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  • Wild Animal to report wild animals or the removal of wildlife from a park

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.

Raccoons in the City can be infected with various diseases, including rabies and canine distemper virus. They live in all five boroughs of New York City and may be found living near or in your home.

Raccoons can transfer rabies to people and pets from a bite. While rare, it can also occur if saliva from a rabid animal enters an open cut or mucous membrane (eyes, nose or mouth).

You should stay away from raccoons and other wildlife and also keep pets away from wildlife.

A raccoon with rabies may:

  • Appear sick or injured
  • Act lethargic
  • Have difficulty standing or walking
  • Appear confused or disoriented
  • Behave aggressively
  • Act unusually friendly

Never try to trap or catch a raccoon yourself.

Learn more about rabies.

Although the distemper virus cannot be transmitted to humans, it may be transmitted to dogs. A raccoon seen during the day should not automatically be considered dangerous or assumed to carry rabies or distemper. The symptoms of canine distemper virus can include: 

  • Confused behavior
  • Spasms
  • Trouble breathing
  • Discharge from the nose and eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Aggression

Dog owners should make sure their dogs have up-to-date distemper and rabies vaccinations. You and your pets should always keep a safe distance from wildlife, and never approach a wild animal. To further protect your dogs, be sure to keep them leashed.

In the event that a person is bitten:

  • Wash the wound with soap and water immediately.
  • Call a doctor or go to an emergency room for testing.

In the event that a pet comes in contact with a sick raccoon, they should receive treatment from a veterinarian immediately.

Call 311 or 212-NEW-YORK (212-639-9675) for help.

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