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Raccoon Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)


Raccoon symbolism primarily means theft or sneakiness. After all, these animals are scavengers and the black fur around their eyes makes them seem like bandits! However, not all raccoon meaning is negative and it has certain positive connotations as well. 

So, in this guide, we will find out what does seeing a raccoon mean and also determine its meaning as a power animal, and in tattoos. Symbols can mean many different things, so don’t jump to conclusions!

Table of contents

Raccoon symbolism and meaning

A raccoon is considered a thief and a scavenger. It is always seen around dustbins and trash cans. It runs away at the sight of humans. 

This clever animal is adept at using its front paws. Having opposable thumbs helps it open stuff like jars. Bottles, cardboard boxes, and bundles mean nothing to raccoons. 

Did you know that the scientific name for a raccoon is Procyon lotor? Procyon has a Greek origin and means ‘before the dog.’ No one knows why this name was given to the raccoon. 


The latter part of its name is lotor, which may have been derived from Latin lutor – for washing. It may refer to the animal’s habit of washing its food prior to eating it. 

The name Procyon lotor may have been chosen as the experts felt the raccoon was ancestral to dogs. Because of its mask and sneaky nocturnal behavior, a raccoon is always thought to be a thief or a bandit. 

If you keep seeing a raccoon during the day, it may be symbolic of the fact that someone around you needs to be unmasked. The meaning of a raccoon crossing your path can also be: unmask yourself so you can become a more authentic person. (1)

Raccoon Native American symbolism

Native Americans have many different names for raccoons and they all refer to the animal’s manual dexterity. The names the Cree and Chippewas used for raccoons mean ‘the one who picks up things.

’The Lenape Delaware used a term for raccoons that meant ‘they use their hands as tools.’ Other Native Indian names referred to the body part of the raccoons, such as its tail, face, its forepaws, or even its habit of eating crabs and crayfish. 

Some tribes referred to raccoon’s perceived magical powers. So you could find some Sioux names meaning ‘one who is sacred’ or ‘one with magic.’ 

native american silhouette

The Dakota Sioux called raccoons wee-ka kg-alega, which means ‘sacred one with a painted face.’ The Aztec term for raccoon translates to ‘one who takes everything in his hands.’ 

Their term for the female raccoon means ‘she who talks with the Gods’ while their term for females with cubs translated as ‘little old one who knows things.’ Many Native American idols and carvings resemble raccoons. 

The Yakima tribe uses a ‘guardian’ term, which means ‘she who watches’ and it greatly resembles a raccoon. Many tribes also believed that raccoons and dogs were related and even kept both as pets. Some tribes also ate raccoons. (2

Raccoon Christianity symbolism

Raccoons have a mention in the Noah’s Ark story. They were once sleek and proud animals that soon got bored of eating berries. Noah had forgotten to pack meat for these carnivores. 

After a week on the ark, they started craving the breast of the unicorn. Late one night, the raccoons picked the locks on their pen and quickly and silently snuck to the pen of the unicorns. 

Knowing that the unicorns loved bangles on their horns, the raccoons offered them some. Vanity overtook fear and the unicorns came closer – close enough for one raccoon to jump on the back of a stag and kill him. The raccoons dragged the carcass back to their pen. 


The next morning, Noah came to the pens to give breakfast when he saw the raccoons sleeping off their feast. Noah cursed them and God changed the raccoons into lumbering beasts destined to spend their lives scavenging for food. (3)

John 3: 14-21 sermon states: But those who do what is true come to light.

This sermon talks about animals like owls, raccoons, and bats that like the darkness and hunt in the dark so people would not see them. In the Bible, Jesus is the light of the world. 

And like people who hated God love the darkness, people who love God love the light. Robbers and thieves like the darkness so people cannot see them. So raccoon spiritual meaning is darkness or having no love for God. (4)

Raccoon Celtic symbolism

In Celtic folklore, the raccoon is a trickster spirit that is clever but always using its wits to steal food from other animals. He receives his mask as a punishment having eaten all of his grandmother’s acorns – she hits him with a fire poker that also leaves a mark on his face. (5)

The raccoon isn’t a bear, but, for a long time, it was thought to be related to pandas. The name Ursus lotor (washing bear) has been closely related to Procyon lotor, which is the name given to raccoons. 

