Can Raccoons Open Doors? Raccoons vs. Your Doors

Can Raccoons Open Doors

Can Raccoons Open Doors?

Yes, raccoons can open doors. Their intelligence, combined with nimble paws and persistence enables them to open doors in various settings. Their dexterous paws and strong grip enable them to turn, push, or pull these simple mechanisms.

Raccoons are keen observers. If they see you unlock a door, they might attempt to mimic your actions, potentially manipulating basic locks.

In some cases, resourceful raccoons have been observed using objects like rocks or sticks to manipulate more complex mechanisms, showcasing their adaptability and problem-solving skills.

However, raccoons cannot open all doors. Complex locks, deadbolts, and secured entry points are generally out of their reach. 

Video – Raccoon Opening Dumpster Door

What types of doors can raccoons open?

Raccoons are known to be capable of opening various types of doors, including:

Knob-operated doors that raccoon can openKnob-operated doors

Raccoons may grasp and turn knobs using their dexterous paws to gain entry.


Lever-handled-doors-that-raccoon-can-openLever-handled doors

Raccoons can manipulate lever handles with their nimble fingers, allowing them to push or pull the door open. 


Sliding door that raccoon can open Sliding doors

Raccoons have been observed pushing sliding doors open, especially if they detect food or shelter on the other side.


Latch-operated doors that raccoon can open Latch-operated doors

Raccoons can manipulate latches, such as those found on gates or sheds, to gain access.


Pet doors that raccoon can openPet doors

Raccoons can sometimes squeeze through pet doors or flap-style openings, particularly if they are large enough to accommodate their size.


What types of doors can raccoons not open?

Raccoons, despite their intelligence and dexterity, may encounter difficulty in opening certain types of doors due to their design or mechanisms. Some examples of doors that raccoons may struggle to open include:

Key door locks that raccoon cannot open Key-operated locks

Raccoons lack the ability to use keys, so doors secured with key-operated deadbolts are typically beyond their capacity to open.


Doors with complex locking systems that raccoon cannot open Doors with complex locking systems

Doors equipped with advanced locking systems, such as electronic keypads or fingerprint scanners, are unlikely to be opened by raccoons due to the complexity of the mechanisms involved.


Heavy or reinforced doors that raccoons cannot open Heavy or reinforced doors

 Doors made of heavy materials or reinforced with metal bars or security features may be too difficult for raccoons to manipulate with their strength and body weight alone.


Can raccoons open sliding doors?

Yes, raccoons can open sliding doors, especially in certain situations where they are motivated by food or shelter. Their dexterous paws enable them to push or pull sliding doors aside, granting them access to the area beyond.

However, the ease with which raccoons can open sliding doors may depend on various factors, such as the weight and resistance of the door, as well as the presence of any additional security measures. 

Can a raccoon open a dumpster door?

Yes, raccoons can open dumpster doors. Raccoons are notorious for their ability to access dumpsters by manipulating the doors or lids. With their nimble fingers and problem-solving skills, raccoons can easily pry open latches, handles, or other mechanisms securing dumpster doors. 

Read the full guide on how to prevent raccoons from raiding dumpsters

Can raccoons open car doors?

No, raccoons cannot typically open car doors. However, there are important nuances to consider:

  • Unlocked cars: Yes, raccoons can easily enter unlocked cars.
  • Simple locks: Potentially, some very determined raccoons might manipulate basic locks or worn-out mechanisms.
  • Modern cars: Highly unlikely. Complex locks, anti-tamper features, and alarms in modern cars are significant deterrents.

What is a one-way door that prevents a raccoon from opening it?

one-way door that prevents a raccoon from opening itA raccoon one-way door is a humane device designed to allow raccoons to exit an unwanted shelter, like an attic, soffit, or chimney, but prevent them from re-entering. These doors are often used by wildlife removal professionals or homeowners to humanely evict raccoons without harming them.

Here’s how it works:

  • The door has a flap that swings outwards only. This allows raccoons to push through the flap to exit but prevents them from pushing it back in.
  • The flap is typically made of durable materials, such as metal or heavy-duty mesh, that can withstand the raccoons’ attempts to claw or chew their way back in.
  • The door is attached to the exterior of the structure where the raccoons are located, covering the entry point they used to get in.
  • Once the raccoons have exited, the door is permanently sealed, preventing them from re-entering and any other animals from gaining access.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Can Raccoons Open Doors?

Q1: Can raccoons open locked doors?

A: Raccoons are generally adept at manipulating handles, knobs, and latches, but they typically struggle with locked doors. Securely locked doors are more challenging for raccoons to open compared to doors that are simply closed but not locked.

Q2: What should I do if I see a raccoon trying to open the door?

A: If you observe a raccoon attempting to open your door, it’s essential to remain calm and avoid confronting the animal directly. Safely retreat indoors and ensure that all doors and windows are securely closed to prevent the raccoon from gaining entry. Consider contacting local wildlife authorities for assistance if necessary.

Q3: Will a raccoon try to open my door if it senses food inside?

A: Raccoons are opportunistic feeders and may attempt to open doors if they detect the presence of food or other enticing smells inside. To deter raccoons from trying to access your home, ensure that all potential food sources, such as garbage bins or pet food, are securely sealed and stored properly.

Q4: Can raccoons come through a dog door?

A: Yes, raccoons are known to squeeze through dog doors, especially if they are large enough to accommodate their size. To prevent raccoons from entering your home through a dog door, consider installing a pet door with a locking mechanism or using additional barriers to restrict access.

Q5: What is the best cat door to keep out raccoons?

A: The best cat door to prevent raccoon intrusion typically features a sturdy construction and a locking mechanism specifically designed to deter wildlife. Look for pet doors with reinforced flaps or electronic locks that can withstand raccoons’ attempts to open them. Additionally, consider selecting a pet door size that is appropriate for your cat but too small for raccoons to fit through.


While raccoons are undeniably intelligent and resourceful, their door-opening skills aren’t mythical. Simple latches and unlocked doors might fall victim to their dexterous paws, and keen observation can even lead them to mimic human actions. However, complex locks, sturdy security measures, and a lack of opportunity generally keep them at bay.

Remember, prevention is key. Secure entry points, eliminate attractants, and appreciate their masked antics from afar. After all, coexisting with these clever creatures is possible, as long as we keep the doors (and trash cans) firmly shut.

About Tanya Garg 82 Articles
I'm Tanya, the dedicated raccoon enthusiast behind My mission is to share my knowledge about raccoons through insightful blogs, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for these intelligent creatures. Join me on a journey to learn more about raccoons, their behavior, and the importance of ensuring their safe relocation when necessary. Let's together create a world where raccoons and humans coexist harmoniously and safely.