Are Raccoons Nocturnal Or Diurnal? Their Sleep Behavior Explained

Are raccoons nocturnal or diurnal? Raccoons are somewhat controversial characters. Some people find these furry mammals cute and cuddly; others regard the species as a pest. Raccoons are known to have relatively large brains yet somewhat limited social skills.

They are primarily solitary animals, with the male especially often sleeping alone. Let’s take a closer look at these fascinating animals by examining their waking and sleeping cycles.

Raccoons Are Nocturnal

Raccoons are nocturnal animals. They may venture out during the twilight- crepuscular- hours, but nighttime is undeniably their prime time. This time of the day is when they forage, scavenge and eat.

How Do Raccoons See at Night?

Raccoon’s eyes are well adapted for nocturnal excursions. Their eyes have a protective layer, the tapetum lucidum, behind the retina. It acts as a mirror and reflects the light to help the raccoon see well in dark conditions.

Are Nocturnal Eyes Different from Diurnal Eyes?

Nocturnal animals like raccoons possess a tapetum lucidum which reflects light. This light reflection is due to a minimum number of cone cells in their retina. Also, their eye structure ensures that they absorb light when necessary.

When Are Raccoons Most Active?

Raccoons are most active at night. They roam widely and energetically after darkness. Males can cover well over three square miles as they forage and hunt. Females cover slightly less ground, especially if they have young ones that need attention.