toronto raccoon daytime

Ontario police ask people to stop calling 911 with complaints about raccoons

Unnerving as is it may be to find a wild Toronto raccoon (or 10 of them) in your front yard before night falls, you should never, ever, ever, call 911 about it.

It sucks that I even need to write that sentence, but apparently this is a thing people do — enough of them to prompt Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to issue a notice requesting that citizens "please do NOT call 911 to report a raccoon complaint!"

The OPP West Region put out this important missive via Twitter last week, noting that it was indeed necessary based on inappropriate calls received by first responders.

"This reminder comes after the OPP responded to calls from members of the public after they observed raccoons during day light hours on their property," reads the tweet. "Please contact an animal removal service."

While this is far from the first thing police have had to tell people not to call 911 over (heavy traffic, tomatoes on a sandwich and long lineups at Taco Bell come to mind,) it is one that we can all learn from.

First off, seeing a raccoon during daylight hours is not necessarily cause for concern.

"It's a common myth that a raccoon walking around during the day is sick or has rabies. It's true that raccoons are mostly nocturnal, but they can be active during the day for many different reasons," explains the Toronto Wildlife Centre.

"A raccoon that is alert, responsive and behaving normally during the day is probably fine. Raccoons might come out during the day if there is a food source available at a particular time, if they have been frightened out of their daytime sleeping spot, or if there is high competition in the area at night from other nocturnal animals."

You might also see baby raccoons during the day. This is common. They're curious, and their mothers are out searching for food both day and night.

Should you encounter an animal in distress, however, police advise that you call an animal control service, such as the Toronto Animal Service, for expert advice on what to do.

Calling an emergency hotline reserved for only the most serious of situations — fires, shootings, occurrences where people become seriously hurt and need immediate medical attention — is not only a jerk move that ties up valuable resources; it does literally nothing to help the raccoons.

Lead photo by

Phil Marion

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