What’s Poisonous To Raccoons?

Raccoons are fascinating creatures that can be found in many parts of the world, including North America. They have a distinct appearance with their black masks around their eyes and bushy tails. However, did you know that there are certain things that can be very harmful to raccoons? In this article, we will explore the question: what is poisonous to raccoons?

Raccoons are known to be curious and resourceful animals, often exploring their surroundings in search of food. While they have a diverse diet that includes fruits, nuts, insects, and even small animals, there are some things that can be dangerous for them to eat or come into contact with.

One of the main things that can be poisonous to raccoons is human food or garbage. Raccoons are opportunistic eaters and may scavenge through trash cans in search of a meal. However, some food items that are safe for us, like chocolate, can be toxic to raccoons. Other potential dangers for raccoons include certain plants, pesticides, and chemicals that are harmful if ingested.

So, it’s important for us to be mindful of what we leave out for raccoons to access and to keep our environment safe for these curious creatures. Let’s learn more about what can be poisonous to raccoons and how we can help protect them!

The Dangers of Poisonous Substances for Raccoons

Welcome to our blog post about the dangers of poisonous substances for raccoons! These mischievous little creatures may be cute and curious, but it’s important to understand what can be harmful to them. In this post, we will explore common household chemicals, toxic plants and foods, hazards in the outdoor environment, recognizing and responding to poisoning, and more. So, let’s dive in and learn how to keep our raccoon friends safe!

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II. Common Household Chemicals and Substances that are Poisonous to Raccoons

A. Cleaning products

1. Specific chemicals to avoid

When it comes to cleaning your home, there are certain chemicals that can be harmful to raccoons if they come into contact with them. Some common cleaning products to avoid using around raccoons include:

  • Bleach: Raccoons have sensitive respiratory systems, and the fumes from bleach can be toxic to them.
  • Ammonia: Similar to bleach, ammonia can irritate a raccoon’s respiratory system and cause harm if inhaled.
  • Antibacterial cleaners: These often contain chemicals like triclosan, which can be harmful to raccoons if ingested.

2. Safe alternatives for cleaning

Instead of using harsh chemicals that could harm raccoons, there are plenty of safe and effective alternatives you can try:

  • Vinegar and water: A mixture of vinegar and water can be used as a natural cleaner for many surfaces in your home.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda is a gentle abrasive that can be used to scrub surfaces and remove stains.
  • Essential oils: Certain essential oils, like tea tree oil or lavender oil, can be mixed with water to create a natural cleaning spray.

B. Pesticides and insecticides

1. Harmful effects on raccoons

Using pesticides and insecticides in your garden or around your home can pose a significant risk to raccoons. These chemicals are designed to be toxic to insects, but they can also be harmful to raccoons if ingested or if they come into contact with their fur or skin. Some potential harmful effects of pesticides and insecticides on raccoons include:

  • Internal organ damage
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Respiratory issues

2. Natural pest control methods

Instead of relying on chemical pesticides and insecticides, consider using natural pest control methods that are safe for raccoons and the environment. Some alternatives to consider include:

  • Companion planting: Planting certain flowers and herbs can help deter pests naturally.
  • Physical barriers: Use fencing or netting to protect your garden from pests.
  • Natural predators: Encouraging natural predators like birds or beneficial insects can help control pest populations.

C. Rodenticides

1. Risks of secondary poisoning

Rodenticides, or rat poisons, are commonly used to control rodent populations. However, they can pose a serious risk to raccoons and other wildlife. Raccoons are known to scavenge for food, and ingesting rodents that have been poisoned with rodenticides can lead to secondary poisoning. This can have severe consequences for raccoons, including:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ failure
  • Death

2. Safer alternatives for rodent control

If you have a rodent problem and want to avoid using rodenticides, there are several safer alternatives to consider:

  • Traps: Humane traps can be used to catch rodents without causing them harm. Once captured, you can release them away from your home.
  • Preventative measures: Seal up any entry points in your home to prevent rodents from getting inside in the first place.
  • Natural repellents: Certain scents, like peppermint or garlic, can act as natural repellents for rodents.

III. Toxic Plants and Foods for Raccoons

A. Common garden plants toxic to raccoons

When it comes to your garden, it’s important to be aware of plants that can be harmful to raccoons. Some common garden plants that are toxic to them include:

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  1. Symptoms and effects: If raccoons come into contact with these plants, they may experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, it can even be fatal.
  2. Preventive measures: To keep raccoons safe, it’s best to avoid planting these toxic plants in your garden. If you already have them, consider removing them or creating barriers to prevent raccoons from accessing them.

B. Harmful foods for raccoons

Raccoons are known for their ability to scavenge, but not all foods are safe for them to eat. Here are some human foods to avoid feeding raccoons:

  1. Health risks and potential consequences: Feeding raccoons certain human foods can lead to digestive issues, malnutrition, and even death. Foods like chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol should never be given to raccoons.
  2. Preventive measures: It’s best to keep all human foods out of reach from raccoons. Secure your garbage cans and ensure that any outdoor dining areas are properly cleaned to avoid attracting them.

Hazards in the Outdoor Environment

Toxic substances in garbage and waste

Proper garbage disposal methods

Securing trash cans and bins

Contaminated water sources

Risks of polluted water for raccoons

Ensuring clean water access for raccoons

Now, let’s talk about the dangers that raccoons face in the great outdoors. While we often think of our homes as the main source of potential poison for raccoons, it’s important to remember that the outdoor environment can pose just as many risks.

