Raccoons are charismatic animal species found in North America. You may not have realized you have heard them, as raccoons can make many a variety of sounds. Please read on if you want to know what a raccoon sounds like.
Research shows that raccoons make more than 200 different sounds, and each sound indicates a different function or activity. Raccoons use a wide variety of 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 familiar residents in North American suburbs, towns, and cities. For instance, they walk flat-footed like humans, bears, and elephants. Raccoons can rotate their hind feet 180 degrees to descend a tree headfirst.
All these characteristics or traits make them many people’s favorite animals. However, their varied vocal repertoire is the most recognizable, including growls, snarls, whimpers, purrs, screams, and whinnies.
What Sounds Do Raccoons Make?
Raccoons make many different noises, including a unique sound when communicating with other raccoons, searching for food or shelter, and protecting their cubs. When raccoons communicate with others, they whistle like owls but growl when they sense danger or a threat.
The purpose is to call other raccoons for help and defense. A low grunt indicates their presence to homeowners, and a scream is a sound raccoons use when stressed.
The sounds raccoons make include a chittering noise, a typical 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. They also make chittering sounds when communicating with others at a distance, searching for food and shelter, or roaming around.
Research shows that raccoons make various chittering sounds during the breeding season. Females use different chittering sounds to call on a male raccoon.
Purring is another familiar sound made by raccoons, especially young ones. The baby raccoon purrs when a mother raccoon holds or licks a cub. It indicates that young raccoons are interacting with their mother.
At the same time, a female raccoon uses a purring sound when showing affection for its 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.
Although raccoons try to avoid violence, they react to threats and dangerous situations. Growling is a defensive sound when raccoons 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 trying to protect their young ones.
What Does it Mean When Raccoons Make Noise?
Raccoons make a lot of noise, 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 stressed and looking for a safe and solitary place.
They use many types of noises when calling each other, including screeching or whistling. 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 from the den. Baby raccoons sound like lots of birds chirping simultaneously as they cry 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, fighting, or undergoing stress. Raccoons also make loud noises, including loud barks, when a raccoon is in distress, get injuries, suffers from pain, or have muscle discomfort. Mother raccoons bark loudly 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 you are likelier to hear raccoon sounds at night. North American residents are pretty familiar with these noises at night, especially when they often make noise knocking over or rummaging through attics, trash cans, and other areas. A growling sound is normally in response to danger or a threat that raccoons make at night, although hearing these noises from your home can be unsettling.
Raccoons are very vocal animals and make loud sounds and noises, such as snorting, snarling, screaming, and whimpering. A baby raccoon noise also includes crying, mewing, and whining. When communicating or calling each other at night, a raccoon will sound like a screeching owl. Mother raccoons will chitter when searching for food at night.
If you hear movement noises or the sound of an animal rustling in your attic, it may be a raccoon. The common signs of a raccoon are growling at night and crying if baby raccoons are living under your roof.
What do Rabid Raccoons Sound Like?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wild animals account for over 92% of animals carrying rabies, including bats (33%), raccoons (30.3%), and skunks (20.3%). Raccoons are prone to rabies, which can pose a lot of danger to humans. You can identify an infected raccoon by its sounds.
For instance, an infected raccoon 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.
Bryan Harding is a member of the American Society of Mammalogists and a member of the American Birding Association. Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Bryan serves as owner, writer, and publisher of North American Nature.