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Be Safe Out There! – Young Nocturnal Animals Need to Explore, Often in Daylight image
July 28, 2022
Be Safe Out There! – Young Nocturnal Animals Need to Explore, Often in Daylight

DiscoverNEPA is all about celebrating Northeastern Pennsylvania’s abundant and vibrant natural spaces. We want you to get outside, relax and unwind in the mountain air, among the towering trees, along the crystal-clear lakes and streams. We just want to make sure everyone enjoys these places safely and respectfully.

That’s why we’re teaming up with state agencies, local conservation authorities and outdoor enthusiasts to bring you expert advice, tips and so much more to help you enjoy NEPA’s great outdoors.

PA Game Commission Clears Common Misconception About Nocturnal Animals Spotted During the Daytime

Photo Courtesy of PA Game Commission


Practice caution, keep your distance and more importantly, don’t panic.

The arrival of the warm summertime weather encourages a flurry of outdoor activities. Most people are eager to get out and soak up the sunshine and take in the sights and sounds. But what happens when young wildlife has the same idea? Usually, it causes uncertainty along with fear and sometimes panic among people. After all, most of us remember being told as a youngster that if a nocturnal animal is out during the day, it’s likely rabid. Most of the time, this is not the case, especially regarding young animals.

Being the parent of a wild mammal is an exhausting undertaking. Most of the time, the task of raising, feeding, concealing, protecting, and teaching to hunt for or locate food falls on the female. And with most species of mammals having anywhere from three to six young at a time, it’s a full-time job with little time off.

Young mammals such as fox, raccoons, and skunks are born in the safety and comfort of hidden burrows or tight cavities high in trees. While that’s great for protection, it offers little “elbow room” or range exploring opportunities for the young as they quickly grow. Most of the time, the youngsters are eager to get out and learn their home area. They want to stretch and strengthen their muscles by running and roughhousing with their siblings. Getting out and away from home is also a good way for them to learn what’s a threat, and what’s not. The more time they spend doing this, the better the chance of them making it in the wild.


Photo Courtesy of PA Game Commission


Nocturnal young exploring and foraging during the day is a common occurrence in NEPA.

Being out during the day simply gives the young the maximum amount of necessary exposure. And often the female may or may not be with the youngsters during these daytime forages. After all, she needs a break too (as any single parent can attest to).

So, when does it become a problem? Number one, never forget that wildlife is just that — WILD. No matter how a wild animal appears, never try to approach it for any reason. Healthy animals will normally appear just that – normal, cautious but curious, and usually fearful of humans. Any animal, adult or juvenile, that has trouble walking (without obvious injury), stumbling or walking in circles, falling over, or being overly aggressive toward anyone or anything is cause for concern and may be sick. A rabid animal CANNOT be diagnosed by sight only, but a combination of the listed signs means that animal warrants attention and a wildlife agency should be contacted.

Bottom line — Don’t panic! If you see a nocturnal animal out during the day, it’s not unheard of this time of year.



For more information on any wildlife related matters, visit the Game Commission’s website at

You can also contact the Northeast Regional Office in Dallas at 570-675-1143.


Featured Image (Top) Courtesy of PA Game Commission