Uncovering the Mysteries of Raccoon Sleep: How They Rest and Why it Matters

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Raccoons are nocturnal animals that sleep in nests or dens during the day. When they aren’t out foraging for food, they can be found dozing all over the Americas, from wild areas to urban places – and sometimes, you’ll even find them in your home!

In this article, Floofmania looks at the raccoon’s sleeping habits, including when raccoons sleep, where raccoons sleep, if raccoons sleep together, and why raccoons may come out during the daytime. Try to stay awake for this one!

When Do Raccoons Go To Sleep?

Given they are nocturnal animals, raccoons will sleep throughout the day and only venture out at dusk to forage for food and perform their other usual nighttime activities. 

The night’s shadows protect them from predators like coyotes, wild canines, and wild cats while moving high in the trees.

Raccoons will return to the safety of their dens and go to sleep in the early morning hours before the sun rises and before humans and daytime, predators can spot them.

How Long Do Raccoons Sleep For?

Raccoons typically sleep six to eight hours daily until the sun goes down. Once the sun sets, raccoons leave their den or the tree and begin foraging. 

The time they spend sleeping also depends on the time of year.

Raccoon sleeping in a rock formation with its fave turned towards the camera.

What Does It Mean If I See A Raccoon During The Daytime?

It is uncommon for raccoons to be out during the day because they are vulnerable and easily spotted in bright sunlight. However, they may sometimes have perfectly valid reasons for being out and about, such as searching for a new den. 

Another exception is during April and May when it is pretty normal to spot mother raccoons foraging for food at midday. This is the raccoons’ cub-rearing season, and many moms are looking to provide for their new litter of cubs. 

In some cases, however, raccoons being out during the day can be a bad sign. It can mean they have a disease or illness such as parvovirus or rabies. 

The simplest way to identify if the daytime raccoon is healthy or not is by observing its movements. Healthy raccoons move quickly, doing their best to find food and return to their den as fast as possible. Unhealthy or injured raccoons are in no rush to return and often appear to seek attention.

Observe the behavior of raccoons and call animal control instead of intervening yourself. If you live in an urban area with food, improperly stored trash, or other items that might attract raccoons, be additionally cautious of raccoons.

Where Do Raccoons Sleep?

Raccoons are not known to make their own dens but simply move into existing ones.

They prefer sleeping in trees in nature, including holes in trees, fallen trees, logs, stumps, and much more. They also occasionally inhabit abandoned dens of other animals or may even share shelters with other animals, such as skunks, during harsh winters. 

A tree branch will work in a pinch, but raccoons prefer small, enclosed spaces that protect from large predators. Some standard raccoon favorites include:

  • Hollow logs
  • Tree roots
  • Holes
  • Abandoned cars
  • Empty, secluded rooms

Being opportunistic animals, raccoons will also make dens in secretive locations and abandoned areas that homeowners do not often check, such as in unfrequented or abandoned buildings, attics, sheds, crawl spaces, the back of a barn or shed, or underneath a porch.

A raccoon peeping out of its tree hollow den:

Do Raccoons Return To The Same Place To Sleep?

Raccoons are masters of remaining hidden in stealth and change their den location daily so predators or homeowners cannot detect their presence.

The only exception is during wintertime and cub-rearing season. During these times, the raccoons stay put and return to the same nest almost every day since it is either too cold or too much effort to be on the move constantly.

Do Raccoons Sleep Together?

Raccoons sleep in their nests or dens with their families, usually in groups of four to five raccoons comprised of a female and her young. They sleep huddled together for warmth and protection from predators until the fall when the young will strike out on their own.

Males and females tend to live separately and only come together for mating. 

Male raccoons are solitary mammals and do not sleep in nests or dens with other raccoons. 

Two raccoons snuggled up together in sleep on a tree trunk.

What To Do If I Find A Raccoon Sleeping In My Yard or On My Porch?

Raccoons that move into homes are typically mothers about to give birth. If you are willing to house them until the kits are big enough to move out on their own in about 8-10 weeks, you theoretically can – but note that many things can happen in those months.

Raccoons are known to steal things, particularly food and shiny objects. They will also make a latrine or a designated “toilet” area where they will routinely urinate and defecate, exposing you and your family to bacteria.

Call a pest control or animal removal service if you find a raccoon sleeping in your yard or porch. Services like animal control can humanely capture any raccoons you find in your home or property and release them somewhere they can naturally flourish.

Author: Bernice Go

Bernice Go is a violinist and orchestra manager by profession but a writer by hobby. She enjoys writing about various topics, from music to animals to self-development. When she isn’t playing the violin or writing, she loves reading, traveling, playing video games, and savoring a good cup of coffee.

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