to a new location when the babies get old enough. Sometimes sooner. Most nocturnal animals don’t stay in any one den for any real length of time. Have a little patience and they will move out on their own. There is no reason to call in the police or “pest removers” so they can kill the animal. They are very beneficial little creatures and generally don’t bother anyone if you keep a safe distance. If you’re looking t get rid of a few attic dwellers try leaving lights and a radio on. Once they are gone, board up the entrance.. although make sure there are no babies before you block an entrance.. as this could cause more damage by mom trying to get to her young.

    • Liz, I had a run in with a raccoon today the poor think was trapped in a tree by my dogs…long story short the raccoon tried to climb down the dogs grabbed it’s foot trying to pull it through the fence I was pushing the dogs back with the shovel and I am on the same side of the fence with the raccoon…well when the dogs let loose of him he jumped to me on my leg and hung on for life when he realized the dogs did not have him he let go and ran. I went to the doctor and he seemed to think that the raccoon was acting normal and did not feel I needed rabies shots…I have been looking online to see if a raccoon MUST be showing signs of rabies to actually pass it to another animal or human or does it just have to be a carrier.

      • Raccoon must have, and be showing signs of, rabies to pass it.

        The only animal I know of that ‘carries’ rabies are bats. A large percent of the bat population carries it, without showing any signs. Until some kind of stressor lowers their immune system, then it goes active. But there is enough in their system that a healthy looking bat who bites you for a perfectly normal reason (you are trying to catch one that got in your house, for example) CAN give you rabies.

        Any other animal — to my knowledge, and I am NOT an expert! — would be acting strange before they could pass it to you.

        • i believe i have read a article says that after fout days if exposure to rabies a bat will die from symptoms. I believe this is a common misconception. bats die of rabies symptoms and only less than 6 percent of the weak and sick bats tested by the cdc where positive for rabies. The danger comes because people sometimes don’t know if they are bitten and don’t get the shots. Also bats are more abundant than coons so people encounter them more frequently. although racoons have a higher rabies percentage they cause less human rabies cases because people know when they are bitten by raccoons and then they are administered vaccines. Like all mamals bats die of rabies.

          • sorry about typos i was typing fast

          • Will, my wife & I are legal wildlife rehabers. We accept orphaned raccoons mostly. We have raised possums, deer & a black bear. You’ve probably heard that all raccoons have rabies. That’s very very far from the truth. We have been able to raise & release over 500 coons since 2006. Playing with them while they mature, I’ve been nipped untold number of times & haven’t caught rabies yet. If you run across a raccoon that seems to be unsteady & aggressive, that’s one that you should be wary of.

            • Hi. I found 2 unopened eyed baby raccoons. I have raised squirrel and all that. But I’m not sure what to do here. I have plenty of space for them.

              • People are the pest that you’re referring to. We have raised, rehabilitated & released 597 raccoons since 2005 & have been nipped by most of them just playing. We haven’t caught rabies yet. You are more apt to get rabies from a squirrel than a raccoon. As a member of a wildlife rescue group, we have received many orphaned animals from animal control, sheriffs deputy’s, veterinarian’s, the veterinarian school in Deland, Fla. and many people that get our phone number.

    • I love that you take care of them if they are orphans. Good for you

      • Raccoons are filthy, dangerous animals! I was mauled by one in September that had no mercy on me!! They should not be orphaned that fool is putting herself in danger! They are not meant to be pets!! They carry disease even if not rabid. I know idiots who have had them as pets & they 100% of the time they have been turned on & attacked!! They serve no purpose & like skunks & other varmints should be destroyed!!!!!!!!

        • You are harsh, there is no reason why Gods creatures should be destroyed, they were here before you, if anyone should go it is you not them. You for acting so evil towards innocent, harmless creatures that have hurt no one. You should get a heart and some common sense, while you are at it, also, to to hell for being so evil who ever you are.

        • So glad that you are remain anonymous…our son/family has two loving friendly skunks and raised in a home with 5 kids/dogs/cat. He has a special license to keep them. One is white with pink eyes and another one is brown and white. Another friend has a raccoon she has raised since she found abandoned only weeks old. He sleeps with the dogs and goes out potty with them. He’s about 46lbs and goes to the vet….So what i’m saying is that some wildlife is not all bad, give them their space…its their world too. I live on a lake and have swans and geese/ ducks always around. Nature lover here!

    • Hi not sure where you are located lookin for help info on babies

    • Liz,
      raccoons are known to be prone to rabies. As well as skunks, foxes and bats. Some animals like possums are opposite and contract rabies very rarely. Robust immune system, sorta.
      Google RVS

      • The Possums body temperature is too low for the rabies virus to live.

        • 98% or more of the time this is correct an opossum’s body temp is too low to contract rabies. There is that very slight 2% or less that an opossum might contract rabies, so always watch for symptoms.

