You’re looking to go camping, maybe even for the first time, but you’re really worried about those pesky raccoons. Sure, wildlife is fun to look at and observe, however, it’s not fun when they start interrupting your relaxing camping trip.
So in this article, I’m going to be answering your burning question of, when camping outdoors to raccoons attack tents?
In short, raccoons have not been known to just randomly attack tents for no reason, however, raccoons are known to attack humans from time to time. This usually happens, however, if they feel provoked, feel that their litter is being threatened, or if they have rabies.
So to help you more understand these small animals and why they attack when they do, we’re going to cover the following:
- Is a Raccoon an Aggressive Animal
- What Provokes a Raccoon to Attack
- How to Know if a Raccoon Feels Threatened
- The Dangers of a Raccoon with Rabies
- How to Know if a Raccoon has Rabies
- What to do if You’re Bitten by a Raccoon (view this page on emedicinehealth.com for more info.)
- Are There Reports of Raccoons Attacking Tents
Is a Raccoon an Aggressive Animal
By nature, a raccoon is considered an aggressive animal. Now, don’t worry. This doesn’t mean that the raccoon is just roaming around looking for someone to attack. This just isn’t the case. In fact, most raccoons, with the exception of sick raccoons, want to stay as far away from you as you want to stay away from them.
The aggressiveness of a raccoon comes in when they feel threatened. And be warned, if a raccoon feels threatened, they can, and will, give up quite a fight and inflict series injuries. Also, don’t be fooled by their small size, a raccoon may be small, but they are equipped with sharp claws, jaws made for hunting and fishing, incredible instincts and senses, as well as precise coordination and balance. All of this combined makes for an animal that can be very dangerous if provoked.
That brings us to the next section of this article, what provokes a raccoon to attack a person?
What Provokes a Raccoon to Attack
While a raccoon is not marching around looking for a fight, they will definitely attack in self-defense. The two most common reasons why a raccoon is known to attack is if they feel threatened, or if they are sick.
If a Raccoon Feels Threatened
If a raccoon feels that they, or their litter, is in danger, they can be very dangerous. An example of when a raccoon feels threatened is if they are surprised and/or trapped into a corner. According to the raccoon’s logic, this gives them no other option than to fight back in self-defense. Another reason raccoons feel threatened is if someone tries to reach down and grab them.
If a Raccoon is Sick
If a raccoon is sick, then they can be known to do strange things that are not along the lines of natural raccoon behavior. One such thing being attacking someone for no apparent reason. However, you shouldn’t be too worried about this since this is rare.
How to Know if a Raccoon Feels Threatened
When a raccoon feels threatened, they’ll start by vocalizing in defense way. This basically means that they start producing defensive sounds, including barking, hissing, screaming, shrieking, and growling. Usually, their growling has a guttural sound to it and they also start showing their teeth as well.
Good for you, before a raccoon attacks, they’ll usually give off physical body language before they go into full fight mode. Here are a few signs you can look for:
- Their fur is sticking straight into the air. Raccoons do this because they’re trying to look bigger in order to intimidate their opponent.
- They start banging their tale into the ground.
- They begin to elevate their tale.
- A rounded back along with their ears pressed down.
The Dangers of a Raccoon with Rabies
A raccoon with rabies can be far more dangerous than a healthy, strong raccoon. When a raccoon has rabies, it begins to start showing off unnatural behavior, such as attacking people for no reason. In the rare case of a raccoon attacking a tent, a rabid raccoon would most likely be the case.
How to Know if a Raccoon has Rabies
A lot of people tend to think that if they see a raccoon out during the day, since they usually only come out at night, they are a rabid raccoon. This actually isn’t always the case. If you see a raccoon during the day, it may just be moving to a new home or it’s just taking longer to search for food if it has a litter.
If a raccoon has rabies, there are some very simple tale-tell signs that you’ll be able to observe pretty quickly.
These sighs inlcude:
- A raccoon start to lose their balance. This leads to a staggering gait.
- A raccoon that just seems to be wondering about with no apparent destination they’re trying to get to.
- Discharge from the eyes or mouth.
- Wet and matted hair on the raccoon’s face.
- The raccoon keeps giving high-pitched vocalization, such as hissing, screaming, shrieking, and growling.
What to do if Bitten by a Raccoon
If you happen to get bitten by a raccoon, make sure you get medical help immediately. For more information on raccoon bites, go to this page on emedicinehealth.com.
If bitten, emedicinehealth.com says, “First aid should consist of getting away from the animal to a safe area. Next, apply pressure on the areas that are bleeding, and activate the 911 system or going to an emergency department if the injury requires care.“Excerpt taken from this page on emedicinehealth.com.
Are There Reports of Raccoons Attacking Tents
During my research, I did find a Reddit post where a camper explained a very odd interaction he, his pregnant wife, and two dogs had with a raccoon while camping one night. His personal account is below:
“Let me set the scene: I was camping with my (pregnant) wife and our two dogs this last Saturday night in Maryland. Our lab sleeps in the vestibule, an our other dog sleeps in the tent with us. For years this has worked wonderfully, now I am not so sure…Read his post here on Reddit.
At around two in the morning we heard this yipping sound followed by a screech then the sounds of my lab and “something” running around the tent. I unzip the very top of the screen and see my lab staring at me, followed closely by the curious paws of the coon. Cue stage two of the dog and coon squabble. After this round I check to make sure that the coon is gone and I let the lab in the tent. I think it is done, hope it is over…ding ding ROUND THREE! The coon comes up and starts pawing at the tent while screaming bloody murder and stopping only to growl. I, like a moron, think to growl back. This really only made him more angry. He starts pawing deeper at the tent and trying to chew on the mesh. I finally shine the light directly in his eyes and he runs away. A few frantic minutes later we hear screams and yelps from the campsite across the way and see a chorus of lights start shining in a direction of the forest.
I informed the ranger, as did the other folk, and high tailed it outta there. Again, I would like to point out my wife is preggars and we simply did not want to risk it.
I have been camping A LOT. I worked for the US Forest Service and lived in a tent for three months. I have backpacked far and wide. I have never, NEVER, had a scare like that. We had no food in the tent, no drinks, and everything of the sort was safely tucked away deep in my car (inside a giant tupperware).
tl;dr Damn coons nearly got me!”
I hope this article helped to relieve you a little bit. If you found this article helpful, be sure to share it!