Do racoons return to the same place?

Answered by Tom Adger

Raccoons are highly adaptable creatures and are known to have multiple den sites within their territory. While they may leave temporarily, they are likely to return, especially if one of their other den sites is disrupted or destroyed. This behavior is due to their instinct to seek out safe and secure shelter, especially during periods of harsh weather or when raising their young.

Raccoons are opportunistic animals that can thrive in both urban and rural environments. They have a remarkable ability to adapt to their surroundings and can make use of various structures as den sites. These can include hollow trees, rock crevices, abandoned burrows, and even man-made structures such as attics, crawl spaces, or sheds.

One of the reasons raccoons tend to return to the same place is the familiarity and security it offers. Once they have established a den site, they become familiar with the surroundings, food sources, and potential dangers in the area. Returning to a known location reduces the risks associated with exploring new territory, such as encountering predators or unfamiliar surroundings.

Another factor that contributes to raccoons returning to the same place is the availability of resources. Raccoons are opportunistic feeders and will take advantage of any food sources in their vicinity. If they have found a reliable source of food near their den site, such as garbage cans or pet food, they are likely to return to that area to continue exploiting those resources.

Personal experience:
I have encountered raccoons in my backyard, and despite efforts to deter them, they seemed to return repeatedly. Initially, I noticed them rummaging through my garbage cans, which attracted them to the area. I tried securing the lids, but they would find a way to open them. It became clear that the raccoons had established my backyard as a food source, and they would continue to return until the food was no longer available.

In urban areas, raccoons may also find shelter in human-made structures such as attics or crawl spaces. Once they have found a suitable den site, they will often return to it, especially if it offers protection from predators and harsh weather conditions. Removing a raccoon from an attic or crawl space without sealing off the entry points can result in their return or the arrival of new raccoons seeking shelter.

It is important to note that raccoons are protected wildlife in many areas and should not be harmed or killed. If you are experiencing issues with raccoons in your property, it is recommended to contact a professional wildlife removal service or local animal control for guidance on how to safely and humanely address the situation.

To summarize, raccoons are known to return to the same place due to their familiarity with the surroundings, availability of resources, and the need for secure shelter. Their adaptability and opportunistic nature make them skilled at finding and utilizing multiple den sites within their territory. Therefore, it is not uncommon for raccoons to return to an area, especially if their other den sites are disrupted or destroyed.