In Germany, where raccoons were introduced in the 1930s, people called the species Wasch Baer (meaning washing bear). 

celtic cross

This name probably comes from the fact that raccoons love to douse in water their food- fish, crayfish, and frogs – anything found in the shallow parts of rivers and lakes –prior to eating them. That is why; raccoons live close to river beds and lakes. 

The hand and food-washing behavior of raccoons has mainly been seen in captivity and in domestic raccoons and has been termed as ‘dousing’ or dabbling’ of food. This behavior is not seen in wild raccoons. (6)

Among the Celts, Scots, and Welsh people, the raccoon sign means a lovable rascal but also a trickster. Their ancient stories also talk about raccoons having supernatural powers. The legends praised the female raccoons that were so adept in protecting their young cubs. 

Raccoon in dreams

In her book, Dreams Designed by God for You: Exploring and Understanding Your Dreams, author Betty Jane Rapin states that dreaming of a raccoon can mean different things to different people. 

However, in general, the raccoon’s meaning is a thief or a burglar, owing to the mask around its eyes. Betty Rapin asks us to introspect if we see a raccoon in dream. 

She says: “analyze if there is someone close to you that may be taking undue advantage of you and stealing things from you.” Alternatively, the author asks you to introspect: ‘Perhaps you are stealing something from yourself”. 


The answer, most commonly, says Rapin, is time. You may be wasting too much time watching television or doing something that is unproductive. 

Betty Rapin also asks you to determine what the raccoon was doing when you dreamt of one. ‘Was it scavenging from your yard or trash?’ Perhaps it was simply walking around the house sneakily. Knowing the answers to these questions can help with the interpretation. (7

We can safely conclude that dreams are funny things and they need to be interpreted carefully based on the circumstances. In general, though, dreaming of a raccoon could mean that you are surrounded by friendly faces that may be deceiving you.

Raccoon encounters and omens

Raccoons are playful, curious, and fairly solitary animals. They live on the outskirts of human dwellings so they can get food easily. Their habit of dipping objects in water is curious and mysterious. 

They tend to live amicably with both humans and animals of other species. What does a raccoon symbolize if one keeps crossing your path? It indicates that you should live in harmony with yourself in relation to the world. 

Connect yourself to your life plan and use it to your benefit. The raccoon symbolizes the human ego. It is the personal ‘I’ whose objective is to claim its space in the outside world. 


What is the spiritual meaning of seeing a raccoon? Spiritually, a raccoon indicates that you need to observe your ego maturely and empathetically. Watch the games the raccoons play, and try to interpret their meanings. 

Understand that the ego is not a monster; rather, it is a part of our consciousness and needs and deserves love. It also needs guidance from the inner consciousness. (8) Many people keep raccoons as pets. 

However, like dogs, they can carry rabies pathogens and they also have a tendency to bite. The public is therefore warned to keep raccoons off their properties. Most legends talk about raccoon encounters as a forewarning of deception, theft, or burglary. Be on guard!

Raccoon mythology and folklore

In many myths and cultures, raccoons and coyotes were called upon to put an end to the freezing weather. Calling the raccoons and coyotes made it rain, which brought an end to the freeze. 

Thus, in many mythological stories, raccoons have a connection to the rain and bring a balance in nature. (9) In Japan, tanuki (raccoon) and the spiritual meaning of raccoon have great significance. 

The tanuki is seen near human dwellings and not as much in the wild. Tanuki statues are a symbol of good luck and prosperity. You will find thousands of stories about the raccoon in Japanese folklore. 


According to these traditional stories, the raccoon could take on any appearance and could easily transform itself. 

Many restaurants in Japan have raccoon statues outside and they are depicted holding their favorite drink – nihonshu – in the left hand. In the right hand, it is depicted holding an accounts book. These figurines are believed to bring good luck to the business. (10)

Raccoon hunters rely on the owls to tell them if their hunt will be successful. If they hear the owl’s cry on the left-hand side of their path, the hunt will fail. But if the owl hoots on the right or the dogs roll and lie down, the hunt will be successful. 

Raccoon spirit animal

The raccoon spirit animal indicates that you have a masked problem solver watching over you. This scavenger extraordinaire is the symbol of masks and dexterity. 

The word raccoon, according to some, may have come from the word arckenum, meaning ‘hand scratcher.’ This means that raccoons are extremely resourceful animals. 

They can solve complex problems and can find their way out of any mess. Raccoon personality is smart and dexterous. He can open cans and bottles with ease. Its longer finger works magic. 

