There's A Nocturnal Animal Out During The Day - I Think The Animal Is Rabid!


Just seeing a typically nocturnal animal outside during the day does not necessarily mean that animal is rabid.  For example, during the spring and summer it is quite normal to see an adult raccoon out during daylight hours.  The spring and summer is the height of raccoon  baby-rearing season, so mother raccoons will utilize any opportunity – regardless of day or night – to find food, or even just take a break from the kids!

Likewise, while coyotes and foxes are most active at night, they will be active anytime food is available. For example, a portion of their diet consists of squirrels and rabbits.  So a coyote or fox out during the day may simply be in pursuit of a squirrel or other small mammal, or be taking advantage of cat food or dog food that people put outside on back decks.

Opossums are occasionally found on fences or in trees after they have been chased by dogs.  Usually, opossums are still too frightened by morning to come down from their safe spot, and often will wait until the following night to return to their den.


If, however, you see a nocturnal animal out during the day AND behaving abnormally you should contact your town's animal control officer.  Some abnormal behaviors include walking in circles, staggering and falling over, appearing disoriented, uncharacteristically aggressive, or uncharacteristically tame.

Wildlife rehabilitators are not equipped or allowed to euthanize a potentially rabid animal, and will only be able to help you identify if the animal you are seeing may potentially be rabid.  The only person by law that can respond to this situation is Animal Control or a police officer.  You can find the number for Animal Control in the Blue Pages of your phone book, or by calling the non-emergency number for the police.