Can Raccoons Climb Trees At Night [Yes! 7 Reasons Why ]

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Astonishingly, raccoons have a brain similar to a toddler. Therefore, they are intelligent animals that know the tips and tricks of surviving in urban. Aside from breaking the locks and invading homes, raccoons are also excellent climbers. But why do raccoons climb trees at night?

Raccoons are nocturnal mammals. They sleep during the day and hunt in the dark. Therefore, you will find raccoons hanging from tree branches at night. Many times raccoons climb on the tree to avoid a predator and to find easy access to a food source or shelter.

To find more reasons for raccoons climbing trees at night, you must read the article till the end.

Why Do Raccoons Climb Trees At Night
Why Do Raccoons Climb Trees At Night

7 Reasons Raccoons Climb Trees at Night

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Raccoons are nocturnal creatures that will do anything in search of food. They break locks, invade homes, and even climb trees. Even though recently raccoons have evolved after moving from wild to developed areas, they still are great climbers. Often raccoons get inside the home’s attic through climbing.

One of the main reasons raccoons climb trees at night is because they are nocturnal and are active at night. Below more reasons are in detail;

Reason#1: To Sleep During Day Hours

Raccoons Sleep on tree

Raccoons are nocturnal. It means they sleep during the day and are active at night searching for food. They sleep for eight hours during the light hours. As the sun sets, the raccoons will come out of their dens.

They go back to them at dawn. During this time, raccoons search for shelter, food, clean water, and mate.

Raccoons sleep inside the tree trunk during the day as it is a confined, deep, and dark area. Sleeping inside a quiet corner prevents their sleep from getting disturbed from outside regular daytime activity.

The noises from the outside can interrupt their rest hours. Therefore, they select secluded trees.

Reason#2: Avoiding Predators

Raccoons are not big fighters. They usually avoid getting into disputes. You can say raccoons are cowards, and their initial reaction to any animal beginning the fight is to make noises that will scare away the opponent.

The second option in the fight is to run away instead of confronting.

Only a few raccoons can get in a fierce fight with animals bigger than them. Typically, they will run away, looking for hiding places. Raccoons are great climbers and can climb the tree to the peek within minutes. Therefore, hiding away from its killer.

Reason#3: Build Nest

Raccoons nest

Raccoons build a nest in quiet, dark corners. The ordinary places where raccoons make a nest is inside hollow trees, abandoned dens, buildings, cars, and attics. The void tree trunk is the most common place raccoon uses for making a nest in wild or urban areas.

One of the main reasons raccoons climbs a tree is because they live inside it. The hollow tree branches provide enough darkness to sleep during the daytime. It is also a perfect place to hide from predators.

Plus, an ideal place for mother raccoons to give birth to young ones. The hollow tree branches are also suitable for hiding kits from the killer.

Reason#4: For Food Source

fruits and flowers tree

Raccoons are omnivores. They eat different food, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat. Raccoons climb on trees to eat fruits and flowers on them. They are keen meat lovers and hunt small animals to eat. But at the same time, they enjoy eating organic food items.

It is not surprising to find raccoons eating fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden. Occasionally, raccoons can ruin the entire kitchen gardens or house plants.

Reason#5: For Hunting Small Animals

birds on tree

Raccoons are lazy hunters. They will eat anything they find. The closest and the uncomplicated food source is always their target. That is why raccoons keep visiting one specific house after, finding plenty of food there. Raccoons can climb on trees to eat birds’ eggs.

At night, when birds are sleeping, the raccoon will climb up to their nest and will eat the vulnerable bird eggs. It is an easy target and food source for raccoons. It can also eat other small worms and insects living on the tree.

Reason#6: Playing Or Resting

Raccoons are mischievous and playful. They climb on trees, walls, and even swings to enjoy themselves. Because of their fun-loving nature, raccoons are kept as pets too.

However, keeping a raccoon in the house can be a nightmare as they can cause much damage like scratch marks on the walls, breaking things, and even annoying other pets like cats, dogs, and birds.

Plus, raccoons are full of energy at night because they sleep during the day. You can also find raccoon kittens playing on the tree in the middle of the night.