They have also adapted well to humans. You will find them on the outskirts of city dwellings where they can easily scavenge for food. These fastidious animals like to wash their hands before eating. 

They are nocturnal animals that live on trees during the day and hunt in small packs at night. When a raccoon arrives as your spirit animal, it may be trying to hit you between the eyes with a message that is obvious, but you aren’t able to see it. 

However, worry not, for this spirit animal will guide you patiently through all the necessary steps so you can arrive at your own breakthrough. And once you have made through, the raccoon will gently teach you to let go and move on. (12)

Raccoon totem animal

The masks that have served you no longer hold…

It is time to lose them and make your move…

The clever raccoon animal totem teaches you to change your face and transform yourself through wearing masks and presenting a different face. It asks you the question: are you your true self? Are you hiding? If you are, the raccoon helps you find the answers. 

We all wear masks, like the raccoon, when we are presented with certain situations that demand we portray ourselves in a certain way. 


We are conditioned to wear masks since childhood. Just make sure, warns the raccoon, that you do it for the right reasons. 

The raccoon totem animal warns you: if you have always worn a mask in order to gain acceptance from others or are not being your true self, then that may stop you from living a happy life. 

It would only attract negative things. Listen to the raccoon’s message as it is trying to warn you from leading such a deceptive life. 

Of course, the raccoon may also be telling you that someone close to you may be being deceptive and wearing a mask. The raccoon medicine here is: be clever; masks aren’t always bad, but they are temporary.

Raccoon power animal

The raccoon power animal has certain strengths and weaknesses. The strengths of a raccoon are resourcefulness, dexterity, adaptability, cleverness, and orderliness. 

The raccoon can easily get along with other species of animals and does not live too far from human dwellings. This shows that it is able to adapt and live in harmony with others. 

The nocturnal animal is also dexterous. It can open jars, bottles, bundles, and boxes with ease. It is also clever, clean, orderly, and organized. It ensures washing its hands and food before eating. 


All these strengths can come to us if one of our power animals is a raccoon. The raccoon’s negative characteristics are deception and sneakiness. It is also nosy and gets into trash cans and bins. Sometimes, this nosiness gets it trapped and killed by hunters.

To use a raccoon’s power, ask yourself: am I living a cluttered life? Perhaps the raccoon can help you get organized, and even see clarity. It can help clear up confusion and solve a baffling problem. 

The spiritual meaning of raccoon visit is that you need to use your skills and resources wisely. The power animal may also tell you to clean up your act. Maybe you need to stop hiding behind a mask and be more open and outgoing. (14)

Raccoon tattoo meaning

A raccoon tattoo can help you channel the raccoon spirit. It may be symbolic of the fact that you can tell who is being deceptive around you. You know who your true friends are. 

It also means that you are a resourceful person who can use whatever is at hand to get what you want. You can mask deceptive friends and filter out the genuine ones who truly seek your well-being. 

A raccoon tattoo is also a reminder to oneself to stop wearing a mask and live a more genuine life. It may indicate that you must be more creative, more organized, more de-cluttered, and more in connection with your true self. 

woman getting a tattoo

Likewise, a raccoon tattoo means that you need to live more harmoniously with yourself, with your ego, and with others around you. 

Just like the raccoon can live amicably with other animals in the wild as well as with humans, so should you. In Japan, the raccoon tattoo or tanuki tattoo can bring good luck and prosperity to the individual. 

Like with any tattoo, the meanings of a raccoon tattoo can differ depending on the way it is depicted, the colors used, etc. Convey the exact raccoon tattoo meaning by discussing your vision thoroughly with your tattoo artist.


As can be seen, raccoon symbolism differs from culture to culture. It may mean deception, wearing a mask, or even represent a scavenger. 

However, it also has positive meanings like resourcefulness, an organized mind, and the ability to unmask deception.

We hope this guide helps you decipher the exact raccoon meaning based on your circumstances.


3 thoughts on “Raccoon Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)”

  1. Yes they do for sure absolutely yeppers do have opposeable thumbs….wives tales they do do do I really truly wish that entire species of earth would seriously seriously stop this villanizeing the Raccoon breed it’s clearly a sad prejudice and disgusting as the racist we still have too deal with in 2022 sick sad days

  2. I always enjoy your page. But, because I recently was wondering about raccoons thumbs, I need to point out one inaccuracy here. Raccoons do not have opposable thumbs. Thanks for your writing 💕

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