If you’ve lived in Berkshire County any amount of time, there’s a good chance you've seen a raccoon out and about, as they’re pretty common around here.  Growing up on a farm, I saw them occasionally, and they always just did their own thing and went about their business.

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The most up close and personal I got with one was in Adams, where I live now.  I was taking out the trash for my mother-in-law late at night.  I saw two glowing eyes in my flashlight and knew right away what it was.  The raccoon knocked her trash can lid off, and was busy having dinner.

Looking down at a young raccoon stuck in a garbage container

I remember making some noise and trying to scare it away.  It just looked at me and was like, “Bro, chill.  I’m trying to eat here.”  When I got closer it slowly started to back away, but not before taking a piece of food with it.  I figured this wasn’t the raccoon’s first rodeo with a human.

However, while they’re pretty common at night, have you ever run across a raccoon during the day here in Berkshire County?

I glimpsed one the other day, as it was scampering back into the woods.  My first instinct was, “Uh oh, a rabid raccoon.”  However, that might not be the case.  In fact, the raccoon I glimpsed heading back into the woods was probably fine.  It was acting normal from what I could tell.  Just because a raccoon is out during the day doesn’t mean it has rabies.  In fact, it’s not that unusual to catch a glimpse of one like I did during daytime hours.  Their den could have been disturbed, a predator could be nearby, or they could be out grabbing some food for themselves or their young.

Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t be concerned about rabies.  Raccoons are a common carrier of the disease here in Massachusetts.  Some signs of rabies include:  being agitated or angry, constant screaming, partially paralyzed, or biting itself.  So, if you see those signs, yeah, call animal control.  But, if you see it behaving normally and just going back into the woods like I did, it’s probably just a raccoon doing…raccoon stuff.  Just let it be.  Which is actually good advice in general regarding raccoons.  Yes, they’re cute, but they’re unpredictable.  Unless you see signs of rabies or some other issue, just let them be.


If you want more raccoon info, or tips on how to prevent and/or deal with them if they come on your property, more great information can be found here.

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