Raccoons on campus

How to avoid a raccoon attack

By Chike Okafor and Ray Kaiser

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Family of raccoons in front of the student center after night class. Photo by Jessenya Guerra.

There are raccoons that roam throughout California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and if you happen to encounter a raccoon at a close proximity, you should take safety precautions to ensure you don’t get hurt.

It is unwise to feed a raccoon because instead of eating the food from your hand, it may decide to bite or scratch you. If you do succeed in feeding it, it may cause the raccoon to lose their fear of humans and as a result, they will approach people. This causes them to become aggravated if they are not given food, which increases the chances of a dangerous encounter. More food also means that raccoons will return to the same location and they might bring more raccoons with them.

Make sure to not throw any trash or garbage on the ground. Raccoons are known for ravaging through garbage, so make sure you have all your trash in a sealed bag, or just put in a trash can or dumpster. It is best if you take out all of your trash in the morning because raccoons are nocturnal creatures, meaning they are most active during the night. If you are living on campus and want to take out garbage from your dorm, make sure you put it inside the dumpster and not leave it beside it, because when night falls, raccoons will come near your dorms seeking food from your trash which will increase the likelihood of an encounter if you surprise or scare it when returning back to your dorm rooms.

If you have a pet on campus, such as a dog, make sure you obtain the proper restraints so it does not bump into a raccoon, since they will attack in self defense if they feel threatened. Raccoons rarely emerge during the day so it is unlikely your pet would stumble across one in the morning or afternoon, but during the evening, you should be more vigilant since they will begin to appear.

The CSUMB Police Department provides 24-hour animal control services to the campus community. If you need assistance, please contact us at (831) 655-0268 or 911 if in emergency.

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