What Sounds Do Raccoons Make?


Raccoons are charismatic animal species found in North America. You may not have realized you have heard them, but raccoons can make many different noises.

Research shows that raccoons make more than 200 sounds, and each sound indicates a different function or activity. Raccoons make various vocal sounds, including a rasping scream, a harsh snarl or growl, a loud purr, a whistle, and a low grunt.

These animals have unique characteristics and the ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Today, raccoons are common residents in North American suburbs, towns, and cities. 

These North American animal species have unique characteristics that make many people love them. For instance, they walk flat-footed like humans, bears, and elephants. Raccoons can rotate their hind feet 180 degrees to descend a tree headfirst. 

Their hands have ten times more nerve endings than humans. All these characteristics or traits make them many people’s favorite animals. However, the most alluring attributes of raccoons are their varied vocal repertoire, including growls, snarls, whimpers, purrs, screams, and whinnies.

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What Sounds Do Raccoons Make?

Raccoons make a unique sound when communicating with other raccoons, searching for food or shelter, and protecting their cubs. When a raccoon communicates with others, they whistle like owls but growl when they sense danger or threat. 

The purpose is to call other raccoons for help and defense. Likewise, a low grunt indicates their presence to homeowners, and a scream is a sound raccoons make when they are under stress.

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Some of the most common types of sounds raccoons make are:

Chittering

Raccoons make a chittering noise, a common sound with variations in different situations. When adult raccoons chitter, it means they are communicating with other adults. Likewise, young ones’ chitter to call their mothers. These mammals also make chittering sounds when communicating with others at a distance, searching for food, shelters, or roaming around. 

Research shows that raccoons make various chittering sounds during the breeding season. Because a raccoon loves to stay alone, female species use different chittering sounds to call on a male raccoon. 

raccoon digging

Purring

Purring is another familiar sound made by raccoons, especially the young ones. When a mother raccoon holds or licks a cub, the baby raccoon makes a purring sound. It indicates that young raccoons are interacting with their mother. 

At the same time, a female raccoon makes a purring sound when showing affection for their cubs. The purring sound indicates happiness, satisfaction, pleasure, and joy. The purring sound is not limited to female raccoons and cubs only as male raccoons also purr when they are happy or show affection. 

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Growling

Although raccoons try to avoid violence, they react to threats and dangerous situations. Growling is a defensive sound raccoons make when they sense threats or feel trapped. 

Besides growling and hissing, raccoons also show their sharp claws and teeth to prevent the threat or take defensive actions to fight against species that pose a danger. Female raccoons make loud growling and hissing sounds when making efforts to protect their young ones. 

What does it Mean When Raccoons Make Noise?

Raccoons make a wide range of loud noises, including screeching, screaming, squealing, and whistling. These vocalizations indicate different situations. For instance, a raccoon screams and makes noise when fighting with other raccoons. Besides, screeching and snarling indicate raccoons are under stress and looking for a safe and solitary place. 

Raccoons make a screeching or whistling sound when calling each other. Likewise, a female raccoon makes noise, such as screams. Many people think that screaming only indicates fighting, but research shows they also make these sounds when mating. 

Newborn raccoons make a lot of chittering and chippering noise emanating from the den. Baby raccoons sound like many birds chirping simultaneously, meaning the cubs are crying for food. Similarly, cubs make a high-pitch chirping noise when they feel threatened or annoyed

Dogs are not the only species that bark when looking for food, fight, or undergo stress. Raccoons also make loud noises, including loud barks, when they feel distressed, get injuries, suffer from pain, or have discomfort in muscles. Mother raccoons bark loud when looking for their missing cubs or to attract their cubs back to them. 

Do Raccoons Make Noise at Night?

Raccoons are nocturnal animals and rarely seen during the day, meaning they make various sounds at night. North American residents are pretty familiar with these noises at night, especially when these creatures knock over or rummage through attics, trash cans, and other areas. Raccoons often make growling sounds at night in response to danger or threat.

They also make loud noises, such as snorting, snarling, screaming, and whimpering. A baby raccoon noise also includes crying, mewing, and whining. When communicating or calling to each other at night, a raccoon will make sound like a screeching owl. Mother raccoons will chitter when searching for food at night. 

raccoon

What do Rabid Raccoons Sound Like?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wild animals account for over 92% animals carrying rabies, including bats (33%), raccoons (30.3%), and skunks (20.3%). Raccoons are prone to rabies, meaning they can pose a lot of danger to humans. You can identify an infected raccoon by its sounds. 

For instance, when a raccoon is infected, it will make squealing, hissing, and screeching noises. Although a healthy raccoon also makes such sounds in situations like mating or fighting, healthy raccoons don’t make squeaking or screeching noises in solitary conditions. These nocturnal mammals are quiet and calm, and won’t make these sounds unless they sense a threat. 

Raccoons are nocturnal animals that are primarily active at night. These mammals make more than 200 sounds with different variations and pitches, including chittering, purring, snarling, hissing, whimpering, barking, and screeching. 

Baby raccoons coo, chirp, and squeak when they are hungry. In response, the mother makes purring, chirring, and whistling sounds. Hissing, growling, and yowling indicate they are fighting each other. 

Barking sounds show raccoons are not happy. Rustling, thumping, and dragging sounds can indicate raccoons’ movements through the attic. Lastly, they will screech like an owl when calling out to each other. 

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Bryan Harding

Bryan has spent his whole life around animals. While loving all animals, Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Not only does Bryan share his knowledge and experience with our readers, but he also serves as owner, editor, and publisher of North American Nature.

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