    • We’re members of wildlife rescue organization known as “Friends of Nature”. My wife & I have been able rescue over 500 orphaned coons and have been nipped by most of them while handling or playing with them. Very few raccoons contract the virus and the likelihood of catching rabies from one of them is minimal. We’ve had to keep several over the years due to injuries/illness and they’ve made wonderful pets but, they’re very curious animals and will get into everything they can, and that’s everything. We love the ones that we’ve had to keep but if at all possible, wildlife belongs in the wild. Don’t be afraid of wildlife, respect it.

      • I had a racoon in my yard yesterday. Im not one to kill animals but I had to call someone to come get him he was in the yard all day then came to the porch I felt so sorry for him he was so slow and had saliva hanging from his mouth I gave him a pan of water. The humane raccoon people said they couldn’t come the humane society never answered and the police told me to just stay in the house with my gbabies and dogs that he would move on. He wasn’t going no place he stayed for a long time. My husband and son got him in a big fishing net and took him to the woods I bleached everything down and my dogs have there rabies shot do you think everything will be fine. Im kinda scared now. Can the saliva cause any problems for my dogs that maybe got left on the porch?

    • I think that what the article meant to say is that all racoons need to be treated as potentially rabid. Rabies is one of the worst viral diseases, as it is highly contagious, and in some cases, even with the best available treatments, patients die. I would stay as far as I can from wild racoons

    • Thank you. I just got an orphaned baby raccoon found inside of my work warehouse. Mama left it for 2 days until I got it. Its doing very well in kitten milk. Not holding it a lot only at greetings. Don’t want to keep him. I want him to go back in wild. AND I DONT WANT TO GET ATTACHED TO THE CUTE LIL BOY. Everybody keeps saying Its carrying rabies. Cuz all raccoons do. You clarified that they all don’t. Thank you

      • It was supposed to say only at feedings, not greetings.

      • Jody, I suggest doing some research and see if you can find a wildlife rescue/sanctuary that will take it. Your baby won’t survive if you release it. They have instincts but have to be taught by mom how to hunt. Instincts only go so far. Also, it depends on what state you are in but most “rescues” will put down a raccoon so you have to be careful and do your homework. I live in OH and know of only one sanctuary that caters mostly to raccoons. If you are close to OH I’m sure they would be glad to give it a home. They can make good pets but only if they are spayed/neutered.

        • Please let me know the rescue/ sanctuary in OH you know because I just rescued a baby coon.

      • Hi, my name is Kathy, I wanted to ask if the little baby raccoon is dong fine as the one I found ended up passing away. I am asking as I am trying to figure out if I did something wrong or if he was just sick from the begging. Luv Kathy Krol.

    • Rabies or not, racoons are viscious fighers and can easily kill a larger dog. Several times I had to beat/fight them off while dragging my digs inside, out of harms way.
      I used to think ‘Coons were soooo cute: now I’ll kill any or all of them to protect my dogs. They are EVIL

    • Umm..I appreciate your pro life for raccoons. However, if you care for them and have so much experience. Then you should know raccoons are very smart and can be very dangerous. A few years ago I lived in a 4 residence duplex like 2 story condo on the Marsh. Those raccoons were not scared of anything. I could flick house light, car headlights, yell, and scream. They’d just stand there and stare at me like, “lady, are you done yet?” I’d drive up into my driveway at 2:00 in the afternoon in broad daylight and 6 would be standing behind bushes looking for I guess lizards. They’d peak their heads up listening and watching as a car drove by. Then put their heads back down and right back to whatever they were doing. I had a 2 year old child at the time. Not long after these raccoons showed me their courage and bravery I moved!!!

    • Do you get the orphan raccoons vaccinated and if so could you please tell me where I can get some? We have rescued one recently and it is our first so we are learning lol. Thanks

    • Well why maybe you did not get rabies is because they did not scratch you?

    • Well did you not get scratched?

    • Liz I have a teenage raccoon, I just rescued, an she has let me touch her and then she goes into seizure then comes out of it like nothing happen is this a sign of Rabbies?

    • I don’t think this article made it sound like ALL raccoons have rabies. What I took from this article is that raccoons are the biggest carrier of the disease. That makes a lot of sense too since raccoons are scavenger eaters and will eat anything. Even an animal that just died of rabies, like a squirrel, rat, or whatever other else kind of roadkill or diseased animal that is dead and rotting. It doesn’t matter to a raccoon, it’s food!

  5. How are you feeling? Did everything go okay?

  6. i bottle fed a baby raccoon and i think my child some how got a hold of the bottle from wich i fed the baby raccoon what should i do????

  7. Bit alarmist don’t you think? There was ONE death from raccoon transmitted rabies last year, and relatively early treatment( a day or so)is 100% successful.

