Facts about Raccoons
The raccoon, sometimes referred to as the common raccoon to distinguish it from other species, is a medium-sized mammal that is native to North America, it is the largest of the Procyonidae family, it is 40 to 70 cm in length and weight from 5 to 70 cm. 26kg.
Raccoons have up to 22 extant subspecies.
Raccoons usually reach 2,5 feet in length and weigh between 12-16 pounds. Raccoons that live in colder climates are larger and heavier.
They live for up to 2-3 years in the wild.
They have grayish fur, black mask around eyes and long tail covered with black and brown bands. Because of their tail, they are nicknamed “ringtail”.
Female raccoons give birth after only about 65 days of pregnancy.
Raccoon’s hand looks like human’s. They have five fingers and use their hands to collect food, open shells, door or trash cans…
The coat of raccoons is made up of dense underfur, which naturally insulates them and protects them against cold weather.
They are omnivores (eat plants and animals) and like to eat insects, eggs, small mammals, fruit, berries, seed, garbage…
Raccoons typically have communal latrines where several individuals defecate. Raccoon poop often contains undigested seeds and berries that birds and other animals might feast on.
Raccoons often place food in water before they start to eat it. They have highly sensitive sense of touch and water increases sensitivity even more. By touching the food they get better insight about things they will eat.
A large portion of their brains are dedicated to processing what they touch, particularly with their front paws or “hands”. Humans, in contrast, rely more on vision. Raccoons, in essence, see with their hands.
They are easily adaptable to various environments. They can live in hollow tree equally happy like they can in abandoned cars.
A baby raccoon is referred to as a “kit”.
Raccoons are solitary (live on their own) and nocturnal creatures (they hunt at night).
Pygmy raccoons exist as a case of island dwarfism.
They don’t hibernate, but they spend coldest days of winters in their burrows.
Pygmy raccoons can only be found in Cozumel Island in Mexico. Due to their limited habitat, only around 250-300 individuals are left in the wild, which places it near extinction if left unchecked.
Raccoons produce various sounds. They can hiss, purr, whistle, growl…
Common raccoons are known to dip their food in water before they eat. Because they have such a strong sense of touch, they inspect their food using their hands.
They are excellent swimmers and climbers.
Raccoon senses are powerful, but they are not known to have a great sense of sight. However, raccoons do have good night vision. Similar to cats, they have a reflective layer in the lenses of their eyes called the tapetum lucidum which enhances their vision of nearby objects. That said, they don’t have a wide range of vision with limited depth perception.
Raccoons can transmit rabies to domestic animals and people. Their feces often contain roundworms.
Raccoons have been shown to be sensitive to green light.
Group of raccoons is called nursery or gaze.
Raccoons have been the subject of a number of folk tales of the indigenous peoples, often portrayed as clever tricksters and skilled foragers.
Mating season takes place from January to mid March. Two months later, female will give birth to 3-4 babies. Their tails don’t have bands, and mask around eyes is still missing.
Raccoons have a heightened sense of smell that helps them move around at night and communicate with other raccoons. Like many mammals, they mark their territories with urine, feces, and anal gland secretions.
Mother is very protective and she will teach them how to survive and what to eat as soon they become ready to leave the burrow.
Some of the most well-documented diseases carried by raccoons are the lethal rabies virus, canine distemper, and leptospirosis.
Average life span in the wild is 5 years, while they can live up to 20 years in captivity.
Raccoon poop may also carry roundworms that can be passed on to humans.