FOX19 - We've received several pictures recently of raccoons out during daylight hours near and around the Tri-State. This has raised concern among some people that the animals are rabid.
While raccoons are primarily nocturnal animals, it's not that unusual to spot them out during the day. Raccoons will sometime search for a new habitat during the day or take advantage of an easily accessible food source. Mother raccoons have to eat more food than usual when they are taking care of their young. This may require them to forage during a few of the daylight hours as well as at night.
Hot temperatures can also play a factor. As baby raccoons born in the spring slowly mature, they will begin to venture outside of their dens. They are sometimes encouraged to do this when the temperatures inside the den rise to uncomfortable levels. This may explain some of the more recent sightings in our area.
Though activity during the day is one of the signs that a raccoon has the rabies virus, there are some other symptoms that are more telling. Key signs of rabies in a raccoon are:
- Staggering gait, erratic wandering
- Oblivious to nearby sounds or movement
-Discharge from eyes or mouth
-Wet, matted hair on face
-Repeated high-pitch vocalization
If you see a raccoon with any of the above symptoms, contact your local animal control. If not, there's no need to worry and you can take advantage of the opportunity to snap a picture of one of these elusive creatures.