    • I think better an alarmist than dying such a horrific death from rabies. If you don’t really understand the seriousness of rabies, or don’t understand how incredibly painful of a death it is, or how tragically heartbreaking it would be to ignore the seriousness and watch a loved one die of rabies, go to YouTube and watch a few video’s. You’ll NEVER think of it the same again. I also advise you NOT to watch these video’s on a night when maybe you have insomnia and can’t sleep, because it is so terrifying of a death to watch and hear and you definitely will NOT fall asleep afterwards! I’m not exaggerating either!

  8. Does rabies cause blindness in a raccoon?

    • I would like to know the same thing. A raccoon in my yard seems to be blind in one eye.

      • Molly,
        Being blind in one eye is most likely caused by an injury in a fight, raccoons fight horribly.

        • Thank you!

          On another note, if I was only reading the call-outs in this article and saw, “Worldwide, about 50% of people die from rabies every year” I would just kill myself and get it over with. Take a read again; you might want to clarify that statement.

          • Indeed. Must consider the source! This is a site for promoting the “nuisance” industry companies. They aren’t going to share business-killer facts such as Dr. Charles Rupprecht: “..more than 20% of the raccoon population have a natural immunity to rabies, according to the Rabies Unit for the CDC… Healthy individuals should be left in the population to act as a buffer for humans and pets.”

            Or that “indiscriminate trapping/ removing of species such as raccoons can cause artificial spikes of local population repopulating.. creating more animals now, not less ..” That’s Job Security for them, and wasting money for clueless consumers.

  9. I just rescued a raccoon today from my jerk neighbors hitting it with a stick.not a baby,but not full grown either. Shes in an outdoor in closure. Giving her food and water and keeping an eye on her behavior.

  10. Currently witnessing a mama racoon trying to kill her young.. they aren’t infants and are fighting back. Should I be alarmed, could she have rabies?

    • Sheode,
      This is very bizarre, mother raccoons are very attentive and careful with their babies. Are you sure it’s their mother and not a male raccoon moving in? Sometimes a mother will nip at their babies to teach them a lesson but it would be a quick little bite, not an actual attack. Watch them and if you see this happen again and it looks like the babies lives are in danger then grab something with a long handle (like a broom) and shoo the adult attacker away. If this really is the mother then the babies need to be rescued.

  11. Can raccoons Cary rabies and never show signs and if so how old?

    • Hazel,
      Any animal with rabies will eventual show it, a raccoon will have about a month (maybe 8 weeks at the most) to live after contracting rabies and will start showing signs in about 3 weeks or so. They can’t have rabies and never show it.

  12. I have a baby raccoon he is probably 8-10 weeks old he’s gotten aggressive when I try to pick him up he try’s to bite me should I be worried

    • Noah,
      I’ve raised several baby raccoons and have had little wild babies with their mothers visiting my house and I can tell you that they DO NOT like being picked up. It’s just not natural for them to be picked up so don’t be troubled by that. Some raccoons are more docile than others and it sounds like you just got a little feisty one. Nothing to worry about.

  13. I went out to water my horses this morning and there was a raccoon in the pasture. It was busy rubbing something in the dirt and didn’t seem concerned that I was there. I squirted some water by it to see if it would run off, it didnt. I considered shooting it but I didnt. I grabbed a metal dog crate that didn’t have a bottom and thought I would trap it and call animal control. I was holding it at an angle and the coon started walking to it. It then looked at me and ran up a tree. I left for about 30 minutes and when I returned home it was lying on a panel from a dog crate that I had been using to block a window and that had fallen out. It was asleep. It is very skinny and seemed lethargic. I left a metal dog crate covered with a tarp, dog food and a shallow tub of water and went to work. When I got home tonight half the food was gone and the water was spilled. The raccoon was still in the pasture sitting on a cedar stump. None of my animals have paid any attention to it. It hasn’t acted afraid of them or me. It is now dark and it just scared me because it came up on my front porch. It was just checking stuff out and didn’t seem bothered by me or the fact I jumped. It is moving around much better than this morning. My roommate reminded me that our neighbors through the back woods raise coon dogs. On Sunday those dogs were going insane. I suspect my neighbors had been keeping this poor creature as a bait animal. To me that explains the comfort with a wire cage and the lack of fear. My roommate wants me to call a rescue to come get it. This is my property so the ultimate decision is mine. I have a small farm. I have woods and I don’t mind it living here in the woods or in the pastures. My animals are vaccinated and if I can feed it food infused with rabies vaccine, why move it?

    • You are literally the best, I don’t know very many people that would be so kind to an animal that the world sees today as a ‘pest’. Bless you.

      • Me! I have a “wild” raccoon that has gotten so friendly she lets me pet her! She is THE SWEETEST thing. She is gentle and non-aggressive. When I pet her, she stands perfectly still, loving that I rub her neck. I haven’t seen her in a few days, so the MYTH that if you feed them they will never be able to fend for themselves is just that: a MYTH. Little “Rocky” will be back again and she’ll be just as sweet as ever. But dependent on me? Not a chance. She is a wonderful creature to have around and my heart skips a beat when she comes around and peeps into my French doors to the patio to say hello.

