Safety advisory: Raccoon bites reported

To: UCSC Community

From: Pat Goff, Director Environmental Health & Safety

Two incidents of raccoon bites have occurred at UC Santa Cruz within the last week.

If you see a raccoon, please take steps to avoid it.  Raccoons are rarely aggressive toward humans but a female will defend her young.  While normally nocturnal, they do occasionally come out in the daytime.

Never feed raccoons and be especially cautious when approaching any garbage can or areas where food or scraps can be found.  If a raccoon approaches too closely or hisses at you, stand tall, wave your arms, and shout loudly.

Raccoons, along with foxes, skunks and bats are considered primary carriers of the rabies virus. Some behaviors of raccoons with rabies are:
  • Staggering gait
  • Seemingly oblivious to noise or nearby movement
  • Erratic wandering
  • Discharge from eyes or mouth
  • Wet and matted hair on face
  • Repeated high-pitch vocalization
  • Self-mutilation
If you see a raccoon showing any of these signs call UC Santa Cruz Police at 459-2231 ext. 1 and report the animal and location.  If you come in contact with a raccoon or other rabies vector species or if you are bitten, please seek medical attention immediately.