What Does A Raccoon Nest Look Like?


Are raccoons leaving a mess in your yard, and you’re now concerned that they may have built a nest close by? You don’t know where raccoons dwell, which is an issue. How can a raccoon nest appear then?

Raccoons enter pre-existing areas that provide cover rather than creating new nests. Porches, sheds, and attics. Raccoons can also live in cracks in rocks, logs, and trees. Raccoons frequently exploit the nests and burrows that larger animals like foxes and birds of prey have left behind.

Continue reading if you want to understand more about raccoon dens. You can use this guide to learn the typical locations where raccoons make their homes. Additionally, you’ll discover the warning signals of raccoons in your neighborhood.

Raccoon Nest

Where do Raccoons build nests?

Raccoons are opportunistic creatures who will take advantage of any situation.

Despite being very lethargic animals, they won’t go out of their way to build any kind of shelter for themselves.

Raccoons look for little areas that provide them with cover, shelter, and warmth. Additionally, if there is a nearby food source, they are in luck.

Raccoons are found in both urban and rural locations because they have learned that being close to people has many advantages.

Let’s examine where and how raccoons most frequently construct their nests.

1. Attics & Chimneys

Raccoon dens prefer attics and chimneys. The exterior of the house is well-protected by its walls.

Attics and chimneys benefit from heat rising since they are high in the house. As a result, it becomes incredibly warm and ideal for growing young raccoons.

Raccoons gain from the attic’s abundance of insulation, which creates a cozy place for them to relax and stay warm.

Raccoons like to sleep in attics during the daytime hours when they are dark and undisturbed. They are then free to come and go during the night as they wish.

Raccoons are expert climbers and use trees to reach higher elevations. They then discover openings in roofs, stonework, or vents to get access to attics and chimneys.

2. Decking & Crawlspace

A raccoon will probably accept the next best offer if it cannot enter the attic of a house. Porches, crawlspaces, and underneath decking are all viable options.

Raccoons can easily gain access to these areas by making small entrances in the nearby dirt.

All the advantages of shelter are offered by decking and crawlspaces, plus additional heat from the house. Although the presence of people overhead could slightly frighten the raccoons. Finding safety and shelter frequently comes at a cost.

Raccoons also quickly discover that people generally avoid them and pose no harm.

3. Sheds

Raccoons may also try to find a home in sheds. They are typically undisturbed shelters that are close to food supplies near residences.

Raccoons may reside within the shed or directly underneath it. Any items kept within the shed could be harmed if the raccoons are there. To make some insulation for warmth, material like cardboard boxes can be torn apart.

Poorly maintained walls or doors could allow raccoons access to outbuildings. Or, if they are below, they can just construct a small tunnel into the foundations.

4. Trees

The hollowed-out part of a tree is one of the animals’ natural dens. You could even spot a raccoon sticking its head out of a tiny den it has dug.

In forested settings, raccoons can also make use of downed trees or hollowed-out logs.

Raccoons can find shelter from the elements in trees. Additionally, especially if the hollow is slightly higher up, it provides protection from predators. Additionally, trees can be a fantastic source of food like nuts and fruits.

One raccoon can fit in a small hollow, while larger hollows can house a mother and her young.

5. Abandoned Burrows

Raccoons are opportunistic in every way, including choosing a location for their den. They will look for abandoned burrows that other, larger animals have left behind. Apparently, raccoons make good use of abandoned fox and skunk burrows. These are precisely the right size to accommodate a couple raccoons.

Raccoons can dig a little bit, although they mostly employ this ability to unearth grubs from the ground. Raccoons lack the aptitude that animals that burrow possess. So they delegate all the laborious tasks to them, and after they are done with them, the raccoons take over.

The raccoons can relax and rear their young in these tunnels, which provide good cover and warmth.

6. Abandoned Bird Nests

Raccoons are well-known for their prowess as climbers and for spending a lot of time in trees. They will assume control of a sizable, abandoned bird’s nest if they come across one.

These are typically old nests of big raptors like owls or hawks. However, some birds, like crows, may create sizable nests big enough to house a single raccoon.

The raccoons are protected from predators that cannot ascend because of the height of these nests. In a densely forested location, the tree’s branches and foliage might also offer some cover. In a bird’s nest, raccoons may typically be left alone to sleep during the day.

The ability to build sturdy, warm nests is a skill that birds have mastered. When raccoons take over these nests, they profit from the sturdy construction.

7. Large Rocks

There are frequently rocky places with tiny fissures in forest settings. These little cave-like buildings will be used by raccoons as shelter.

For raccoons, these rocky places are like pre-built dwellings. Strong winds and heavy rain cannot readily break the stability of rocks.

8. Leaf Piles

If a raccoon needs a spot to rest but can’t find one, they may settle for a pile of leaves.

Although a big mound of leaves may not look inviting, a raccoon can find warmth and temporary shelter in it.

The presence of leaves indicates that the area is typically shielded from severe winds and largely untouched.

Leaf piles won’t serve as a raccoon’s permanent home. But when they are in between longer-term sheltering locations, they are a fantastic stopgap measure.

This is not a comprehensive list of all the possible habitats for raccoons. They’ll essentially set up camp and stay put for a few days wherever they can find cover.

Raccoons frequently only stay in a den for a few days before moving on to another location. However, the majority of raccoons will probably replace them if it’s a good area to be safe and find food.

9 Signs of Raccoons near Your Home

How can you tell whether a raccoon nest is close by now that you know where they reside?

Raccoons tend to come out at night, so they can go unnoticed for a while. However, they soon begin to leave traces of their presence.

Using a trail camera is the best way to catch the raccoons in the act if you don’t feel like playing detective. That one is the one I suggest.