        • LOL! I named mine Rocky as well. This is her fourth year coming back to me in Spring. We have a deal. I give her fruit, she leaves my bird feeder alone.

  14. Took in baby racoon on July 1st. Son does paper route at 2am. He was dragging himself across road. No use of rear legs.very thin. Gave him bath. Found 3 ticks, only one attached. Eyes bright, fur clean, gums pale, no fleas. My son had hit one same size 2 wks. earlier but could not find. We feel this might be the same little guy, a long shot i know but not completely impossible.After initial shock wore off he was hungry, was a bit nasty from time to time with good reason he is slowly getting some use of his back legs again. Sometimes he will chew on the on that isn’t coming along as well. He demands attention, loves his scratches and gets excited about his goodies. He has been indoors since coming here. I am having him neutered since I don’t feel he has a 100% chance on his own without full use of all legs. He stays in a kennel but gets plenty of safe (for everyone) time out to play. He has come a long way since coming here. He is also getting a 3 year rabies shot.What I want to know is, I read somewhere that racoons can have rabies for a year before ever showing signs of having it, is this true ?

  15. Hi, saw a young raccoon today sleeping by the side of the road in my neighborhood. The area is very popular with people out for walks, walking their dogs, etc. I tried making noise but it wouldn’t wake. I could see it was breathing. Finally tooted my car horn and it woke up. Acted injured but did move around – mainly in circles. Was not aggressive and did not make any noise. There was a drop of dew or saliva hanging from it’s nose. The wildlife rehab place near me said to call animal control or try to get it in a box or kennel. I ran home and got our cat kennel and some peaches. Set the kennel about 5 feet away along with the fruit. Also tossed some near the raccoon. No interest. Animal control finally came and captured it and took it with them. They felt it was rabid. My question is, Is my cat carrier safe to keep? The raccoon never came near it. I don’t know if it had ever walked in the grass where I set the carrier.

    • Are you freakin’ serious? Nothing’s wrong with the carrier. Grow up or grow some brains already.

      • No need to be snippy! Just don’t know muck about rabies and how it is transmitted.

  16. i was taking out the trash, opened the lid. BOOOM it jumped out brushed up against my arm,no broken skin but should I be concerned? it was like a petting almost.


  17. Hi i ja we been houseing three baby raccons now for about five mo ths. They have never spent a night out of my house since. There my little babys. I had found them when they were only 3 4 weeks old just today the male had seemed stiff and not so limber and while he was eating was frothy at the mouth,no signs of aggression. Nosie dosent seem to affect him. Im just really concerned they mean sooooo much to me ot is actually nbring tears to my eye thinking he might be sick of there is any light u can shed on this please please email me feel free.

  18. I was bit by one of the raccoons that live in my back yard 3 days ago. It did make puncute wounds, teeth marks & bruseing & bled . After labor day the county put something around to prevent tabbies. Should I go to the doctors or Hospital.?

    • This is a good question; was it acting crazy? Raccoons are pretty sweet if they’re stable, I find. A normal raccoon without a reason to bite will be more afraid of you and bite accordingly if you were trying to corner it. If it bit you out of the blue, you might have a problem.

  19. My son was scratched by a racoon last night. It was hiding behind our grill and my son was trying to pick up our cat that was in front of the grill. It broke the skin. Does he need a rabies shot?

  20. As a volunteer wildlife biologist I have been studying a raccoon colony of 7 for 6 years. I spent many hours with our family vet reviewing rabies and raccoons. Here are some important tips to know: 1) Skunks are rabies carriers. They can have rabies for months without symptoms, but offspring will have active rabies that they can aggressively transmit to any unvaccinated animal.
    2) Feed store vaccines are deadly for raccoons-if you vaccinate them you are giving the raccoon/s a dose of rabies. The raccoon may show dumb or aggressive forms of rabies, but will die within 3 to 5 days. 3) If you handle the vaccinated raccoon you need to report to a medical facility to get shots for treatment of rabies. The raccoon must be turned over to animal control and the health department to test the animal for rabies. 4) Any other animals on your property must have current record of a rabies vaccination otherwise they will need to be quarantined up to 30 days. Horses that come in contact with wildlife should also be vaccinated. 5) Due to their unusual metabolism opossums very rarely contract rabies, but they have plenty of other diseases to transmit. 6) Raccoons are an excellent species to study. They are opportunistic, habitual, full of personality, have cunning, nimble hands and fingers. They can open and dismantle a plethora of locks, clips, doors, lids, and will chew through almost anything. 7) They will drown full grown coon hounds. They will raid hen houses for chicks and eggs. 8) They are an excellent study project and I could disclose so many more facts, but most of all be cautious around them and be very wary if you see a raccoon out during the day staggering, drooling, growling, snarling, snapping the air, appearing to choke, showing no fear. Contact animal control to report a possible rabid raccoon. Keep all other animals safely enclosed away from the suspect animal. Most importantly maintain rabies vaccines on all your animals to avoid tragedy of having to lose a beloved pet or valuable livestock and getting vaccines for yourself and family. Hope this information is helpful.

