Raccoons live in all five boroughs of New York City and may be found living near or in your home. They thrive if there is an abundance of food and available shelter. Raccoons can become a nuisance if people unknowingly supply food or shelter for them.
Yes. Raccoons, like all mammals, can become infected with rabies. Rabies can be transferred to people and pets from a raccoon bite or scratch. Stay away from a raccoon that appears ill, is unable to stand or walk or is behaving aggressively or acting unusually friendly. Call 311 to report animals that are displaying these or other unusual behaviors.
Raccoons with distemper may look like they have rabies. They act lethargic, have a runny nose and eyes, may appear confused or disoriented or become aggressive. The virus does not infect humans. It can spread to raccoons and dogs when they make contact with infected saliva, feces, respiratory discharge or urine.
Wash the wound with lots of soap and water and seek immediate medical care from your health care provider or go to an emergency room. Call 311 as soon as possible to report the raccoon bite. Then the Health Department will determine if the raccoon should be picked up and tested for rabies.
Make sure that your cat or dog is properly vaccinated against rabies and distemper. All pets need to be revaccinated at regular intervals to remain up to date. If you are unsure when your pet needs to be revaccinated, check with your veterinarian. If a raccoon bites your dog or cat and its rabies vaccinations are not up to date, your pet may need to be kept isolated in a veterinary hospital.
Raccoons look for safe quiet areas to set up their dens so creating an uncomfortable environment may cause the raccoon to relocate, especially if it's a female with her young. Never attempt to capture or trap a raccoon yourself.
If the above suggested methods do not effectively work you may need to hire a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator (NWCO) licensed by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). To find a professionally licensed wildlife trapper near you, visit dec.ny.gov and search ‘wildlife control'.
When the raccoons are gone, it is important to find out where they got in, such as through a torn window screen, chimney or an opening in the wall or roof, so you can prevent them from getting back in through the same way. Permanently seal all entrances after checking that all animals are out of the den, especially in the spring when female raccoons have litters.
Make sure trash is picked up on your property, fence in areas underneath decks, seal entrances to garages and sheds, trim back tree branches to limit access to roofs and attics and don't leave food where raccoons can get it.