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Racoon image
Racoon

Racoon

(Mammal)

Racoon Baby
Racoon Baby

Racoon Habits

The racoon leads a largely solitary life. It is temperamental and will often fight with its own family members as well as with others racoons. Although most racoons live in the wild, close contact with humans does not bother them. They often nest in empty buildings, garages, sheds, and even the attics of houses. Since racoons are nocturnal animals, they are most active at night. Racoons do not hibernate in the winter, but those that live further north, where it is colder, grow thick coats to keep them warm and spend long periods sleeping.
Racoons have long been hunted and trapped for their fur. In the United States, "coonskins" were once so prized that they were used as currency. They have also been killed because of the damage they do to crops and poultry, their overall number has not declined. Because of its fur, the racoon has been introduced into other countries, notably Europe and Russia.

Racoon Communication

Raccoons have been known to use over 200 distinct sounds in their interactions with other raccoons and animals. They have not been determined to form an actual language.

Racoon Breeding

While the male racoon mates with different females, the female will mate with only one male, avoiding all others that season. Mating usually takes place in the winter months, but may continue until June. About 9 weeks after mating, the young are born in a nest of leaves made by the female in a hollow tree or log. They are blind for their first 3 weeks, but grow quickly.
The female cares for them exclusively, teaching them to hunt and to climb trees. With such predators as bobcats and cougars, this is a dangerous time for the young kits. Although some families break up in the fall, the young normally stay with their mother through the first winter, after which they gradually leave. The young females begin to breed when they are a year old; males generally begin at the age of two.

Racoon Food & Feeding

The racoon normally feeds along waterways and lakes. It hunts as it swims; looking for fish, crayfish, frogs, turtles, and turtle eggs. The racoon will catch mice and muskrats along the banks of streams and rivers and will also search the woodlands for insects, nuts, fruits, young birds and bird eggs. In some areas, the racoon is considered a pest. It raids poultry and wildfowl breeding sites and it eats corn and other crops. In more populated areas, a racoon will frequently knock over trash cans while scavenging for food, using its hands as well as monkeys do.

Racoon Key Facts

        Size 
              Height: Head and body: 18-30 in. Tail: 8-13 in
              Weight: Up to 46 lb
       Breeding
             Sexual maturity: Males, 2 years. Females, 1 year
             Mating: Mainly winter
             Gestation: 60-73 days
             Number of young: 1-7, usually 3-4
       Lifestyle 
            Habit: Mainly solitary
            Diet: Fruits, nuts, insects, reptiles, garbage, crops
            Lifespan: 10 or more years in wild. Longer in captivity

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The racoon's Latin name, lotor, means "one who washes".
  • The racoon has very nimble fingers that can twist handles and open doors.
  • Racoon meat is good to eat and tastes like lamb.
  • When the film about Davy Crockett was released in 1955, the title character wore a hat made from a racoon skin and tail, which started a fashion trend.
  • Racoons carry many diseases, the worst of which is a microscopic parasite known as raccoon roundworm. It has been known to cause death and blindness in humans.

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