What Sound Does a Raccoon Make? 7 Sounds

Could you be hearing some indiscernible animal noises/sounds at night in your attic and wonder what it could be? But, how do you tell if it’s raccoon’s sound

Well, the question at hand is, what sound does a raccoon make? Raccoons produce sounds like churring/purring, barking, chattering, hissing, and growling.

Raccoons may squeal, screech (like a whistle), snarl, or scream as well. Snorting and whimpering sounds are associated with adult raccoons, while baby raccoons make mewing, cry, and whine. 

Related: Does Raccoon Poop Look Like?

Details: What Sound Does a Raccoon Make

These raccoon sounds are made mainly when communicating with each other, searching for shelter & food, defending the baby raccoon, or fighting over a family colony.

1. Churring/Purring

Churring/purring is exclusive sound made by the baby raccoons in their den.

  • Adult female raccoon licks, holds, or nibbles young ones as a sign of care – in return, the cub reciprocate by purring.

The baby raccoons will continue to purr as long as the mother is touching them. For adult raccoons, they purr as a sign of happiness or affection to each other. 

If you pay keen attention, you will identify raccoon sounds easily since raccoons make sounds as they move along, unlike other wild animals. Importantly, raccoons are more active at night than day time.

2. Barking

Barking is a vocalization sound made by raccoons when suffering or when stressed.

  • Raccoon stresses are caused by situation such as hunger and continuous attacks in their colony.

Further, raccoon barks when stuck (in a wall or hole) or in such a case where they can’t find their baby raccoons.

Related: Remove Raccoons

3. Chittering

Chittering is a sound made by raccoons in context such as; when female calls the baby cubs, when communicating to other raccoons, or when baby raccoons come to meet their mother.

In addition, raccoon chitters when searching for food, in case they want to move about, or when they are playing happily in their resting place.

Since raccoons are very vocal during breeding times, you will hear chittering sound when they are mating or when calling their mate partners.

4. Hissing & Growling

Hissing and growling sound is made by raccoons only when they feel threatened, cornered, or trapped – it’s usually a way of scaring the enemy.

  • When hissing, raccoons tends to show their crawls and teeth as way of displaying their braveness.
  • Female mother raccoon can also growl or hiss when protecting her cubs/babies.

NB: Don’t try to catch growling raccoon as it may attack you dangerously in revenge.

5. Squealing/Screaming/Screeching/Snarling

Screeching, screaming, snarling, and squealing are violent sound made by raccoons when fighting.

  • Raccoon screeching sound is sharp and can often be confused with owl sound or cat fighting sound.

Furthermore, raccoons can squeal and scream when in pain or distress. 

Related: Smells Hated by Raccoons

6. Mewing/Crying/Whining

Mewing is common sound produced by baby raccoons in search for food.

  • Alternatively, the cubs may cry when scared as well.

Whining sound is made by both baby and adult raccoons in as soothing mode or when they notice a new raccoon family encroaching into their territory.

Which Sound is Made by Raccoon Movement?

Raccoon movement may make either of the sound highlighted below:

1. Dragging

Heavyweight raccoons (10-15 pounds) move slowly as they drag their feet along, especially on the rooftops.

The extra weight causes drag sound impacts on the floor or fixtures when a raccoon makes slight movement. Moreover, you will notice similar sound on the wall or inside a chimney as well.

In case you hear heavy thumping or loud sounds (footprint sound), especially in the beginning of the year when breeding is pronounced, it could be raccoons mating or looking for breeding ground in your home – most raccoon babies are born in summer (January to March).

However, such heavy mating sounds are usually accompanied by vocalizations and chittering.

2. Rustling

Rustling is a common sound made by raccoon when searching for food in garbage pits or bins while using their feet or mouthpart- raccoons push waste in the bins (using front feet/mouth) in order to get clearer view of available meal within, thus making rustling sound more audible in the process.

In addition, raccoons make rustling sound when tearing up wooden structures or brushing up their bodies against beams/walls in your attic.

When raccoon access book store (especially one with nylon papers), they make louder rustling sound.

3. Scratching

Scratch is a sharp sound made by raccoons with their craws when climbing walls, rooftops, chimney, or sliding on furniture.

