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The Raccoon is native to North and South America (except for the western mountain ranges), Southern Canada to the northern reaches of Argentina. They have populations in Europe and Germany where they escaped from fur farms and were set loose and hunted for sport during World War II.

Raccoon comes from the Algonquin word ‘Arakun’ which means one who scratches with his hands.

The raccoon’s scientific name, Procyon Lotor, means ‘washer dog’ although it is a closer relative to the bear family.

The Raccoons Coloration is slate gray to very dark gray, some with reddish or brownish cast. Five to ten black rings encircling the bushy tail. Black mask across face. Triangular shaped head, broad in the back tapering to a pointed muzzle. They have five clawed fingers that are separated, no webbing on their softly-padded, sensitive paws.

Raccoons are excellent climbers and when ready to come down from a tree, the animal will shimmy down backwards and just before getting to the ground, they turn and jump down on all fours, they can swim and have a sharp sense of smell and hearing.

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Raccoons are nocturnal (night dwelling), plantigrade animals (walking on the entirety of their foot – e.g. Bears and humans). They are best known for the black eye mask, bushy ringed tail, and mischievous nature.

There are 6 species and the Raccoons lifespan in the wild is approximately 5 years and 13–16 years in a zoological setting. The largest raccoon weighed in at 27.2kgs (60lbs).

Raccoons are highly adaptable to different habitats, especially wooded areas near ponds or moving streams. They have adapted to suburban living and will den in attics, chimneys, and under outbuildings or porches, though they prefer to be a little higher from the ground.

Raccoons have a large array of vocalizations. They purr, whistle, growl, hiss, scream and even whinny.

Raccoons will eat whatever is available. They use their front paws like hands to locate food by touching and feeling, especially in water. This behaviour has given rise to the erroneous belief that raccoons wash their food before eating.

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Raccoons have been kept as pets (President Coolidge and his wife had one named Rebecca), and while young, seem happy to be in human company. As they mature, especially during mating season, they can become increasingly destructive and aggressive.

A raccoon’s hands are so nimble they can open shells, trash cans, doors, unlace a shoe, unlatch a cage and deftly retrieve coins from your shirt pocket.

Raccoons are social animals and several family groups will den and forage together. Although individuals have territories, they overlap with those of other raccoons.

Raccoons are highly intelligent, cute and curious, but are also fearsome when threatened, biting, scratching, and ‘turning in their skins’ like cats.

The Raccoons head to body length is 41.5–60cm (16.3–23.6ins) with a Shoulder height of 23–30.5cm (9–12ins) and a tail length of 20–40.5cm (7.8–16ins).

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Males generally weigh more than females and this varies by location. e.g. Alabama: males 4.31kgs (9.5lbs), females 3.67kgs (8lbs); Missouri: males 6.76kgs (15lbs), females 5.94kgs (13.1lbs).

Raccoons have a highly diverse, omnivorous diet; including frogs, fish, crayfish, crabs, nuts, seeds and berries.

The Raccoons reach sexual maturity at approximately 1 year and gestation ranges between 60–73 days; litter size is 1–7 and they typically give birth from April to June; weaning occurs at between 7 weeks to 4 months. Females are extremely aggressive and ferocious if their young are threatened. The young may remain with mother until winter months.

Raccoon babies eyes stay shut until around three weeks of age. While young in captivity, babies drink warm milk mixed with water and a little bit of honey for sweetness. Once the bottle has been consumed, baby raccoons need to be burped just as a human baby would.

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Dens are often hollows in trees, rock crevices, the burrows of other animals, in cars, sewers, buildings and chimneys. Occupied for only 1–2 days unless during rearing of young or during periods of harsh weather.

Raccoons do not hibernate and remain active throughout year in southern range. They shelter in dens during winters in northern range but will emerge during periods of warmer weather. During this time they live off of fat reserves losing as much as 50% of body weight.

Highly developed sense of touch in nose and forepaws. Hands are very dexterous and used in similar fashion as monkeys, picking up food and other items. The legend that raccoons wash their food before eating has been dispelled.

Raccoons can carry human pathogens such as leptospirosis, distemper, tularemia and rabies and can transfer these diseases to other humans.

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 Found in FoodEtc/Picnic.


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 Found in Transport/Road/Cars.


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