How and Where Do Raccoons Sleep? Everything You Need to Know

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Updated: September 19, 2023
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Raccoons are nocturnal omnivores found predominantly in rural and urban areas of North America and South America. They are very opportunistic animals, as they can be found sleeping in various places. 

Raccoons can adapt to any environment they find themselves in, which is why they can be found in coastal areas, mountains, and even urban territories. 

Because they are often active at night, you might wonder how and where they sleep. Read on to satisfy your curiosity, and learn more about their sleeping habitat.

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Where Do Raccoons Sleep?

raccoons walking together

Raccoons sleep in trees and abandoned urban settlements.


Raccoons sleep in trees and abandoned urban settlements. These animals can be found in hollow trees out in the open or dens made in uninhabited buildings, crawl spaces, sheds, and attics. They will sleep where they get the opportunity to, and you might not see them sleeping at the exact location very often. 

Raccoons don’t sleep on the ground in the wild. This is because they are vulnerable to large predators like wild cats. Instead, they make dens in trees to sleep during daylight hours. Staying or sleeping in trees has helped protect raccoons from predators that can’t climb.

Female raccoons often use high trees to protect their young from predators within the first few months of their life. The young ones stay and sleep here until they can fend for themselves.

While raccoons mostly sleep in trees or near bodies of water, they can also adapt to urban living. In urban settlements, they make their nests in barns, brush piles, and abandoned cars. They also like to sleep in attics and chimneys of homes. This is most likely where you will find female raccoons who want to protect their young from predators.

Different Types of Raccoon And Their Habitat 

Raccoon close-up

Raccoons sleep in trees in the wild to protect themselves from predators.


Most of the world’s raccoons can be found in North or South America. The raccoons of the forest region possess darker fur coats, while those in the desert region have lighter fur coats. Below are some of the popular species of raccoon around the world

The Eastern Raccoon

Also known scientifically as Procyon lotor lotor, this raccoon can be found mainly in New York, New Brunswick in Canada, Ohio, and eastern Tennessee. It is the primary carrier of Lyme disease. It’s a small raccoon with black fur on its back.

The Key Vaca Raccoon

Also known scientifically as Procyon lotor auspicatus, this raccoon is famous near the coast of South Florida, and it lives mainly in the roots of the Magnolia tree. It’s one of the smallest raccoon species with grey fur

The Texas Raccoon

Texas raccoons are scientifically known as Procyon lotor fuscipes. This raccoon is very unusual because it is very social compared to other species. It can mature to the size of a small dog. Popular in South Texas, west of Louisiana, and northern Mexico.

When Do Raccoons Sleep?

Because they are nocturnal, raccoons sleep during daylight hours and stay up at night-time to forage for food. They search for the dens to sleep in during the day, but sometimes you might find them foraging for food in urban areas. 

The female raccoon can be found looking for a den to sleep in if she has a baby raccoon to care for; even raccoons looking for new territory or space can be seen moving around during daytime.

When night comes, these mammals leave their homes and look for the nearest food source. They have a black mask around their eyes, which is believed to aid their night vision. They are known to eat everything, so you’ll find them often near streams, garbage cans, and even farm fields.

Where Do Raccoons Sleep in The Winter?

Exotic Pet Ownership raccoon

Raccoons sleep in attics, bans, and garbage cans during winter.

©Maryna Rayimova/

Raccoons don’t hibernate in the winter, they enter a state of torpor instead. You will find them sleeping in warm and cozy locations, like the attic, barn, and even garbage cans during winter. Don’t be surprised if you find a raccoon rummaging through your trash can in winter.

Because of the shortage of food in wintertime, raccoons sleep for more extended periods and might not leave their den for weeks. The reason they bulk up on food during warmer weather conditions is so that they can survive on their body fat during colder seasons. 

You can find them sleeping in groups in the den, and even on rare occasions, they will share their dens with skunks to survive the cold.

How Much Do Raccoons Sleep in a Day?

A raccoon can sleep between six to eight hours per day. They typically sleep till it’s sundown, which is when they leave their dens in search of food. The amount of sleep they get per day also depends on the time of the year. Raccoons tend to sleep more in the winter than during warmer seasons.

Do Raccoons Sleep Alone or Together?

Raccoons often sleep together in their dens for warmth. A den can consist of a mother and her offspring or several generations of raccoons living together.

Male and female raccoons don’t live together; they only do when it’s time to mate. The males are very solitary mammals, so they can’t sleep with other raccoons in dens. However, it is essential for the female raccoons and their young ones to huddle together, especially during the cold winter, for warmth.

What Does a Raccoon Den Look Like?

Maybe it’s because they don’t stay in one place, but raccoons are not picky about their building materials. Most of the time, their den consists of grass, hay, and the occasional fabric. These materials are collected or gathered in bulk to provide heat and insulation in the den.

Facts About Raccoons

Below are some known and unknown facts about raccoons:

  1. They are the world’s most common carriers of rabies amongst animals in the wild.
  1. Raccoons dens or nests can consist of about 30 raccoons living together, and this group is collectively called a gaze.
  1. The female raccoon gestation period is 63 days. They give birth to about seven baby raccoons or kits once a year.
  1. Raccoons are very smart, and they possess a very high IQ, one that is higher than that of cats and slightly lower than a monkey’s IQ.
  1. A male raccoon can mate with several females in a year, while the female mates with only one male. 
  1. Raccoons are excellent swimmers.
  1. Raccoons have unpredictable behavior and can be very dangerous

What Should You Not Do When You See a Raccoon?

Raccoons at night

If all else fails and you cannot avoid a confrontation with a raccoon, running away is the best choice.


When encountering a raccoon, it’s essential to follow some key guidelines to ensure both your safety and the raccoon’s well-being. Firstly, avoid cornering the raccoon, as this can make it feel threatened and more likely to become aggressive. Instead, maintain a safe distance and provide the animal with an escape route.

If the situation escalates and you cannot avoid a confrontation, running away is often the best course of action as raccoons are one of the most likely animals to have rabies.

Additionally, raccoons are agile climbers and are unlikely to pursue you. If an unavoidable encounter occurs, it’s crucial to know how to protect your skin by wearing protective clothing or using thick gloves to minimize the risk of scratches or bites.

In cases where a raccoon becomes a persistent problem, it’s advisable to stay inside and contact professional raccoon removal services in Milwaukee to handle the situation safely and effectively.


While raccoons are primarily active at night, it isn’t uncommon to find them up and about during the day. While they mostly spend the day sleeping, some of them also forage for food. Now that you know their sleeping habits and patterns, it’s easier for you to watch out for these destructive and hazardous animals in your home

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