Are People And Pets Susceptible To Raccoon Attacks?

picture of human interacting with raccoons

Raccoons are known to attack pets, injuring large dogs while killing small dogs, cats, and other household pets like rabbits. People also have been attacked by raccoons when attempting to remove them from their homes. You should seek medical attention right away if a raccoon has attacked you or your pet, and you will almost certainly need a rabies vaccination.

Learn More: Raccoon Removal FAQ

Why Do Raccoons Attack Humans?

The circumstances of each situation determine whether or not raccoons will attack people. If they feel threatened, raccoons will attack, especially if they are sick. Raccoons will only attack humans if they feel threatened, and they are capable of causing serious injuries.

Raccoons can injure people not only by scratching and biting them, but they can also transmit serious diseases like rabies. Raccoons will attack humans in self-defense or defend their litter, even if they are not trying to prey on or kill them. Because of these factors, it is not recommended that people attempt to trap raccoons on their own or transport and relocate them outside of cage traps.

In self-defense, raccoons will undoubtedly attack. There are numerous examples of these scenarios: when a homeowner surprises or scares a raccoon in a small space from which the animal cannot safely flee or when a homeowner tries to catch a raccoon with their hands. Another dangerous situation is when a homeowner tries to free the animal from the trap on their own, touching it and denying it the opportunity to flee and find a safe place.

Attempting to handle a raccoon on your own can be dangerous, especially if you aren’t sure the animal isn’t protecting its litter, which could be nearby. A raccoon will attack to protect its young in this situation, and a raccoon will try to scare a person away by biting and scratching them. Normally, the animal’s reaction would be to flee and attack only if cornered, but protecting a litter is an animal’s strongest instinct. This is the situation in which a raccoon will choose to attack a person on purpose.

Why Are Pets Attacked By Raccoons?

Raccoons are known to get into fights with cats and prey on small animals kept outside, such as chickens and rabbits. Raccoons will prey on kittens and small cats if there is no other food available, but they can also be seen eating side by side when cats are fed outside.

Healthy raccoons are unlikely to engage in combat with dogs, but dogs do occasionally pursue raccoons. Dog attacks are most likely to occur with sick or injured raccoons, cornered mothers protecting their young, and orphaned baby raccoons. If a dog catches a raccoon, she may fight back to defend herself, injuring both the dog and the raccoon.

What To Do If You Or Your Pet Have Been Attacked By A Raccoon?

Raccoons typically won’t bite or scratch unless they are rabid. If a raccoon attacks you, it’s advised to seek medical attention right away because raccoons carry the rabies disease that is spreadable to humans. If your pet has come into contact with a raccoon, you should take it to the vet for a rabies shot. 

In the case that the raccoon that attacked you or your pet is still in or around your home, you should contact Animals Happen right away. The animal has proven that it’s aggressive and requires professional help to conduct the removal.