Raccoons are highly intelligent and curious creatures, but they can also be a nuisance to any homeowner. These nocturnal mammals can destroy gardens, make a mess by tipping over garbage cans, and can cause structural damage in search of food.


Traditionally, raccoons prefer heavily wooded areas with access to trees, water and abundant vegetation. There, they make their dens in the hollow parts of trees as well as abandoned burrows, traveling up to 18 miles to forage for food. Raccoons are extremely adaptable. They are often found in suburban and urban areas, making their homes in man-made structures like attics, sewers, barns and sheds. In urban areas, raccoons tend to stay closer to their dens with a range of only about 1 mile, depending on their age and sex. Raccoons use multiple dens throughout their lifetime. Even though male raccoons prefer to lead a solitary life, there are circumstances where they will join other groups in order to survive more easily. In general, raccoons can live as solitary animals, not belonging to a community. They can survive on their own, which means that they are capable of finding shelter, hunting and feeding as individuals. Although raccoons don’t need to live in communities to survive, they also can and often do live in large communities. These communities include both male and female raccoons, as well as their younglings. This means that raccoons can, but don't have to, live in communities in order to survive.

Raccoons will mostly live in groups during winter months. Faced with challenging weather conditions, raccoons are left to manage on their own. Food sources are fewer during the winter, which is why raccoons need to work together in order to survive. Finding shelter is also easier for raccoons who live in groups, because a group can manage to explore a large territory a lot faster than an individual. This makes it a lot easier for raccoons to find good shelters spots during the winter.


Raccoons travel all over in search of food, water, and suitable locations to make their den. Males in rural areas have been known to wander as far as 10 miles in search of food or a mate. Once they’ve settled on a place to call home, they mark their territory to warn others to stay away. A male’s territory can range as far as 250 acres, a female’s is generally much smaller since she’s often busy caring for her young and can’t afford to wander off too far.

Studies have shown that in urban settings raccoons generally limit their movements to a smaller range than their cousins in the country. The reason is simple, cities provide far more food, shelter and potential mates in a smaller geographical area so the need to travel great distances just isn’t there. In fact, clever urban raccoons even avoid crossing major streets to prevent run-in with traffic.

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