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Do Raccoons Attack People?

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There are many people who have never had to deal with raccoons in the area around their home that might think of the species as a cute animal, but those who have had raccoon infestations in or around their property will paint a very different picture. Raccoons can adapt their diet to scavenge, so they are a species that will come into contact with people from time to time, particularly when they have discovered that scavenging through garbage or stealing pet food is a good way to eat. Inevitably, this can cause some conflict between raccoons and people, but are raccoons really likely to attack people?

The Natural Instincts Of Raccoons

It is important to remember that although Raccoons are larger than some other pest animals, they are certainly not at the top of the food chain, and are killed and eaten by a range of other species. This means that raccoons when they encounter larger animals, which a person certainly will be, will be to flee, although in some areas such as parks where they are fed by people, they can learn to overcome this fear if they learn that there may be food for them in approaching people. Where a raccoon encounters a person unexpectedly, in most cases the natural instinct will be to look for an escape route. Is it Safe to Touch a Raccoon?

When Raccoons Are Approached Or Cornered By Humans

However, there are some situations where raccoons may not be able to identify an immediate escape route, so there is a natural fight or flight instinct. What Are Raccoons Scared Of? Certainly when people, and particularly children approach raccoons they can be prone to attacking because they would view that person as a threat, and they may not be able to find an appropriate escape route. The key here is that in many of the situations where a person is attacked and scratched or bitten by a raccoon, this can be because they have approached the animal, rather than the raccoon actively seeking the confrontation.

How Rabies Affects Raccoons

The one difference that can have an impact on how raccoons behave is when the animal has been infected with rabies. This disease causes some rather alarming changes in the brain of the animal, and while it is best known for causing frothing at the mouth, it is also worth noting that rabies can cause irrational behavior and unusual aggression. In this situation, raccoons may attack people without warning, and if this does happen then it will be important to seek prompt medical treatment to tackle the possibility of rabies being transmitted to the victim. Are All Raccoons in North America Infected With Rabies?

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