READER REPORT: ‘Snarling raccoon’ returns repeatedly to West Seattle yard – in the daytime


(File photo)

With longer days, more sunshine, and rising temperatures, you’ll likely spend more time outside. So Nancy is sharing an alert, intended for her neighborhood but a cautionary tale for others too:

I live at 48th Ave SW between Hinds & Spokane. Behind Madison Middle School. I wanted to warn neighbors … For the past week, a large raccoon has been showing up in my yard in afternoons, 1:30 pm (not usual nocturnal time).

He snarls & bares his teeth. He does not back down when I throw a handy object at him.

I’m a gardener & almost always outside these days. He then climbs trees to get on my roof. Two years ago,, raccoons killed all my 3 chickens in early 5 am time.

Nancy was planning to consult experts. We also suggested one of our favorite resources for urban-wildlife info, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s “Living With Wildlife” series. Check out this page and scroll all the way down to find the “preventing conflicts” advice.

45 Replies to "READER REPORT: 'Snarling raccoon' returns repeatedly to West Seattle yard - in the daytime"

  • Dzag March 27, 2023 (12:11 pm)

    I’ve struggled a little too with raccoons i have thought about having someone who is good with a bow and arrow take care of the problem. I wasn’t comfortable with that and don’t know the legally so instead had success with chicken coop wire maybe put that around the base of the tree 

    • Bowhunter March 27, 2023 (1:01 pm)

      I did this with a raccoon that wouldn’t back down in the presence of me and two dogs. Non-negotiable with having a small child.

      • Sparky March 27, 2023 (5:02 pm)

        Bowhunter – might I suggest you start taking aim at the many crows in the neighborhood? Quite the pests as well.  

        • Ricky March 27, 2023 (5:30 pm)

          If you’ve ever read a book on wildlife, you might understand how important crows are to an ecosystem. Too tall an order, no doubt. I hope they continue to pester the hell out of you.

    • Mr J March 27, 2023 (1:48 pm)

      Wow. A bow and arrow, that’s utterly disgusting. Some thoughts you should just keep to yourself. We can mitigate these problems without killing things. 

    • anonyme March 27, 2023 (2:29 pm)

      Your suggestion to shoot the raccoon with a bow is cruel, ignorant – and illegal.  Try a little live and let live instead.

      • Paul Ste. Marie March 28, 2023 (1:36 pm)

        If the raccoon is refusing to back away, there’s a significant chance it’s rabid. Animal control should be called in, and they will most likely kill it. 

        • Elton March 29, 2023 (1:36 pm)

          +1I’m missing how it’s ignorant to kill a rabid animal before it kills humans. Raccoons are typically not so aggressive, so it does appear to be rabid behavior. I’ve encountered many raccoons in our yard (probably the same set of raccoons many times) that have done nothing more than cautiously watch me while they go about their business – snarling is atypical.

  • Al March 27, 2023 (12:16 pm)

    There’s a women that lives near you and she feeds a family of them. Al the yard guy.

  • Becky March 27, 2023 (12:17 pm)

    When I lived in that neighborhood there was a house on 44th between Hinds and Spokane who set out a big dish of food for the raccoons.  Caused me problems since I lived directly behind them across the alley. They would get snarly when I walked my dog…

    • T March 27, 2023 (5:36 pm)

      I remember this well. Thankfully they stopped.We were over run with raccoons

  • Derek March 27, 2023 (12:44 pm)

    Raccoons are usually not aggressive. I have seen ten in the past few days at 34th/Charleston area.  This is just part of life in Seattle.

  • waikikigirl March 27, 2023 (12:51 pm)

    Huh oh it crawls onto your roof, could there maybe be babies in your attic and this could be why the raccoons being overly aggressive?One good thing to keep handy is a good spray bottle that has apple cider or plain white vinegar in it and if it comes too close to you spray it in the face with the vinegar.  I’ve had to keep one by our sliding door for the safety of our orphan kitty who lives on our deck for the past 3 yrs, the raccoons would come up looking for food which is not out and I’ve had to spray them a few times…they get the point. I don’t think it hurts them, just stings for a while.

    • Elton March 29, 2023 (1:37 pm)

      If they are not rabid that’s probably a fine tactic. If they are rabid, you’re going to probably want a weapon handy.

  • suebhounz March 27, 2023 (12:51 pm)

    hi,we live on 47th right behind Madison and have also had a racoon come into our house several times. we do have a dog door  and shutting it at night seems to have helped. This racoon seems pretty friendly however and just trots out the door when we find it.

  • sgs March 27, 2023 (1:10 pm)

    Where I’ve come to on the issue of feeding urban wildlife (including birds) is, if you must, only during times food or water is hard to find.  We do them no favors when natural foraging is possible and usually wildlife loses when it comes into too close contact with humans.  Show your care for urban wildlife by keeping them wild.