    • Yesterday our neighbor shot a raccoon that was acting strangely, I saw him the night before, he was in the street drinking from a puddle and wouldn’t move out of the way when I drove up. So when we saw him out during the day yesterday he was moving slowly and not afraid we knew something was wrong. How should we dispose him?

  21. Hi I live in Tennessee and have a momma and 2 babies that vist daily. I used to always see the coon at night one day I went to walk outside at noon and there she was standing on my porch eatting the cat food my heart dropped because I have always been told coons out during the day have rabies . She ran off and wasnt swaging or aggressive at all I collected the cats and was searching animal control’s number and discovered a artical about racoons out during the day there were a few reasons . She might have babies or there are alot living in one area or they are moving their den . Well rabies was high down here last year but I have seen a infected coon in the last stage and they acted drunk so I observed her when she came to eat but always chased her off one day i walked out and she didnt really run she stoped and watched me . Now mind you I was not sure why she was visiting now during the day well I tossed my flip flop towards her to scare her well it bumped her in the behind she turned around looked at me looked at the flip flop and grabbed my flip flop and took off well long story short that was last summer and now momma and babies are here nighly and Yes I feed them and they leave. I am gonna call the animal control officer in my area about the pellets and see if I can get some to protect these beautiful creatures . I am gald I didnt call due to what I have been taught my whole life she might have been traped and taken and then 2 babies would have died . So educate ppl on this subject about recoons coming out during the day is not always infected with rabies . But I enjoy them coming and since I feed them cat food they do not rip up my trast or distroy anything.

    • I’m in TN – similar story. Racoon eating barn cats food – so I give her something that will keep her (and now her young ones) busy till cats are done. I do not keep any type of food in barn or food containers in trash. Since I began feeding them, they have not rummaged through the barn or the trash up at the house. Problems solved. Hoping she stays healthy. A friend of mine has had generations coming to eat at her creek. Thank you for sharing.

  22. My husband caught a coon on side of the road on a sunday. He was scratched when he caught it, he brought it home where we have an inside dog and two children. It was a very calm coon and on Monday he tried picking it up with gloves on, he was bitten through the glove and immediately washed and treated with alcohol, we let our dog be near the coon and though he was not bitten, he did lick the coons mouth on tues., (the dog has had all his shots) on wed, the coon seemed paralyzed, he took to vet and the vet thinks he has rabies. He is sending the head off for testing and said bt Friday he should start the rabies shots if they haven’t heard back. Should everyone in the house be treated or just my husband and also should our dog have any further shots?

  23. We’ve raised & released well over 500 coon’s since 2005 & been nipped by many by just playing with them. We’ve lost 14 due to distemper & 10 due to injuries. You’re more apt to getting rabies from a loose dog or cat.

  24. If, my neighbor killed an apparent rabid coon and buried it in a shallow grave is it possible for the rabbies to spread to other local animals?

  25. Im sifting through the comments drinking coffee on my deck as a wild racoon is eating 2 feet away from me. He was tearing up my trash every night but now i make sure i feed him before bed and now he eats and leaves, no more trash everywhere. Tonight i filled up his food and put his dewormer in it and was sitting outside and he slowly walked up and started eating. Ill not be trying to pet him anytime soon but im definatley not scared of him, cautious but not scared. Only coons that have ever hissed at me were mama coons. Im more scared of wild cats!
    They dont drop the rabbies vaccine here in illinois but we havnt had a (reported) case of rabies in this county in over 20 years. I dont see any cause to go out and kill racoons. If they are not causeing problems let them be…but im a animal lover, some of you may feel differently. Id definately be more concerned about distemper or the round worms in their feces. I just deworm any coons that come around my house.

    • What county do you live in? I live in Cook and I have a bit of fear with raccoons having rabies since I have a dog. He’s vaccinated but I’m scared me may bring the virus into my home and infect me somehow? Just curious because my research suggests that only rabid bats are found in Illinois.

  26. a raccoon has been coming around our neighborhood in ontario for the past 3 months and seems to have little fear of people, but is still quite timid. she will sometimes approach and sniff your phone camera if you attempt to photograph her, but then she will wander off. i only ever see her during the daytime, and she has noticeably large teats, so i assume she has babies somewhere nearby. i will admit i have fed her once or twice, but i normally only see her walking through our property down by the water. around two weeks ago i fed her a piece of bread from my hand and she only slightly grazed a very small open wound on my hand and as soon as it happened i ran inside and scrubbed it for a few minutes with soap and water. do you think this raccoon has rabies? should i get a vaccine?

