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Raccoons are charismatic animal species found in North America. You may not have realized you have heard them, as raccoons can make a variety of sounds.

Research shows that raccoons make more than 200 different sounds, and each sound is used to protect themselves or communicate with others. 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.

Raccoons have unique characteristics and an ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Raccoons are familiar residents in North American suburbs, towns, and cities. 

Their varied vocalizations are some of the most recognizable among animals, and include growls, snarls, whimpers, purrs, screams, and whinnies.

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What Do The Sounds Of Raccoons Mean?

VocalizationNoise DescriptionPossible Reasons
GrowlingLow, guttural soundAgitation, warning to threats or other raccoons
HissingLoud hissesDefensive response, intimidation
ScreamingLoud, high-pitched scream or screechIntense confrontation, distress, pain
ChatteringThe rapid chattering of teethAgitation, anxiety, distress
WhiningHigh-pitched, plaintive soundYoung raccoons seeking attention from the mother
Huffing or SnortingShort bursts of exhalationAgitation, irritation
Raccoon noises and sounds infographics

Why Do Raccoons Make Noise?

Raccoons make various sounds including screeching, screaming, squealing, and whistling. These vocalizations indicate different situations. A raccoon can be heard screaming and making noise when fighting with other raccoons, while screeching and snarling indicate raccoons are stressed and looking for a safe and solitary place. 

They use many types of sound when calling each other, including a higher-pitched screeching or whistling. Female raccoons can often be heard to make noise such as screams. Screaming doesn’t only indicate fighting, but these shrill sounds are also used when mating.

Newborn raccoons make a lot of chittering and chippering noise from the den. Baby raccoons sound like birds chirping simultaneously as they cry for food. Cubs also make a high-pitched chirping noise when they feel threatened or annoyed

Raccoons make loud barks like dogs when they are in distress or get injured. Mothers also bark loudly when looking to attract their cubs back to them. 


A typical sound that raccoons make includes a chittering noise, which has variations depending on the situation. When adult raccoons chitter, it is when they are communicating with other adults. However, young ones also chitter to call their mothers. Chittering can also be heard when communicating with others at a distance, searching for food and shelter, or roaming around. 

Females also use different chittering sounds during the mating season to call male raccoons and show they are interested in breeding.

raccoon digging


Purring is another familiar sound made by raccoons, especially young ones. Baby raccoons purr when a mother raccoon holds or licks them.

Female raccoons also use a purring sound when showing affection for their cubs. The purring sound indicates happiness, satisfaction, pleasure, and joy. Males will also purr when they are happy and to show affection.

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Although raccoons try to avoid conflicts, 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 threats or to defend themselves. Female raccoons make loud growling and hissing sounds when trying to protect their young ones. 

Raccoons may growl when they feel threatened or agitated and serves as a warning to other animals to keep away. It’s a way for them to communicate that they are not comfortable with their surroundings or that they perceive a potential danger.

Growling can also be a means of defending their territory. Raccoons are territorial animals and might vocalize their presence to deter other raccoons from encroaching on their territory.

What Sounds Do Raccoons Make When Angry?

When raccoons are agitated or angry, they can produce a variety of vocalizations and sounds to express their displeasure or discomfort.

Raccoons might emit low and guttural growling sounds when they are agitated. This can be a warning sign to potential threats or other raccoons to back off.

Raccoons may hiss when they feel threatened or cornered. It’s a defensive sound meant to intimidate and discourage predators or other animals from approaching.

In more intense confrontations or when experiencing pain or distress, raccoons might emit loud screams or screeches. These sounds can be quite unsettling and can occur during territorial disputes or aggressive interactions.

Young raccoons, also known as kits, might emit whining sounds when they are uncomfortable or seeking attention from their mother.

It’s important to note that raccoons are wild animals and can be unpredictable in their behavior. When encountering raccoons, especially if they are displaying signs of agitation, it’s best to give them space and avoid provoking them.

Raccoons are known carriers of diseases, so it’s important to prioritize safety and not approach or attempt to handle them without proper knowledge and precautions. If you encounter raccoons frequently or have concerns about their behavior, consider seeking advice from local wildlife authorities or experts.

Do Raccoons Make Noise at Night?

Raccoons are nocturnal animals and rarely seen during the day, and homeowners often hear raccoons in the attic at night. North American residents are pretty familiar with hearing raccoons 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 may 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 or crying if baby raccoons are living in your house.

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 often identify an infected raccoon by its sounds. 

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. 