  • Cathy March 27, 2023 (1:41 pm)

    We had one that use to visit and snarl at my husband (48th & Genessee).  There was a large evergreen pine tree in the back, which they loved.  The tree had to be taken down because it split in half and took out the neighbor’s power and cable.  The tree guys showed us where the tree was so dry in the middle, that it was a wonder it hadn’t come down sooner.   We have not seen the raccoon since.  We think he may have been after the bird eggs from the many in that tree (the birds have since migrated to the tree in front)….

  • Raccoon deterrents March 27, 2023 (1:41 pm)

    We had one that used to come to our yard and wreak havoc in garden, swimming pool and pond in broad daylight. We tried everything to get rid of it. I was worried it was rabid and called Dept of Wildlife. They suggested filling a super soaker with vinegar and spraying the raccoon because while they love getting sprayed with water they hate the smell and taste of vinegar. It worked! We still have raccoons (or trash pandas as I call them) coming to our yard at night. Have thought about an electric fence but dubious about its effectiveness. 

  • WS Res March 27, 2023 (1:50 pm)

    1) Feeding raccoons is  against state law.  2) There are a variety of human and canine diseases that can be contracted by contact with raccoons and their latrines.3) A nocturnal, normally shy animal moving about in the daytime and acting aggressively could possibly be a sign of rabies (though it could also be a female foraging for and/or protecting her kits). 4) You may want to hire a Wildlife Control Operator. (Yes, hire. Apparently that’s another thing our regressive tax system means we can’t pay for as a state???)

    • West Marge March 27, 2023 (5:37 pm)

      Rabies is incredibly rare in Washington State, FYI. “Other than bats, only nine individual animals from Washington State have tested positive for
      rabies since 1960, including an unvaccinated cat, a horse (from Benton County) and a llama
      (King County). The llama was found to be infected with a bat variant of the rabies virus. Because
      the specimens from the horse were fixed in formalin, the virus strain infecting that animal could
      not be further characterized at the time.”

  • anonyme March 27, 2023 (1:58 pm)

    I don’t see the raccoon as the problem here.  Maybe it wouldn’t be so snarly if you weren’t throwing things at it.  That said, nobody should be feeding raccoons, it just creates problems.

  • Peter S. March 27, 2023 (2:34 pm)

    Derek is right about raccoons not normally being aggressive unless cornered, threatened, or protecting their young.  Aggressive could mean injured, too habituated to humans (like bears sometimes become), or rabid.   Definitely not to be messed with.  

    • Paul Ste. Marie March 28, 2023 (1:41 pm)

      I used to work at a wildlife rescue/rehab, and i can assure you that raccoons can become extremely aggressive. They are definitely not something to be trifled with. 

  • WSGuy March 27, 2023 (2:47 pm)

    We saw this trash panda last week at 49th & Charlestown in the afternoon as well, so may be the same one?

  • LivesInWS March 27, 2023 (2:57 pm)

    I sympathize. Between raccoons, squirrels, birds, a skunk, and probably rats we lost a lot of our plums, apples and grapes last year.  Too much of a wildlife-friendly yard! Would have to have 100s of feet of wire mesh to wrap everything up for protection. From the link above:”A property owner or the owner’s immediate family, employee, or
    tenant may kill or trap a raccoon on that property if it is damaging
    crops or domestic animals.”Of course, lots more details there on the regs.

    • Derek March 27, 2023 (3:08 pm)

      Do NOT encourage people to kill defenseless animals. Awful advice.

      • CarDriver March 27, 2023 (3:39 pm)

        Derek. The guilt lies with those people that think wild animals are “just like pets” and get them acclimated to expect human food. If those people faced real consequential fines or were held liable for medical bills of someone bitten by their “pretend pets” these interactions would be extremely rare. The most awful advice possible is to let people think it’s ok to feed wild animals like they’re pets. These are NOT “defenseless animals” by ANY stretch of the imagination.

        • Frog March 27, 2023 (5:49 pm)

          Not only are they not at all defenseless, they are also not sentimental.  If the size ratio was reversed, they would make short work of Derek and not lose any sleep about it.

      • Wrong Again Dummy March 27, 2023 (4:17 pm)

        Wild animals that pose a threat to humans or other animals need to be put down as a matter of public safety. Them being “defenseless” is irrelevant and simply a lazy appeal to emotion, basically like every argument Derek makes. 

      • bill March 27, 2023 (9:19 pm)

        I infer Derek  has never been face to face with an enraged raccoon. I once lived in a house where a raccoon gave birth to two kits in a basement light well sheltered by a shrub overhead. They were cute to watch from inside the basement with the lights off. But the raccoon took possession of the driveway. I had to defend myself with a broom or shovel to leave and come home. Bright lights in the basement eventually drove them off.

    • 1994 March 27, 2023 (10:21 pm)

      And the rabbits! which have exploded in numbers the last 3-4 years!

  • newnative March 27, 2023 (3:57 pm)

    I came across one trying to cross Admiral near 49th Ave SW. I was running down the sidewalk and when they decided to stay on my side of the road, I could tell they were sizing me up, wondering if they could take me on. I raised my arms and did my loudest growl and they ran away. I was really surprised at the effort I had to put in broad daylight to scare off this raccoon. 

