Raccoons are nocturnal animals and they’re typically out at night searching for food, often in the backyard or digging through trash cans. Homeowners might notice them during the day as well, moving around in their backyards, crawl spaces or vents.
It’s a common misconception that a raccoon seen during the day is a rabid one. However, raccoons that move around during the day are simply resting or looking for food. In the wild, raccoons usually sleep in their dens but they also take shelter in other places like hollow logs, brush piles and abandoned burrows of other animals. They are also good climbers and will sleep in trees. They can even sleep in attics, sheds and barns.
During winter, when food is scarce, raccoons might not leave their den for weeks. They will bulk up on fat to survive the winter and will enter a type of deep sleep called torpor.
Male raccoons will form loose associations during the mating season but they’ll usually disband after the breeding season is over. Female raccoons will stay together in their dens with their young.
While raccoons can sleep in almost any place, they’re more likely to be found in the attic or crawl space of your house if it’s in an urban setting. They’re excellent climbers and can get into small spaces that humans can’t reach, such as vents or the cracks of your patio deck. Raccoons that live in the city will have a smaller territory than those living in the countryside because they can find more food in close proximity. They can also limit their movements to avoid running into traffic.