10 Signs You Have Raccoons In Your Home

If you suspect that you might have raccoons in your home, there are several signs to look for that can help you confirm their presence. Here are some indicators that raccoons might be inhabiting your residence:

  1. Strange Noises: Raccoons are most active at night, so you might hear sounds like scratching, thumping, or scurrying in the attic, walls, or other secluded areas during the evening or early morning.
  2. Strong Odor: Raccoons have a distinct musky odor. If you notice a strong and unusual smell, especially in confined spaces like attics, crawl spaces, or wall voids, it could indicate the presence of raccoons.
  3. Damaged Entry Points: Raccoons are excellent climbers and can access your home through openings like damaged vents, broken screens, holes in the roof, or gaps in the siding. Look for signs of damage or newly created openings.
  4. Fecal Matter (Scat): Raccoon droppings are typically cylindrical in shape and can resemble those of a small dog. If you find raccoon scat around your property or inside your home, it’s a strong indication of their presence.
  5. Disturbed Trash: Raccoons are notorious scavengers and can rummage through garbage cans and bins. If you consistently find your trash cans overturned or disturbed, raccoons might be responsible.
  6. Footprints or Tracks: Raccoon footprints can leave identifiable tracks with distinct hand-like prints and claw marks. Look for tracks around areas where you suspect raccoons might be entering.
  7. Nesting Materials: Raccoons might use materials like leaves, twigs, and insulation to create nests in attics, chimneys, or other sheltered spaces.
  8. Visual Sightings: If you spot raccoons entering or leaving your home, especially during nighttime, it’s a clear indication of their presence.
  9. Pet Behavior: If your pets react to certain areas of your home or show signs of distress, they might be sensing raccoons’ presence.
  10. Droppings or Urine Stains: Check for urine stains on walls, ceilings, or attic insulation, as well as any droppings or urine-soaked areas.

If you suspect raccoons are in your home, it’s advisable to address the situation promptly. Raccoons can carry diseases and cause damage to property. To handle raccoons safely and humanely, consider contacting local wildlife authorities or professional pest control services experienced in wildlife removal.


How To Get Rid Of Raccoons From Your House

If you have raccoons in your house and you want to remove them, it’s important to handle the situation safely, ethically, and effectively. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get raccoons out of your house:

1. Assess the Situation:
Determine if you’re dealing with a mother raccoon and her babies (kits). If so, avoid separating them, as young raccoons are dependent on their mother. Wait until the kits are old enough to move on their own before taking action.

2. Identify Entry Points:
Locate the points of entry raccoons are using to access your house. This could be gaps in the roof, broken vents, open chimneys, or holes in walls.

3. Seal Entry Points:
Before removing the raccoons, seal all entry points except one to prevent them from re-entering. Use durable materials to ensure the raccoons can’t easily break through. Ensure you’re not trapping raccoons inside your house.

4. Choose a Removal Method:
There are different methods to remove raccoons:

  • Humanely Encourage Them to Leave: Leave the remaining entry point open and create noise or light disturbances near it. Raccoons are nocturnal, so doing this during the day can prompt them to leave and not return.
  • Use a One-Way Door: Install a one-way door or funnel at the open entry point. These devices allow raccoons to exit but not re-enter. However, ensure all raccoons have left before sealing the entry.
  • Professional Trapper: If the situation is complex or the raccoons are aggressive, consider hiring a professional wildlife removal expert to safely and humanely handle the removal.

5. Prevention:
After raccoons are gone, thoroughly inspect your property for any potential entry points. Seal or repair these openings to prevent future raccoon intrusions.

6. Cleaning and Sanitizing:
Raccoons can carry diseases and parasites. Clean and sanitize the areas they inhabited, especially if they were in your attic or crawl spaces.

7. Humane Handling:
If you’re using a one-way door or funnel, check daily to ensure all raccoons have left. Never use poison or harmful methods, as they are ineffective and inhumane.

8. Legal Considerations:
In some regions, it may be illegal to disturb or remove raccoons without the proper permits. Research local laws and regulations before taking action.

Remember, raccoons can be unpredictable and potentially carry diseases, so it’s important to prioritize safety. If you’re uncertain about how to handle raccoon removal, consider consulting a professional wildlife removal service to ensure a safe and ethical resolution.

References And Further Reading

  1. “Raccoons: A Natural History” by Samuel I. Zeveloff This book covers a wide range of topics related to raccoons, including their behavior, habitat, and vocalizations.
  2. “Urban Carnivores: Ecology, Conflict, and Conservation” by Stanley D. Gehrt, Seth P.D. Riley, and Brian L. Cypher While focused on urban carnivores, this book may offer insights into raccoon behavior, including the various sounds they make.
  3. “Raccoons: A Guide to Management” by Jim Vantassel This book addresses raccoon behavior, interactions with humans, and management strategies, which could include information about their vocalizations.