  27. I have had wild raccoons as pets off and on for years, but then again I am one of those true coonasses from down in Louisiana. It is actually not too common for a raccoon to contract rabies. I have one that comes by every evening. He taps on my window to let me know he is there; then I give him my kitties left overs. Sometimes I give him M&M’s as a lil treat. He’s a friendly lil guy. Stops by to say hi, gets a bite to eat, grabs a drink from the cats water bowl and he always, always washes his paws when he is done. (Cleaner than some people I know) People should always respect wildlife; but their is no reason to fear them. Remember, all creatures have the same right to life that you do. I am going to start giving him some vaccine pellets mixed with his food just to help him out in case he ever does come in contact with this disease. I also have a family of possums that I help out too. It is really quite amazing to me to watch all these critters getting along with each other. (cats, possums, rabbits, raccoons and a dog all sharing the same yard at times).

    • Where can I obtain vaccine pellets? How effective are they?

  28. I have had generations of trash pandas living under my deck for 10 years now. I got lucky this summer and got 4 babies. Philipp, Rosie, Lollipop and Cardamon. Buckles, the mom, is around but keeps her distance & does not mind me hanging out with the lil ones anymore. I do not feed them by hand, nor touch them, just in case, but I spend a few minutes with them every day. How do I get a hold of the vaccine pellets? Should I contact Animal Control? Vet? I would be able to make sure each of them get a dose, including the mother. Please let me know. Thank you.

  29. I’m new to site. I have a 6 mth old baby female Raccoon that goes outside at night but sleeps inside during the day. She’s very sweet & friendly. She was stuck in tree this morning, scared & shaking. Upon further review she has one large puncture wound on her left paw (goes all the way through her palm) & another wound on her right palm. She is sleeping now after I cleaned it and put batedine on it. I’m nervous she was attacked by an animal with Rabies. We haven’t had any reported cases in this county this year but my vet friend still has me nervous. What should I do? Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thank you!

  30. Obviously Anonymous is very uneducated! We live in bear country, so we have bears, skunks, raccoons, deer, bats you name it. We’ve been trying to catch a feral cat, in doing so, we have attracted many “varmints” we no longer leave the cat food out. Lol not enough to go around the whole dang forest! Any ways, the skunks are very beneficial to us, we no longer need Clarkes pest control. The raccoons just come here to swim in our pond and have been fairly friendly, we also have a black bear who comes and eats the grub out of the logs, all these animals have been nothing but respectful to us and us to them. The skunks provide endless hours of entertainment on our security camera! To say these animals should be put down is just disgusting to me. Yes, if they are sick. But if a bear comes on your property it doesn’t mean he is there to hurt you! Please educate yourselves before jumping to conclusions about wild animals

    • Agreed Rose. We as humans are invading their territories by putting up new houses and cutting down woods. We ought to show these animals some respect. People are uneducated and irresponsible. Meanwhile they are probably leaving food out that attracts the animals.

    • FYI, Rose. The lingering of a skunk smell actually attracts other animals because their instincts tell them that there was some type of fight where the odor originates, most commonly over food.
      I learned this when we rescued 4 baby skunks from under our front porch. We were gullible enough to let a trapper “peacefully capture” the momma and the babies came out during the day to find food. Breaks my hear to this day, but the babies went to a good rescue place where we watched them grow.

  31. Today after 4:30 PM we saw a raccoon behaving strangely walking around kind of dizzy. We called the police and they came out the first time and said we had to wait until the morning when Animal Control officers would be there. My mother who lives on the next street saw it again and called the police again. A patrolman and later his supervisor came out observed the animal behaving strangely. They did nothing and left. It is now 2 AM and I can hear the animal making strange noises.

  32. Just made another phone call the Camden County dispatcher said the police will not cull the animal unless it is inside your home or attacking someone. The police do not have the training to determine if the animal is rapid. It must be caught and tested to make that determination.

  33. Are rabies vaccine pellets available for purchase by landowners with many raccoons on their property? Thanks,

  34. I found a raccoon in my driveway this morning at 8am. He was stumbling, falling, lethargic and confused. I assumed he had been hit by a car. I put him in a large kennel with food and water and a blanket to keep warm because it was 29 degrees. After a little while, the raccoon was foaming at the mouth and began having seizures.

    I called the police (who are also animal control) and they said they don’t deal with wildlife, even if it a hazard.

    I don’t know what to do with him. He’s isolated in the yard so the feral cats that visit are safe. It makes me sad that he’s laying there suffering. I know I can’t comfort him without putting myself in danger and this is breaking my heart.

    I’m especially shocked that no authority will help when it’s obvious this guy is rabid.

    • Sorry pal. Sounds awful. What did you end up doing?

