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10 Reasons Why Raccoons Thrive in Urban Environments

Raccoons in the City: An Adaptation to Urban Life

Many of us are familiar with the sight of a raccoon rummaging through a trash can or scurrying across our backyard. Raccoons have adapted to living in urban environments and have become a common sight in cities all over the world.

This article aims to educate readers on the reasons why raccoons have migrated to urban areas, their behavior in cities, and the impact they have on urban life.

Reasons for Raccoons in Cities

Raccoons have a reputation for being smart, versatile, and diversified animals. They are adaptable creatures and have found ways to thrive in urban environments.

One of the primary reasons why raccoons have migrated to cities is the abundance of food. Urban areas provide a variety of food sources for raccoons, ranging from human leftovers to bird feeders.

They have also been known to scavenge in domestic gardens, raid pet food boxes, and even eat insects and small animals. Another significant reason that raccoons have migrated to cities is the abundance of shelter.

Urban areas provide a plethora of denning spots, including storm drains, attics, chimneys, and abandoned buildings. Raccoons have adapted to living in these spaces, which provide them with the necessary protection from predators, harsh weather conditions, and human interference.

Furthermore, cities offer raccoons a higher level of safety than rural or natural areas. Urban environments have restrictions on lethal control methods like trapping or hunting, which keeps the raccoon population relatively safe.

In addition, cities have fewer natural predators like coyotes or wolves, which prey on raccoons in rural regions. Raccoon’s Adaptability

Raccoons have been able to prevail in the urban environment due to their versatility and diversified behavior pattern.

They have developed a range of skills and behaviors to adapt and survive in the city. For instance, raccoons have learned to cross roads and highways and have adapted to the noise of urban life.

They are also renowned for their tinkering abilities, meaning they can open latches, garbage cans, and even doors in search of food.

Site Fidelity in Urban Environments

The ability to remain in the specific location is referred to as site fidelity. Researchers have shown that raccoons exhibit high levels of site fidelity in urban environments.

It is not uncommon for raccoons to remain in the same location for extended periods of time; sometimes for years. This behavior pattern is a reflection of the resource availability that they have in that specific location.

Raccoon Densities and Behavior in Urban Areas

Raccoon densities are typically higher in urban areas than in rural or natural areas. Raccoons in urban environments have smaller home ranges and tend to stay within a few city blocks.

This behavior pattern is due to the abundance of food and shelter in the area and the low competition for resources.

Raccoon Survival Rates in Urban Settings

The greater availability of cover and denning areas in urban environments has a critical impact on raccoon survival rates. The survival rate of raccoons in cities is significantly higher than in rural environments.

Raccoons in urban areas have a lower risk of contracting diseases from other animals and are protected from natural predators like coyotes.

Raccoon Damage in Cities

Raccoons can wreak havoc in cities by causing structural damage to buildings and homes. The most common damage caused by raccoons includes broken tiles or fascia boards, and even collapsing roofs or foundations from denning under a porch or deck.

Additionally, raccoons are infamous for getting into garbage cans and making a mess of the surrounding area.


Raccoons have found a way to survive and thrive in urban environments. They have adapted to the abundance of food sources, shelter, and safety provided by cities.

Additionally, raccoons exhibit high levels of site fidelity in urban areas and have learned to cross roads and highways. The raccoon densities are higher in urban settings and raccoons have a greater availability of cover and denning areas, which leads to higher survival rates.

However, raccoons can cause damage to buildings and homes, mainly through denning activity and getting into garbage cans. In conclusion, raccoons are fascinating animals that have adapted to living alongside humans in the city.

Factors That Attract Raccoons to Cities

Raccoons, with their dark-ringed eyes and bushy tails, have long fascinated people. These animals have taken a liking to urban environments because of the abundant food sources, shelter, and protection from predators.

In this article, we will explore the factors that attract raccoons to cities.

Food Sources in Urban Areas

One of the most significant reasons why raccoons are attracted to cities is the availability of food sources. Urban areas provide a plethora of food, ranging from pet food to bird feeders.

Raccoons will feed on almost anything, and urban areas offer an abundance of diverse food sources. They are known to raid pet food bowls, dig through trash cans, and even snatch fish from koi ponds.

Bird feeders can also be a significant source of food for raccoons. They can climb up poles or trees to reach bird feeders that are not secured properly or are placed too close to a structure that enables them to jump on them.

Raccoons will eat any kind of birdseed, nuts, or suet, and these food sources can attract them to one’s yard. Pet food is another common source of food for raccoons.

They will seek out outdoor pet food bowls and consume the food left out for pets. It’s essential to bring in your pet’s food bowl at night to prevent raccoon wildlife encounters.

Unsecured garbage is also a significant source of food for raccoons. Raccoons have learned to tear open garbage bags to find food.

Make sure your garbage bin has a tight-fitting lid to prevent raccoons from getting into the trash.

Shelter and Denning Spots in Urban Areas

Urban areas offer a broad range of shelter and denning spots for raccoons. These animals can find makeshift homes in almost any structure, from hollow trees to attics and chimneys.

The urban landscape is dotted with buildings, porches, and outdoor furniture that provide raccoons with plenty of opportunities to seek shelter. Raccoons can den under sheds or decks, in crawl spaces, or in the space beneath a structure.

They are also known to nest in chimneys and attics, which can be difficult to remove them from.

Safety in Urban Areas

Raccoons living in urban areas have fewer predators to contend with than those living in rural areas. Coyotes and foxes are natural predators of raccoons and tend to avoid urban areas, leaving raccoons with a relatively safe habitat.

Moreover, urban areas put restrictions on lethal means of managing raccoons population, reducing their risk of being killed. Cities have realized the importance of preserving wildlife in urban environments, and thus, organizations mainly use non-lethal means such as live trapping and relocating raccoons to their natural habitats.

Keeping Raccoons Out of City Yards

Raccoons can be a problem in urban areas, causing damage to property and spreading diseases. Here are some ways to keep raccoons out of the yard:

– Secure garbage cans and other waste containers by using sturdy lids that cannot be opened by raccoons.

To secure lids, try using bungee cords or metal wire. – Pick up pet food after feeding to prevent raccoons from eating it.

If you must feed pets outside, bring the bowl inside after the pet eats its fill. – If feeding birds, place the bird feeders at least five feet off the ground or hang them from wire to make them hard to climb or move once the raccoon jumps on it.

– Inspect your home’s exterior for any possible entry points, such as gaps in siding or vents, and seal them up. – Install fencing around vegetable gardens to keep raccoons out.

A protective surface of chicken wire or a motion-activated sprinkler can be an effective way to deter them.

Final thoughts

Cities across the world have taken notice of the need to preserve wildlife in urban environments, and raccoons are no exception. By understanding the reasons why raccoons are attracted to cities and taking steps to keep them out of yards, we can work towards better coexistence with these beloved creatures.

In conclusion, raccoons have found a way to adapt to urban environments by exploiting the abundance of food sources, shelter, and safety provided. They exhibit high levels of site fidelity, adaptability, and diversified behavior patterns, leading to higher survival rates and high densities in urban settings.

Although raccoons can cause damage to buildings and homes and carry diseases, several ways can be used to prevent them from invading your yard. Understanding these factors and taking necessary steps to coexist can help preserve the wildlife and mitigate the risks, leading to a better and harmonious relationship between raccoons and humans in urban areas.

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