Do Raccoons Live in Nests Up in The Trees?

raccoons live in nests


When it comes to raccoons, many people wonder do raccoons live in nests up in the trees. In this article, we will explore the fascinating behaviours and habits of raccoons, shedding light on their nesting preferences and living patterns.

Do Raccoons Live in Nests Up in the Trees?

Researchers who have observed wild raccoons have discovered that these animals do, in fact, sometimes live and sleep in trees. They are known to create nests in tree hollows or utilize existing nests located high above the ground. While raccoons live in nests up in the trees, they often sleep in multiple dens simultaneously, especially during the non-nesting and winter months.

The Reason behind raccoons live in nests

One of the main reasons raccoons choose to sleep in, nests, tree hollows and cavities is to avoid predators. The safety provided by a tree offers protection against harsh weather conditions as well. However, it’s important to note that raccoons sleep in various locations, and trees are just one of their choices. While it is more common to find raccoons sleeping in trees in natural and non-urban environments, they also seek shelter in trees within residential areas.

Raccoons and their Love for Climbing

Raccoons are exceptional climbers and thoroughly enjoy scaling trees. As soon as mother raccoons guide their young out of the nest, the youngsters eagerly embrace their climbing abilities. With their sharp nails, they effortlessly navigate tree barks, exploring the entire forest with great enthusiasm. Climbing not only widens their access to more food sources but also provides safety from potential dangers in their surroundings. Unless injured or physically trapped, raccoons require no assistance to descend from trees or telephone poles. However, they tend to be cautious around humans.

The habit of raccoons to live in nests

It is common for raccoons to create nests in trees. They prefer trees with hollows or cavities, especially those with small openings measuring less than 3 inches in diameter. Raccoons are skilled at squeezing their plump bodies through narrow openings and have been observed stealing nests from birds and other arboreal mammals. While they might intimidate larger birds like ducks or owls and claim their tree nests, they typically avoid predatory birds such as the North American-native great horned owl. In urban environments, raccoons readily occupy backyard trees and even use them to access roofs and attics, seeking warmth during the colder winter months. Consequently, they have become a common pest for many households across America.

Removing Raccoons from Trees

Discovering a raccoon in one of your trees usually warrants action due to the potential dangers they pose. Raccoons can carry the rabies virus and possess a destructive nature that can harm both humans and pets. To safely remove a raccoon from a tree, consider the following practical tips:

Block off tree hollows:

 If the raccoons are nesting in the tree, use pieces of wood to seal off the cavities, ensuring no openings larger than 2 inches in diameter remain. Raccoons are intelligent creatures and can remove structures they deem weak, so it’s important to make your barriers raccoon-proof.

Employ traps and bait:

Luring and trapping raccoons is a more humane approach than harming them. Set up Hovawart traps with bait in your yard, preferably during nighttime when raccoons are more active. Consult local regulations regarding trapping and relocation.

Eliminate food sources:

 Removing accessible food will discourage raccoons from lingering. Secure garbage cans, feed pets indoors, refrain from feeding wild animals, and promptly remove any outdoor food sources. On farms, it’s crucial to remove feed before nightfall.

Utilize specific scents:

raccoons dislike certain scents, such as Epsom salt, onions, peppermint oil, garlic, and cougar urine, as these scents are associated with danger. Use these deterrents strategically to discourage raccoons from returning.

Seek professional assistance:

Given the complexity of dealing with raccoon removal, it is advisable to contact a professional removal service experienced in handling these critters. They can provide practical guidance, set traps, and implement effective deterrent measures.

Tired of raccoons? Learn DIY raccoon repellent strategies that actually work

Addressing Raccoons in Your Yards

Having raccoons living in your backyard trees can pose problems due to their destructive tendencies. Additionally, they can threaten the safety of livestock, pets, and children, particularly when food is involved. Taking immediate action is crucial in such situations. According to local and state laws, raccoons can be removed and relocated. Contact your local animal control service or, if necessary, your local police department to address any immediate threats.

Remember, when encountering pests like raccoons, it is essential to prioritize the well-being of both humans and animals, promoting safe coexistence while protecting our surroundings.

Also read where you can find a sleeping raccoon?

FAQs (Frequently asked Questions)

1. Are raccoons dangerous to humans and pets?

Raccoons can carry the rabies virus and may exhibit destructive behaviour, posing potential risks to humans, pets, and property. It’s crucial to handle raccoon encounters with caution and seek professional assistance if needed.

2. How can I discourage raccoons from nesting in my trees?

To discourage raccoons from nesting in your trees, block off tree hollows with sturdy barriers, eliminate accessible food sources, and use specific scents like Epsom salt, onions, peppermint oil, garlic, or cougar urine as deterrents.

3. Can raccoons harm other animals in my yard?

Raccoons are known to cause harm to other animals, particularly when food is involved. They may pose a threat to livestock, pets, and even local wildlife. Taking prompt action to address raccoon-related issues is essential for everyone’s safety.

4. Is trapping and relocating raccoons a humane approach?

Using Hovawart traps and bait to capture raccoons can be a more humane alternative to harming them. However, it’s important to check local regulations regarding trapping and relocation to ensure compliance with animal welfare laws.

5. What should I do if I find raccoon droppings in my yard?

If you discover raccoon droppings in your yard, avoid direct contact with them, as they may carry harmful parasites. Safely clean up the area, and if you suspect raccoons are frequently visiting your property, consider taking preventive measures to discourage their presence.

Remember, when dealing with raccoon-related issues, it’s essential to prioritize safety and consider the well-being of both humans and animals. Seeking professional guidance and adhering to local laws will help promote peaceful coexistence with wildlife.


In conclusion, raccoons do exhibit nesting behaviour in trees, utilizing hollows and cavities as safe places to sleep and seek shelter from predators and harsh weather conditions. Their exceptional climbing abilities enable them to explore the forest and even urban environments. However, they may also become a nuisance in residential areas, occupying backyard trees and causing potential harm to humans, pets, and property. If dealing with raccoon-related issues, it’s essential to take appropriate measures to ensure their safe removal and discourage their return while adhering to local regulations and seeking professional assistance when necessary.

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