  35. something attacked my dogs tonight while out in the back yard. My one dog has a bite or scratch on his lip and the other a scratch down her back. I seen what appeared to be a raccoon, scurrying up a tree in my back yard. Should I be concerned? I could not tell if it had any signs that this site mentions, as it was nearly up the tree, but it did move quickly and my dogs do have a tendency to stick their noses where they do not belong. So I’m not sure if it was provoked or not.

    • If you have your dogs pets are vaccinated you should have nothing to worry about. I assume since you are asking, you are an irresponsible human being and you don’t have them vaccinated.

  36. I know this is an old blog, but I wanted to say the writer is completely full of $h!T. In America, on average one person dies a year, not a day. Maybe every day in other countries, and those aren’t from raccoons. If you want to get rid of raccoons, stop throwing trash and food outside your house – plain and simple.
    We have a albino raccoon that we feed. He’s all white with read eyes. I was about 3 ft from him in the garage one day, I didn’t know he was in there and he didn’t attack me at all.
    Leave them alone and they will leave you alone. And for the scum bags who say “it attacked my dog”… NO you’re dog attacked it. It defended itself. Stop being a POS and letting your dog out unattended and this wont happen. It’s scumbags like you who’s dogs I have to pull off the side of the road when I see them hit by cars.

  37. I rescued a raccoon yesterday. My dogs were nipping at it. Not a full grown one but not a baby. This was during the day. I put it in my laundry room with food and water. It was pretty bad off yesterday just laid there. But now it is eating and I’ve let it wonder around my house and explore. I am concerned though. It does not act normal. First off when I ran my dogs away from it, I asked my wife to go get the pet carrier. As I squated down near the animal,it crawled up into my lap. Not aggressive at all more like a scared kitten. It allowed me to carry it a few hundred yards to my house. I’ve always heard rabies infected animals are aggressive and foam around mouth. This thing acts like a cat. Very curious and will come up pretty much to climb on you. But my concerns are it is having seizures and time to time acts disoriented. I’m not sure what I should do at this point. No one has been scratched or bitten. I am just concerned for the poor animal. I’m scared it’s not well enough to go into the wild now.

    • Seizures are the last stage of rabies and will die soon. Very sad. Im sorry. Please don’t touch it. See if animal control can euthanized it to end its suffering, I had same issue, and NOONE wants to help …

  38. Having the same experience, a coonie we found seems to have been hit, ,made its way to the back yard where it’s laid for a week plus,,,not old but not a real young male. He has little movement in his legs especially the back ones but will stay standing up if you put food in front of him. He’s so sweet and falls asleep in my lap. He’s got signs that should scare me if he weren’t so darn sweet! Some Paralysis, choking when eating, open wounds, hair loss, tightens up in pain when sleeping, a little teeth chattering if eating somthing sweet like cereal but he’s nothing but skin and bones! All the places that could help are full! We think he went through half a week laying out in a snow storm. Poor thing. We feel like he’s improving with his weight gain and alertNess over the week, Lord knows he’s gotten sweeter and he’s still very nocturnal. I did raise a few baby’s and a big old silver male (Leroy) that never regained his motor skills to stop shaking. I drug the old male home when neighbor’s were going to shoot him, I knew nothing about any dangers of rabies! Hopefully like Leroy, this one too has just been hit by a car and survived some terrible weather conditions but will have a full strong recovery. He’s just a genuine sweet little thing to have gone through so much and acts like he knows he’s being helped.

  39. 5 Days ago on my way to work there was a raccoon on the side of the road looks like he was hit he let me pick him up and move him off in a wooded area off the road after 8 hours of work I stopped back where I left him he was still there he couldn’t walk and was very lethargic I wrapped him in a blanket and brought him home he’s not eating and drinking on his own at first sight of use a syringe he started walking around and wanted out of this cage he actually got out of the cage when I try to put him back in he bit me now I’m worried if he could have rabies but it’s improving I always thought once they start showing signs of rabies they don’t get better in this case she’s doing better so I’m hoping it was just from the shock of getting hit by a car anyone have any ideas

  40. I love raccoons, I feed them daily in NYC – in the parks. I have yet to see one acting strange but I sure as hell see lots of strange acting humans! I understand that raccoons can carry rabies but I have yet to meet a raccoon who wants to get close enough to humans or dogs to bite. It would be strictly defensive. Just keep your distance like you would from any wild animal and no problems!

