Raccoons are often thought of to be nocturnal and found in rural areas, but residents of Buccaneer Ridge tend to disagree.
There has been a rise in raccoon sightings this school year on campus, even prompting warning signs to be put up around the Buc Ridge apartments.
“I’ve seen them a few times in the woods, near the radio station,” said Buc Ridge resident Jazmyne Richards. “They seem more afraid than us than we are of them.”
While raccoons are usually found in rural areas, the forest behind the urban campus is still a prime spot for raccoons. Here, they are mostly hidden until they venture out into the apartments for food. Raccoons adapt to their environments easily, making the transition to campus very easy.
“There were lots of babies,” Richards said. “They saw us and just ran into the woods.”
A raccoon’s mating season begins in January and ends around March. One raccoon will give birth to three or four babies per season.
Approaching a raccoon, especially one with offspring, is discouraged as they can transmit rabies and harm others if they feel threatened.
“We have only had a couple of reports in the Buc Ridge area,” said a representative from ETSU’s Public Safety office. “No one has reported being attacked.”
“I’ve never actually seen a raccoon here,” said Buc Ridge resident, Dominique Cain. “I didn’t realize we even had an issue until you asked.”
Though there are signs on campus warning students, many are unaware of the raccoon situation. As long as they are left alone, raccoons are nonthreatening.
There have been other sightings on campus, such as outside of the Culp Center and on the stairs of Carter Hall.
Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to leave the raccoons alone and to call public safety should an incident occur.
Public Safety can be reached at 439-4480 and in case of emergency, call 911.