Toxic substances in garbage and waste

Raccoons are notorious scavengers and are often attracted to our garbage and waste. However, many of the substances found in our trash can be harmful or even deadly to these curious critters. It’s crucial to properly dispose of hazardous waste, such as cleaning chemicals, pesticides, and medications. Avoid throwing these items in the regular trash and instead, look for designated disposal sites in your area. By doing so, you not only protect the raccoons but also the environment.

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Additionally, securing your trash cans and bins can prevent raccoons from accessing potentially harmful substances. Invest in sturdy lids and make sure they are tightly sealed. You can also use bungee cords or other deterrents to keep raccoons from opening the containers. Remember, a little extra effort can go a long way in safeguarding these adorable creatures.

Contaminated water sources

Water is essential for raccoons, but contaminated water can be a serious hazard. Polluted water sources can contain harmful chemicals or bacteria that can make raccoons sick. To ensure clean water access for raccoons, consider providing a shallow dish or bowl in your yard filled with fresh water. This can help prevent them from drinking from potentially contaminated sources like puddles or stagnant ponds.

Regularly clean and refill the water dish to keep it fresh and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. By taking these simple steps, you can help keep raccoons hydrated and healthy.

Remember, it’s not just our homes that pose a threat to raccoons. The outdoor environment can be just as dangerous. By being mindful of toxic substances in garbage and waste, as well as providing clean water sources, we can create a safer environment for these mischievous creatures.

Recognizing and Responding to Poisoning in Raccoons

Raccoons are curious creatures, and their natural curiosity can sometimes lead them into dangerous situations. It’s important to be able to recognize the signs of poisoning in raccoons and know what steps to take if you suspect they have been exposed to a poisonous substance. Here are some common signs of poisoning to look out for:

1. Physical symptoms

– Difficulty breathing or labored breathing

– Vomiting or diarrhea

– Seizures or tremors

– Dizziness or lack of coordination

If you notice any of these physical symptoms in a raccoon, it’s a strong indication that they may have been poisoned. It’s important to act quickly to ensure their safety and well-being.

2. Behavioral changes

– Unusual aggression or agitation

– Lethargy or weakness

– Disorientation or confusion

– Loss of appetite

These behavioral changes can also be indicative of poisoning in raccoons. If you observe any of these signs, it’s important to take immediate action.

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Immediate actions to take if poisoning is suspected

If you suspect a raccoon has been poisoned, it’s crucial to take the following steps as quickly as possible:

1. Contacting a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian

– Call a local wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian who specializes in treating wildlife.

– Describe the symptoms and behavior of the raccoon, and follow their instructions for further assistance.

– It’s important not to attempt to treat the raccoon yourself, as improper treatment can worsen their condition.

2. Providing supportive care while waiting for professional help

– If the raccoon is conscious and able to swallow, provide them with water to keep them hydrated.

– Keep the raccoon in a quiet and secure area away from children and pets.

– Do not attempt to force the raccoon to eat or drink anything, as this may worsen their condition.

Remember, time is of the essence when it comes to treating a poisoned raccoon. Acting quickly and seeking professional help is the best course of action to ensure the raccoon’s chances of survival.

By being aware of the signs of poisoning and knowing what steps to take, you can help protect raccoons from the dangers of poisonous substances. Spread the knowledge and encourage others to do the same. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these fascinating creatures.


1. What foods are poisonous to raccoons?

Regularly consumed human foods such as chocolate, caffeine, onions, garlic, and grapes can be poisonous to raccoons. Additionally, raccoons should not be fed any type of junk food, sugary treats, or processed foods as these can be harmful to their health.

2. Are there any plants that are toxic to raccoons?

Yes, certain plants can be toxic to raccoons if ingested. Some examples include azaleas, rhododendrons, yew, oleander, and mistletoe. It is important to keep raccoons away from gardens or areas where these plants are present to prevent any potential poisoning.

3. Can raccoons be harmed by pesticides or rodenticides?

Yes, raccoons can be harmed by pesticides and rodenticides. If raccoons consume rodents that have been poisoned, they can be exposed to toxic substances. It is important to handle pest control in a manner that minimizes the risk of raccoon exposure to these harmful chemicals.


In conclusion, it is crucial to understand the dangers of poisonous substances for raccoons in order to protect their health and well-being. Common household chemicals, such as cleaning products, pesticides, and rodenticides, can have harmful effects on raccoons. It is important to avoid using these chemicals or opt for safer alternatives to minimize the risk of poisoning.

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Toxic plants and foods are also hazardous to raccoons. Being aware of common garden plants that are toxic to raccoons and avoiding feeding them harmful human foods can help prevent poisoning incidents. Additionally, hazards in the outdoor environment, such as toxic substances in garbage and waste, as well as polluted water sources, pose risks to raccoons. Proper garbage disposal methods and ensuring clean water access are essential for their safety.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of poisoning in raccoons is crucial in providing timely help. Physical symptoms and behavioral changes can indicate poisoning and immediate actions should be taken if poisoning is suspected. Contacting a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian and providing supportive care while waiting for professional help can make a significant difference in saving a raccoon’s life.

By sharing this knowledge and taking proactive steps to protect raccoons from poisonous substances, we can contribute to their conservation and well-being. Let us work together to create a safer environment for these fascinating creatures and ensure their survival for future generations to enjoy.

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