Can Raccoons Find Their Way Back Home?

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Raccoons are small fuzzy creatures. Their distinct features include black fur and bushy tails. This nocturnal animal can make its own home in caves, trees, dens, and even barns. 

What’s interesting is the fact that raccoons can reside in man-made locations as well as abandoned vehicles. Though they come near the urban population in the search of food, they can also return to their homes right after they are finished

Raccoons come out after the sun sets and travel up to miles in one night to search for food. For them, returning to their niche is not an issue. 

They like to remain undetected, do their job, and turn safely towards their locality. Even if you try to relocate raccoons, they are smart enough to come to the same place. 

So, after their nightly adventure can raccoons find their way back home? The answer is YES! They have an uncanny ability to return to their original territories and come back to the same locality the next night. 

Raccoons have a habit of coming all the way over from their ‘home’ to cross the boundaries set by humans in search of food. They do not like to hunt but will rather have the leftovers for dinner. 

How Far Will a Raccoon Travel To Get Back Home?

It may seem that Raccoons are small animals and will not travel long distances, however, looks can be deceiving! Raccoons can travel up to miles in a day to search for food, water, and home.

They want to develop in dens in a safe location where they can fulfill their needs. Sometimes, a raccoon will settle nearby you, and you will not even realize why you are running out of all your food supplies.

With time, terminologies like ‘Urban Raccoons’ and ‘Natural Raccoons’. The urban ones prefer staying in populated areas where they are closer to the humans whereas the natural raccoons have a strong homing instinct, causing them to go back to where they came from. 

How Far Can Raccoon Travel In a Day?

Raccoons are nocturnal animals. They can see well at night. During the day, a raccoon will be sleeping its day off. It will be storing its energy to roam miles at night and return home safely.

Raccoons usually like vegetation and reside in their natural habitats during the length of the day. However, urban raccoons lay low in their dens, undetected by the human population.

That is why it is rare that you will come across a raccoon during day time. You might have to search their hiding places and then empty their dens.

How Far Do Raccoons Travel In a Night?

Nighttime is the right time for Raccoons. It is the moment when the raccoons set out to search for food for themselves. The urban raccoons prefer searching out the garbage storing cans and will try their best to topple it over so they can go through the contents.

If a raccoon is not satisfied with the food, it will travel to the next house. Raccoons have a sniffy nose and can smell food from a long distance. If you are a farmer, you must stay alert for a raccoon attack.

 Raccoons will feed on live chickens as well as their eggs. Adult male raccoons or boars can travel from 3 to 20 square miles. On the other hand, a female raccoon can travel from 1 to 6 miles per night. 

Do Raccoons Have a Homing Instinct?

Indeed, raccoons have a strong homing instinct which allows them to travel a distance of miles overnight. This way a Raccoon can return to its locality.

Researchers have stated that a raccoon can travel up to 30 miles to get home. This instinct has been a blessing for raccoons. Such intermingling has resulted in disease transmission from raccoons to humans. 

Raccoons as carriers of disease

Reports state that more than 200,000 raccoons in Portland carry a virus that is similar to Rabies. Raccoons also harbor roundworms in their bodies. When ingested by humans, it can lead to adverse effects in humans.

This homing instinct of raccoons allows them to come back time and time again. Hence, this has posed a serious public health concern among humans. Humans make efforts to trap Raccoons.

People dislike having them in residential areas. Specific traps are set up in areas where a Raccoon is most likely to come at night.

People want to protect their food supplies. Also, it is inconvenient for them to clear up all the mess left by a Raccoon. Moreover, mothers are afraid their children will get infections.

Do Raccoons Come Back To The Same Place?

These smart, cunning animals have strong territorial recognition memory. They usually mark the land they want to reside in and will come back to it after they have fulfilled their needs in terms of food and water.

 A raccoon’s return to a similar place is often linked with the food supply. If a raccoon is getting its sustenance from a particular location, it will come back to it naturally. If the food supply runs short, a raccoon will find another place to get what it needs.

Can Raccoons Be Trapped and Relocated?

It must be relocated to a distance of 10 miles so any chances of a raccoon coming back are lowered. Some experts say that even 5 miles is enough distance to put between yourself and a raccoon.

But even then, there is a possibility that a raccoon will sneak up on your doorstep at night. Many people make efforts to trap raccoons and leave them in far-flung areas. However, you are mistaken if you think they will not come back.

The vacant niche is nearly always filled by raccoons that take no time to come from nearby areas. Moreover, as long as you have small animals like chickens or food in your stores, a raccoon will try its best to feed on those supplies.

Relocating Raccoons- An illegal act?

In some places, relocating raccoons to distant areas is against the law. This is because raccoons will die. In their urgency to get rid of raccoons, people have forgotten that a raccoon cannot thrive in a woody area and prefers vegetation.

Furthermore, a change in habitat will have all sorts of difficulties for an animal in terms of survival. If the weather conditions are not suitable, a raccoon will die immediately. Thereby, it has been made illegal to relocate raccoons.

Also, there is a high chance that a raccoon will come back or another one will take its place in no time at all. You cannot get rid of all the Raccoons.

Wrapping It Up

Raccoons have a strong instinct when it comes to settling down to a place. They adapt well to their surroundings. They will do everything in their power to stay in the surroundings that they like.

Though you might not be able to see a raccoon, you can feel their presence at night. It is best if you learn to live with raccoons and keep yourself guarded against them rather than try and relocate them.


Raccoons Relocated. National Geographic