  • Alex March 27, 2023 (4:44 pm)

    My block was plagued by a group of five who would run along the fence tops between the east and west side houses.   They were aggressive at night and one neighbor entering his house at 2:00 a.m. had all five rush him at the front door.    Please do your family and neighbors a solid – don’t feed the raccoons and if you feed feral cats, bring the bowls and uneaten food inside before dark.    I had the unfortunate experience of having a raccoon latrine on my property and wound up following  King County’s recommendation to use  a professional  to treat the soil which was full of feces, roundworm and eggs.Over the years there have been many stories about raccoon attacks, particularly young children standing at the school bus or walking to school or seniors opening the door and getting their skin flayed.    They may be urban animals but shouldn’t be underestimated.

  • JRD March 27, 2023 (4:46 pm)

    Our neighbors need to quit feeding the raccoons,  squirrels and birds.  These animals can find food on their own. Feeding them leads to rodent overpopulation and causes diseases to be spread.  If we all stop feeding them they will move on. 

  • Orb March 27, 2023 (5:59 pm)

    We had a group of five of them ripping our grass every night for 3 weeks. Ruined our entire yard searching for what I assume to be grubs. We lined the yard with chicken wire and thankfully they moved on. 47th and stevens

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul March 27, 2023 (6:20 pm)

    Racoons are crepuscular and nocturnal but often seem in the daytime as well; it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with them.  Folks have varying and often inaccurate descriptions of “aggressive wildlife” (not referring to the snarling one of it’s actually being aggressive)Shooting birds and mammals is illegal and unsafe in a neighborhood setting….among other things. Please call animal control and they will come out and deal with it humanely, legally and appropriately 

    • justme March 27, 2023 (9:33 pm)

      We had a family of 4 living in our attic roof and made that call to animal control you’re talking about . Nobody came out to help. In fact they told us they don’t provide that service. We had to take the problem into our own hands and followed advice from PAWS wildlife center.

  • CorvidFan March 27, 2023 (9:48 pm)

    Don’t feed raccoons, but also don’t freak out like half the people in these comments.  Lock up your garbage if raccoons (or rats) are getting into it, they have a hole through the lid to allow for this.   Don’t leave cat food / dog food outside, it will attract critters, be they rats or otherwise.  (It will also attract bugs. Yuck!)Fruit attracts wildlife. The wildlife doesn’t understand that it’s “your” fruit, they are just trying to survive.  Don’t shoot native wildlife because you, someone with an intellect, running water, and a climate controlled home, were mildly inconvenienced.  That’s bizarre behavior.

  • MW March 28, 2023 (5:27 am)

    49th near Hinds.  My neighbor across the street used to leave bowls of food in her backyard (for “stray cats”) and no one was able to talk her out of it.  This went on for decades.   The amount of raccoons grew to the supply of food (which she kept increasing) and it brought rats, pigeons, and crows in large numbers too.  What a steady nuisance and mess for the rest of us neighbors,  but lucky for us  she’s recently moved.  Raccoons have used my fence and yard for decades traversing to and from their urban feasts.  I presume they originate from Schmitz Park.  I hate the piles of feces they leave and they’ve attacked my cat.  I leave no food out but they still get into my bird bath and make it filthy.  Now that the raccoon-feeding neighbor is gone, I see way fewer.   🤞 Fingers crossed that it stays that way.  

  • Rick March 28, 2023 (9:32 am)

    When I lived in Roslyn I went to scare off what I thought was a racoon rummaging in one of our garbage cans. Unfortunately it turned out to be a skunk. (I was new at the time) I guess be thankful we only have racoons.

    • neighbor March 28, 2023 (1:49 pm)

      Rick, my mom lived in Roslyn and had a skunk living in her basement!

  • Rabid raccoon March 28, 2023 (4:53 pm)

    a raccoon infected with rabies will display signs of aggression while one affected by distemper will appear to be less active, and in fact, will be lethargic or disoriented.

  • Richard March 29, 2023 (8:15 pm)

    When you see them in the daytime it’s often because there is a litter and the parent is doing some extra foraging. They like to eat rodents by the way. That raccoon could have a den with a litter inside. They will snarl to let you know they need some space. I have never seen a raccoon attack a person or a dog.

  • BruceNorris March 30, 2023 (3:07 pm)

    A group of raccoons used my backyard as a latrine for a while. I didn’t care when I didn’t have kids but once I did, I had to hire a professional pest/rodent service to trap and remove them. Raccoon feces can carry certain bacteria that’s pretty bad for humans. Adults wouldn’t mess around with it but kids playing in the yard could be harmed.My former boss had a large raccoon that wouldn’t scare away from his deck so he used pepper spray. It worked and the raccoon didn’t return.

  • Shannon April 2, 2023 (5:21 am)

    There are probably babies nearby. 

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