Ask a Naturalist: Are raccoons good to have around in the neighborhood?

October 15, 2020

Written by Angie Cha


Raccoons are highly intelligent and curious creatures. Traditionally, raccoons prefer heavily wooded areas with access to trees, water and rich vegetation. There, they make their dens in the hollow parts of trees or abandoned burrows. Now, raccoons have adapted and are still adapting to their environments that we call our neighborhoods. We’ll see them cross our yards, in dumpsters, and all around in some parts of the cities. But are raccoons good to have around in the neighborhood? Actually, yes! They actually offer certain benefits to your yard by keeping it free of pests! Yup, you read that right. Raccoons are predators of pests such as small rodents. However, it doesn’t mean it is good to have them around all the time or constantly. Raccoons possess incredible dexterity that gives them the ability to open doors, jars, bottles, and latches. They are also great climbers which allows them to better access food and shelter. In other words, they can get into houses if doors and windows are not closed properly. Even more, they are not afraid of people and are not easily scared off, posing a threat to the safety of you and your family and pets for potentially carrying diseases, rabies, fleas, and other health threats. To avoid raccoons coming to your yards and homes, some of the things you can do are to avoid keeping people or pet food outside and clear off possible hiding spots that raccoons or other wild animals would hide in. If possible, avoid using any dangerous traps or harmful chemicals/poisons to kill raccoons or other unwanted animals. 

Read more here on how to keep raccoons out of your yards!



Sew your own adorable raccoon plushie with this tutorial (free sewing pattern included)!



Check right outside the house and find ways to keep raccoons away from your home to not only keep your home safe, but the raccoons as well: Secure trash cans, bring in pet food, keep an eye on bird feeders, put a fence around your gardens, and most importantly do NOT feed them and other wildlife.

Additional Resources

Check out this video from National Geographic on how researchers humanely remove raccoons from neighborhood yards.