Raccoon surrounded by leaves looking up at the viewer while standing on driftwood.

Where Do Raccoons Live?

Raccoons are the ultimate survivors – their resourcefulness and tenacity have allowed them to spread far and wide, from dense forests to bustling cities. The adaptable creatures have no trouble making themselves home wherever they roam, whether in the rustic countryside or hectic metropolitan neighborhoods.

Whether you’re a raccoon enthusiast or just interested in these mischievous critters, you probably asked yourself where raccoons go during the day or how they wrap up for the night. To answer these questions, we will explore the natural habitats and preferred environments of raccoons.

Key Pest Points:

Raccoons are adaptable creatures throughout North America in various habitats, including forests, wetlands, urban and suburban areas, and farmlands.

• Raccoons living in urban areas often use human-made structures as their dens and have different diet than those living in the wild.

• Raccoons also inhabit coastal areas, which are more widespread than inland.

Raccoons Thrive in Urban Areas 

Raccoons have done quite well adjusting to urban life. Their incredible intellect, adaptability, curiosity, and creativity have made them more suitable for ever-changing cities.

Due to the lack of food and shelter in urban areas, raccoons sometimes pick people’s homes as their dens. This includes garages, storm drains, crawl spaces, chimneys, sheds, attics, and other locations where they feel safe.

These critters are very different from their woodland cousins. Urban raccoons skillfully traverse the city landscape using their dexterous paws, which enable them to climb and access bird feeders for scavenging food. 

They are also frequently seen in big parks and other open spaces where they forage for food from picnic tables and garbage cans. Their diets also differ; these urban pests can consume human foods, nuts, meats, and pet foods, while suburban raccoons will take advantage of their natural surroundings to feed themselves.

Raccoons Dwell in Forests

Raccoons can also be found living in evergreen and wooded forests. They make their dens in hollow logs, tree stumps, brush piles, and animal-abandoned burrows. These furry mammals will start making a nest when they find a wooded area providing enough food and water.

These creatures of the wild live a truly solitary existence. These masked bandits can toss around leaves in pursuit of insects or scale trees to find their favorite fruits. But when night falls, it is time for them to hunt. 

They become relentless predators snatching up small critters like fish, frogs, and eggs as part of their nocturnal feast – although sadly, life in the wild has proven more challenging than that experienced by city raccoons with shorter lifespans being common among rural populations.

Raccoons Live in Suburban Areas

Like in the cities, raccoons live in suburban settings too. They take shelter in the gardens, woodpiles, sheds, and backyards. As they build their dens out of leaves, branches, twigs, and anything else, they can get their paws on these areas, and you can easily identify their nests.

Like their urban counterparts, suburban raccoons often scavenge for food by rummaging through trash cans, but they also forage for food in the gardens. That is why it’s essential to cover up fruit trees and vegetable patches to keep them away and use scent repellants to ward them off.

Racoon looking at the viewer while standing on water with bush and leaves around it.

Raccoons Call Wetlands Their Home

Raccoons are capable swimmers, often found exploring wetlands in search of their favorite meals – shellfish, fish, and frogs. With a passion for aquatic adventures, these resilient animals make the most out of all that water offers. They live in saltwater marshes and generally exhibit a reddish tint in their fur. These outdoor pests also build their dens in dense vegetation and snags.

Raccoons Build Dens in Farmlands

Raccoons are not just limited to the wild and the cities. These adaptable creatures have also made their way into farmlands, seeking shelter in the nooks and crannies of barns and sheds. The structures provide an ideal hiding place for these furry critters, shielding them from the harsh elements of the outside world.

These sneaky little bandits also raid fields left and right, leaving a trail of half-eaten cobs in their wake. Additionally, they’ll happily chow down on livestock feed if they get their paws on livestock feed. 

The raccoon sleeping in your shed may look cute and harmless. But these voracious omnivores won’t hesitate to pillage your unprotected farm for a quick veggie snack. Fortunately, you can keep these creatures at bay with raccoon eviction fluid or by installing electric fences around your garden and farmland.

Raccoons Also Live in Coastal Regions

You might be surprised to learn that raccoons live in coastal regions. Compared to inland locations, their population densities are higher near the shore. These critters aren’t just living here; they’re thriving. 

When the tide is low, these coastal raccoons scavenge for food, such as clams, shellfish, crabs, and more. Contrary to what many people think, raccoons do not live close to bodies of water so that they can wash their food; instead, they do so to collect food. These beachcombers also build their dens in the coastal environment, using driftwood and thick vegetation as shelter.

Raccoon Diet 

As you may have noticed, these furry creatures’ adaptability enables them to find food in any environment. And their diets are directly linked to their habitat preferences. The following table illustrates the kinds of food raccoons eat in different environments.

Environment / RegionFoods
UrbanHuman food, pet food, garbage, small rodents
SuburbanBird feeders, garden fruits and vegetables, garbage
ForestAcorns, wild berries, earthworms, voles, baby birds, bird eggs
WetlandFish, frogs, water beetles, aquatic plants
FarmlandCorn, compost, livestock feed, soybeans, potatoes, strawberries, wheat, oats
CoastalCrayfish, shellfish, lobsters, clams, snails, shorebirds’ eggs, turtle eggs

Understanding where raccoons go during the day and where they live may seem straightforward, but their adaptability and resourcefulness mean they can make their homes just about anywhere. 

The next time you hear a rustling in your garden or catch a glimpse of those little bandit faces in your backyard, remember: they might just be your new neighbors, so take the necessary steps to keep them at bay. 

You can do this by securing your garbage cans and storing pet food in a safe, raccoon-proof container. And if all else fails, you can always set raccoon traps that will help you eliminate these pesky critters before they become a problem.

Racoon standing on a wood deck with a tree next to it and grass.

What to Do if You Find a Raccoon in Your Yard?

If you find yourself with an uninvited raccoon guest in your yard, the best thing to do is ensure your home and property are secure. Here are some tips to help you keep raccoons away:

  • Securely cover any garbage cans and compost bins with lids that latch.
  • Ensure pet food bowls are inside your house or securely enclosed in a raccoon-proof container.
  • Install motion-activated lights around the perimeter of your property to scare off raccoons at night.
  • Trim tree branches around your house to make it harder for them to access your roof.

Taking proactive steps to protect your home from raccoons is essential for ensuring the safety of you and your loved ones. To do this, it’s critical to understand these clever critters’ habits – what they eat, when they mate, where they nest, and so on. With just a few preventative measures in place, you can help keep raccoon intruders away!


Where do raccoons sleep?

Raccoons prefer to sleep in their dens, building in places like chimneys, sheds, shrubs, tree hollows, and rock crevices.

Do raccoons sleep in the same spot every night?

Raccoons sleep in different spots every night. They mostly move between dens after a few days. Some raccoons switch dens every night depending on the available food or other conditions.

Where do raccoons live during the day?

Raccoons are primarily nocturnal animals, so they seek shelter during the day in dens or hollows of trees. They also sometimes sleep in attics, sheds, or outbuildings during the day.

How do you find a raccoon den?

You can find a raccoon den by looking for signs of activity, such as freshly dug dirt or droppings. Raccoons also leave behind tracks and footprints that you can look out for. You may also hear them vocalizing in the area if they are nearby. It is best to contact animal control professionals if you think a raccoon den is in your home.


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