Usually, the grip of the raccoon foot fails to hold onto the surface gently thus engaging the craws (to prevent fall), which cause scratching sound in the process.

Be keen when you detect similar sound in your cabinet, wardrobe, wall unit, or granary – that’s a sign of raccoon invasion.

NB: Engage professional if you are new to raccoons in order to avoid any danger that may arise.

Why Do Raccoons Make Sounds?

Usually, raccoons may make sound due to some of the reasons stated below:

1. In case of Danger

When raccoons detect danger in the vicinity, they make deep loud scaring sound.

  • The sound is meant to scare any oncoming enemy or mark their territory.

At times, raccoon may scream when attacked while alone due to excess fear.

2. When Communicating

Raccoons make soft rhythmical sound when communicating with each other. It could be asking for food, or planning to team for battle, as well as organizing for their mating season.

You will notice intermittent sound pattern in the midst of darkness, when you pay keen attention – these are in most cases raccoons communication signals.

3. When Fighting

During war or battle, adult raccoon screech as a defensive mechanism or way of expressing pain.

On the other hand, baby raccoon will cry in case the battle breaks up in their family territory to alert other raccoons in the neighborhood.

4. When Hungry – in search of food

Raccoon snarl, squeals, or cry, especially baby raccoon, when hungry.

  • The hunger sound is pronounced with extent to which the raccoon has stayed without food.

Though most adult raccoons are able to contend hunger sound on their own, baby raccoons will keep crying or squealing the whole night – perhaps hopping for a savior.

5. Scare other Raccoons

Since raccoon live in family colonies, each raccoon family wants to protect its territory from other raccoon family in all manner.

In this case, they make scaring sound any time they detect invasion from other raccoon family in their habitation.

6. When Stressed or Suffering

When Stressed up or suffering, raccoons tend to bark more and in a continuous way.

Raccoon stresses could result from lack of food, continuous attack by enemies, or when they can’t find their babies.

7. When Playing

Playing is common with raccoon, especially after meals – they run after each other on the rooftops or open fields.

  • You will hear quick sound steps or rolling sound at night when raccoons are playing.

For baby raccoons, the playing sound is accompanied by other vocalizations and screaming or chittering.

What are Alternative Ways of Detecting Raccoons?

It’s crucial to consider alternative ways (apart from raccoon sounds) of detecting sounds highlighted below in order to attain full certainty.

1. Using Poop or Droppings

Raccoon poop or droppings are usually elongated cylindrical solid substances that are piled up in one area (not scattered). The size of each fecal matter is about 3 to 6 inches long.

Raccoon droppings are pinky brown in color that rangers from light to dark brown. Moreover, fresh raccoon poop has strong unpleasant smell which can be detected a couple of feet away.

Usually, the fresh raccoon droppings are accompanied by urine (wet ground), which has slight smell. It’s easier to locate raccoon poop since they have specific area in which they excrete – treat such places as “family latrine”

2. Using Tracks – Footprint and Handprints

Raccoon tracks are found on surfaces along areas they use while searching food or breeding grounds.

  • Such surfaces could be soft sand, muddy ground, wet items, floors, or rooftops.

Usually, the raccoon footprints and handprints are left on surfaces along their path – you will notice paw marks, especially the fresh laid prints.

Also, you can identify raccoons by scratch marks on the wall surface, chimney interior, or roof surface – though such marks may be similar to that of cat, the depth is extra, while the width is extended.

3. Nocturnal Behavior Pattern

Unlike most wild animals, raccoons are more active at night than daytime.

You will find raccoon feeding at night or searching for food at such times. Further, raccoons mate in dark and nurse their babies similar times.

In case you notice such continuous activities at night in your home, there is high possibilities of having raccoon invasion. 

Related: Reliable Chipmunk Repellents

Conclusion

In summary on the question, what sound does a raccoon make; the sounds made could either be churring/purring, barking, chittering, hissing, or growling.

  • Alternatively, raccoons may snarl, squeal, screech (like whistle), or scream as well. Whimpering and Snorting sounds are commonly made by adult raccoons, while baby raccoons whine, mew, or cry instead.

Usually, the raccoon sounds are meant for communication with each other, searching for shelter & food, defending the babies from attacks, or invasive fight over family colony.

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