Reason#7: To Get Back To The Nest

Raccoons find their way inside homes by climbing the trees closest to the house. They will jump on the branches leading to the attic, roof, or bedroom windows. It is not surprising to find a furry mammal chilling on your window sill or inside your attic.

The attic is raccoons’ favorite place to make nests because it provides them shelter and darkness to sleep during the day. Attics are warm in winter for raccoons compared to the outside temperatures.

Sometimes mother raccoon climbs on trees and gets inside the house to give birth and hide her babies.

What Kind Of Trees Do Raccoons Live Inside?

tree trunk

Raccoons like to reside in compact, small, secluded, quiet, and dark places. A tree trunk is an ideal home for a raccoon to live in as it has all the above-mentioned features.

Raccoons do not have a specific kind of tree they prefer to live inside. Raccoons can live on any tree as long as it is hollow and deep enough to build a nest.

Trees are always an excellent choice for raccoons to live inside. It will have enough hiding space and camouflage from predators. Plus, they will be away from the humans, which is the perfect setting for both the creatures.

Research of Jay. H. Schnell concludes that raccoons live on trees, not just on trees but inside hollow trees. It also states raccoons never live on the ground or inside woods.

What Time Of Night Are Raccoons Most Active?

Raccoons are nocturnal. They will come out of their den as soon as the sun begins to set and will go back at dawn. It means they are active from dusk till daylight. During day hours, they will rest inside trees or in their dens.

At night they will come out and search for basic life necessities. Plus, they are most active in the wee hours, and you can hear them howling, playing, and screaming.

Can Raccoons Climb Down Trees?

Raccoons Climb Down Trees

Raccoons are great climbers. They can climb on the tree within minutes, and with the same speed, they will come down the tree. In the wild or in nature, raccoons climb on trees and sleep throughout the day. Once it gets dark, they will climb down the trees for their regular activities.

How High Do Racoons Climb on trees?

Raccoons can climb up to at least four feet. They are excellent climbers but not exceptional jumpers. However, raccoons can adjust according to their surroundings. They have superb adapting abilities.

In an urban setting, raccoons can jump from one house to another and from one tree to another. However, jumps are not long and neither straight.

How To Get Rid Of Raccoons In Your Tree?

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Raccoons climbing on the house tree is alarming and dangerous. They will get inside the house by jumping on the ranches. They can destroy the garden or the yard of the house.

A raccoon can also attack your favorite pet or munch on the pet food. It can also break locks, windows, and doors and cause scratches on the house exterior. Therefore, you must get rid of the raccoons from your trees.

Some tips and tricks below will help you remove raccoons from the tree.

  • Keep your garden and yard clean. It is an essential tip to get rid of any pest, whether raccoons or rodents. The dirty places attract raccoons as it provides them with plenty of food and hiding spaces. Therefore, clean your garden regularly.
  • Get rid of all the branches leading to your house. The tree closer to your home is easy to access for a raccoon to invade the house. Therefore, if you cannot cut a tree completely, at least cut down the branches.
  • Make sure to take care of the tree. So it is healthy, and there are no termites that can make the tree trunk hollow. It is better to cut =the trees with hollow trunks. They are breeding grounds for raccoons.
  • Place live raccoon trap. It is an effective method but not preferable as it is considered inhumane to kill animals.
  • Install a fence around trees. You can install a high wooden fence or electrical fence that will produce a charge when anyone gets close to it. Make sure that the fence is at least three feet high above the ground. The small fence will be easy for raccoons to jump through.
  • You can also install motion-sensing sprinklers. It will get rid of raccoons for good because raccoons do not like wet slippery surfaces.
  • Grow plants like peppermint, garlic, and other plants with a strong smell that will keep raccoons away.


Raccoons are great climbers, and their natural habitat is a tree. They cannot live on the ground or in places close to the ground. Their preferences are always the places higher up or the abandoned dens.

Raccoons are nocturnal creatures. Therefore, they are most active in the late hours of the night. Raccoons go back to their home at dawn. During dark hours, the raccoon hunts and climbs trees.

There are many reasons for raccoons to climb a tree. The main reason is to; get to their nest, find food sources, or hide from predators.


Minnesota Academy of Science