Let’s examine the warning signals that a raccoon is present in your area.

1. Paw Prints

Raccoon paw prints are extremely noticeable because they resemble small handprints. Raccoons have thumbs, which makes it easier for you to distinguish them from other pests in your yard.

In the winter, pawprints can be easy to spot on wet snow or soil.

2. Scat

The presence of raccoon droppings indicates the presence of a neighboring home. In actuality, raccoons frequently utilize the same location, called a latrine. These sites frequently turn into large raccoon colonies’ latrines.

This results in significant accumulations of raccoon waste in certain regions. These have blunt edges and resemble sausage shapes; occasionally, they contain undigested food.

The presence of raccoon spit in your yard should be handled carefully since it might be deadly. See my guide on how to handle any raccoon waste you discover in your yard.

3. Rub marks

Raccoons frequently follow the same tracks and paths repeatedly. Even so, they’ll make an effort to claim things as their own. They do this by stroking the surfaces they pass on with their anus, groins, and bellies.

This may leave paw prints around entrances to places you think they frequent or even rub marks.

4. Raccoon hair

They can be identified by the raccoon hair you may notice in your yard. In the spring, raccoons will start to molt their fur. This often lasts three months.

Raccoon hair is a mixture of white, grey, black, and brown, similar to a long-haired dog.

If raccoons have any parasites or illnesses that cause severe hair loss, they may also shed big patches of hair.

5. Property damage

Raccoons are a nuisance because they may readily do extensive damage to a property.

They may eat beams and boards and remove roofing, soffits, and insulation from houses. Raccoon damage in attic spaces is the most expensive.

However, scratch marks can also harm sheds and even external property. Raccoons have been known to dig up lawns when looking for grub in the dirt.

6. Messy yard

Raccoons raiding your trash cans is a clear indication that they are in your yard. Raccoons should be your first suspicion if you wake up in the morning to find trash all over your yard.

Garbage cans are easily opened by raccoons, who then take out food scraps to eat. You can read my tutorial on preventing raccoons from using your trash cans.

7. Empty bird feeders

Raccoons can be to blame if you place a bird feeder in your yard and then discover it is suddenly empty. This can be a feeder for seeds or nectar.

Bird feeders are a convenient source of food for raccoons, and they will go to great lengths to try to empty the food overnight.

8. Noises

Raccoons are loud, talkative animals that will bark and make other noises if they feel threatened. Raccoons may be available for you to eat nearby, particularly in the wee hours of the morning.

Raccoons may potentially be making noises below your floor or above you in your attic. When parents have rowdy, inquisitive infants, this will become more clear.

9. Smells

There may be a distinct smell emanating from raccoons. This is because they expel a secretion to indicate their area.

Even worse, raccoon urine smells strongly. Additionally, their feces have a pungent scent, which gets worse when they accumulate in a latrine.

It might easily be a raccoon if you detect foul odors coming from your shed, crawlspace, or attic.

How to Prevent Raccoons

Making it uncomfortable for raccoons to stay in your yard or house is the greatest approach to get rid of them.

Raccoons are quite simple creatures; all they really need is a place where they can feel secure, warm, and have access to some food.

They won’t consider your property to be a good location to stay if these basic necessities aren’t met. They will seek out a location where they can acquire these items.

Check out my guide on 14 methods to prevent raccoons if you’re seeking for the best ways to keep them off your property.


Do raccoons live in storm drains?

Storm drains are not typically used as raccoon dens. However, raccoons frequently use storm drains to sneak around. Because they are used so regularly by raccoons, storm drains are frequently referred to as superhighways.

Occasionally, raccoons might find refuge in a storm drain. However, they wouldn’t be able to use it as a place of relaxation because they would constantly be interrupted due to their busy schedules.

Final Thoughts

How can a raccoon nest appear then? Raccoons don’t actually construct nests, though. They’ll build dens in protected places.

Raccoons will use a variety of locations as dens, including sheds, decks, and human residences. Additionally, they will make advantage of natural features like trees, rocks, abandoned nests, and burrows.

These are frequently indicators that raccoons are present close to your home. Smells, paw prints, noises, and property destruction are a few examples. The good news is that the first step is identifying raccoons as the culprit. Then you can implement plans to keep them off your land.


Where do raccoons hide during the day?

Raccoons seek refuge during the day in different kinds of settings. Raccoons hide in attics, garages, and beneath decks in suburban regions but sleep in abandoned automobiles, dumpsters, and sewage drains in urban areas. They sleep and reside in abandoned animal burrows, caves, and tree hollows in the wild.

How does a raccoon nest look?

The hollowed-out part of a tree is one of the animals’ natural dens. You could even spot a raccoon sticking its head out of a tiny den it has dug. In forested settings, raccoons can also make use of downed trees or hollowed-out logs. Raccoons can find shelter from the elements in trees.

How do you tell if a raccoon is living in your yard?

Raccoon activity is also strongly indicated by scratch marks and droppings seen at the foot of trees or woodpiles. If any of these warning signs go unnoticed, keep an eye out for trash cans that are overturned, debris scattered over your yard, low growls, and shuffling sounds as raccoons run along your roof or inside your walls.

How do you know if you have a raccoon den?

Typically, the den will be covered in branches, leaves, and other detritus. You may anticipate their nests to be untidy because raccoons are by no means tidy creatures. If you smell something very musky, you’ve probably identified the den because the smell is another clear sign that raccoons are using the area.

Where do raccoons make their nests?

Raccoons are most active at night, however, they may also go out hunting during the day. They will almost always have more than one den site available at any given time and will build their nests practically anyplace, including tree cavities, brush heaps, abandoned burrows, chimneys, attics, crawl spaces, storm sewers, haystacks, and barn lofts.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author