What to do if you are bitten by a raccoon

Raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes are known to be the primary carriers of rabies. Even though any warm-blooded animal may carry rabies, those that primarily carry rabies are known as rabies vector species. However, it is rare to find a rabid raccoon since they normally die within 3 days of contracting the infection, and even if a raccoon is rabid and bites someone, there is an effective treatment to cure the person after being infected.

A raccoon that is rabid will have the following signs: it will be self-mutilating, it will have repeated vocalizations at high pitch, it has matted and wet hair at the face, it demonstrates erratic wandering, the animal is oblivious to the noise or movement near it, and it has a staggering gait.

If after the bite you only have a minor wound and the bite did not break the skin and you are assured that you are not exposed to the rabies, then you should treat this like any other minor wound. You can wash the wound thoroughly using water and soap. Use an antibiotic cream in order to prevent infection and then cover the bite using clean bandages. If you have suffered a deep wound that punctured the skin, and the skin starts to bleed or it was torn badly, you should apply pressure using a dry and clean cloth in order to stop the bleeding and go to a doctor. When you see any sign of infection like redness, increased pain, swelling or oozing, you have to see the doctor at once. When you suspect that the raccoon may have had rabies at the time it has bitten you, then you should go to the doctor at once. You should also get a tetanus shot if the wound is deep. The raccoons may also carry roundworm and leptosprosis.

Go back to the How to Get Rid of Raccoons page or email us if you have any other questions about What to do if you are bitten by a raccoon