Can raccoons be dangerous? Recently in Arlington, Virginia there was a raccoon attack. Raccoons attacked a man immediately after leaving his home. It’s not clear exactly why he was attacked. Some local residents have made up their own theories about it, one being the city garbage disposal methods. This is a situation that could happen to anyone, even here in Toronto. If you live in Etobicoke or the Toronto area you already know that the area has a large number of raccoons. Other surrounding cities like Mississauga, Scarborough, Brampton etc are not exempt from the list. In the mentioned cities, in fact in Ontario there is high density of raccoons. Furthermore their numbers cause problems from their toxic feces, vicious attacks, property damage and pet safety.
Possible causes for attack
There are several reasons why a raccoon would potentially attack another or a person. Firstly, startling a raccoon can potentially cause an instinctive attack. As an example, if a raccoon is camped right next to your door, opening that door may consequently cause the raccoon to attack if it feels cornered. Incidentally we’ve come to learn that cornering raccoons can either cause them to attack or flee.
Secondly, during their growth physical abuse can contribute to their aggression towards humans. Unfortunately raccoons are being mistreated by people who consider them pests. Human behaviour can lead them to a state of aggression. Don’t throw objects at raccoons and don’t aggressively approach raccoons. They are wild and unpredictable. Most of all, they just want to be left alone.
Finally protecting their babies takes priority to a mother raccoon. They have shocked us with their strength and love for their babies over and over again, they are truly marvelous and intelligent animals. If you spot a group of raccoons accompanying their mother, provide adequate distance. Approaching babies, or getting between a raccoon mother and her babies is a great way to gain their aggression.
The most concerning possibility is a sick raccoon. A raccoon with rabies, like any other animal with rabies is unpredictable. Raccoon behaviour will drastically change in this situation. Any animal would have a normal fear of humans which would seem non existent in animals with rabies. A few revealing traits of rabies include twitchy heads, chasing imaginary or flying objects, attacking immobile objects and discharging froth. You will most likely be unsuccessful when shooing them away. Keep safety as your top priority, this can be a very dangerous situation and these animals should not be approached. Seek professional help immediately.