If you've been hearing blood curdling screams coming from your backyard or attic lately, you might be worried about an animal being aggressively attacked. But in fact, these screams might just be the sounds of love.
With the recent mild spell, some raccoons are getting an early start on mating season. Usually, the annual January thaw occurs in mid to late January, but this year's warm weather has arrived earlier than usual.
When male raccoons become amorous, their primary focus is to locate a female and pursue her until she is willing to mate. This can sometimes take a few weeks, and during this time, the female can become quite agitated by the male's advances. She may lash out with teeth and claws, and let out loud, unsettling screams of disapproval. These screams can be so loud and disturbing that some people have reported being startled awake, thinking someone was being attacked.
The pursuit of love can be quite rough on male raccoons. Over the years, we've witnessed torn, bloodied ears, serious bite marks on all parts of the body, missing fur, and even injured eyes as a result of their efforts to mate. Despite these injuries, male raccoons are driven to procreate and will not hesitate to mate with multiple females during the breeding season. It's possible that the phrase "tough love" was inspired by the male raccoon's mating behavior.
So if you hear screams coming from your backyard or attic, don't be too alarmed - it might just be the sounds of love. And if you're curious about what's going on, you might want to take a look outside and see if you can spot a couple of raccoons in the midst of their amorous pursuits. Just be prepared for a potentially rough and noisy display.