  41. To all the people who want to distroy animals ….nothing will ever change a cold rotten soul.
    All animals, all species, cute or not so cute have the same right to life as humans. We have encroached on their lands and taken away their food sources. Wild animals are just trying to survive. They are not here to attack you. Just let them be and they will move on peacefully. Each one serves a purpose.
    Educate yourself to spot the signs of rabies. I rescue animals and babies …..usually from humans that harm them or kill the parents. Protect yourself always!
    Please please please….if you spot a fawn alone seeming helpless laying in the Grass…leave it alone. Well meaning animal lovers “rescue” abandoned fawns and many die in captivity and will lead a sad life in a cage somewhere. The fawns mother will return for it. (Keep a watchful eye from afar and I guarentee the next day it will be gone) newborns are always hidden alone while mom forages for food. She will not return if she sees you and feels unsafe. If fawn is in imminent danger from dogs, mowing etc…please keep fawn safe, but return to spot it was found as soon as possible. Mom will be back, probably at nighttime when mom feels safe ……
    I have a family of deer (5 generations now!) Living on my property.
    They know who I am and bring their babies pretty close….I try to have as little contact as possible (as cute as those fawns are!) But do not want them to believe humans are safe to be around. As some of these posts varify. Thank you to all of the people who try to help any animal in distress.

  42. Would a raccoon bite a kangaroo if it could? Why would it even do that?

    • I don’t know why a raccoon would bite a kangaroo. Perhaps it would want it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

  43. Hey! If you have a raccoon inside your house, lure it outside with marshmallows!

  44. Those stinkin’ raccoons!

  45. Just prank a raccoon’s butt off until it leaves!

  46. Use whoopie cushions and other loud stuff to prank a raccoon!

  47. Or do this!…peek out of the curtain and say,” Raaahhhh! I am not a friendly human! I am a monster! Leave or I will bite you with my fangs! GRAGGGGGGG!” That will scare the raccoon that it will run out of the house.

  48. A raccoon attacked my pug today in broad daylight. The raccoon came out of some bushes and ran over to my dog and viciously attacked him. My dog didn’t provoke anything. He was smelling the grass. And he is vaccinated. My neighbor said that the same raccoon shredded a squirrel to bits and ate it yesterday on her back patio. This is scary as hell and I want that raccoon gone asap. Any suggestions?

  49. hallow i was chased down a dirt road after i got my four wheeler stuck and the raccoon kept chasing me until i went inside but the crazy thing is he didn’t bite me i was just wondering if i might have a chance of getting a virus

  50. There is this baby raccoon that was found, when we feed her she smacks her lips really quickly when done eating and it looks like a little foam develops at the corners of her mouth. Is this rabies ? Formula build Up? What should I Do? She is about 5 weeks old

  51. My name is Kathy, I found a baby raccoon, maybe 4 to 5 weeks old, on Friday, trying to get in an old bordered up shead, from the street side, he was unsuccessful and ended up on the side walk an hour later. I don’t think he got out from the shead because the whole was to small. He was fine eating, playing and going to the bathroom, until this Wednesday afternoon, I left for few hours leaving him sleeping, when I got back, he was very sick, weak and making weird sounds, also he had foam coming out of his mouth. He managed to eat, but as the hours went by, he got worse and worse. He died at 3:50am, now, when I checked on him. I don’t’ understand, why did he get sick so fast? Did I do something wrong? I fed him baby kitten formula. I also think that I should get a rabies shot as I am worried now after reading the comments on your site. Please explain this to me as I am very devestaded, all the stories here of raccoons found seem to be fine, so why did mine get sick? Thank you very much if you get back to me, luv Kathy.

  52. I named him Rocky, but I think it was a girl. Also, he was amazing, the way he played, grabbing and chewing on the little teddy I give him. He held his bottle when I fed him and he would cover his eyes if the light was to bright for him. I would take him outside to practice walking and claiming, he claimed the same pole over and over again, it was amazing to see him do all these things. Everyone said I was crazy for helping him, they kept telling me to get rid of him, but after spending these five days with him, not sleeping day and night, i would do it all over again. I never knew raccoons were so loving creatures, and after reading all these comments here it looks like I am not the only one that had a chance to cared for a beautiful baby raccoon. I am going to put all his picture on my Facebook, thank you for letting me have a chance to say all this to you, once again, luv Kathy.

  53. I actually am just wrapping up having these prblems as a family of 9 raccoons took over our yard our barn and we have pet ducks they were not only attempting to eat the ducks which unfortunately they were able to snatch one baby one in may but they started chasing and surrounding us and would come out in the day time and not eve run from us in fact became aggressive towrds us one of them look really sick and was losing fur foaming at the mouth thats when all the effort of trapping and releasing had to stop and we were forced to kill them unfortunately and now we have to hose down and clean anything possible inclkuding the pools our ducks swin in because anything they may have eaten from or drank from such as swimming pools or pet dishes so its nice to at least attempt to trap and f its manageable of course try not to kill but this was an extreme situation it felt aweful cuz 4 of them were tiny babies but they grow and would have been sick

  54. I found a baby raccoon in the stones laying at work she is somewhere between 4 1/2 to 6 weeks she walks but falls over alot if i tap on cage she looks up heads a little wobbly and she seems a little off balance is that a cause for concern?

  55. Had a coon in my yard today was not afraid of me acted very strange no one would come and get it sure it had rabies so it got lead poisoning!

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