Raccoons can be seen day or night. If seen out during the day, they should not be considered dangerous or assumed to carry rabies. Most raccoons pose no risk of transferring disease to humans, and the incidence of rabies in the New York City raccoon population is very small.
Do not feed raccoons. Raccoons can become a nuisance if people unknowingly supply food or shelter. Raccoons are attracted by food available in gardens, pet feeders, garbage, compost, and certain plants.
If you are bitten or scratched by a raccoon, wash the wound and see your doctor as soon as possible. Report sick or injured raccoons to 311. Make sure your pets’ rabies vaccinations are up to date. It's the law. To further protect your dogs, be sure to keep them leashed.
Raccoons can live and make their homes in urban areas because of the amount of food that is available. Raccoons around homes in New York City is not unusual. Raccoons usually live in dens in hollow trees, but in urban areas they can also live in garages, abandoned buildings, rock piles, fireplace chimneys, hollow walls, attics, or beneath sewer drains.
If you have a raccoon issue, call a professional. Before taking measures to hire a licensed trapper, property owners should eliminate whatever food or shelter is attracting raccoons to their property. Block access to areas of your home, garage, or outdoor shed where raccoons might make their homes.
For homeowners who need to a hire a licensed professional, the New York State DEC website has information on how to find a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator.
Raccoons are attracted to any home where food is available. You can take steps to keep raccoons and other wildlife from making a home around where you live by following these guidelines:
- Do not feed pets outside
- Purchase raccoon-proof garbage cans or put a weight on the lids of other garbage cans
- Do not leave bags of garbage on the ground
- Eliminate conditions on property that can be used as dens
Get more information about keeping raccoons away from your home and property.