All About Raccoons

The common raccoon (AKA trash panda or Procyon Lotor) is well known in many industrialized and urban areas. It can be a cute sight to see due to their colourations and furry fat belly. It is a mammal and omnivore. A group of raccoons is called a nursery and lives up to 2 or 3 years in the wild. When you are watching out for a night bandit, you may be searching for a raccoon. Here are some common facts about raccoons.

Appearance: What Does It Look Like?

The raccoon can grow up to between 23 to 38 inches in length, and from 4 to 23 pounds based on the age and access to food. These four-legged friends have a fluffy tail and dexterous feet with long fingers for breaking in and out of small storage spaces. Their fur is generally a dark brown to black colour with dirty white or grey highlights at the ears, hands, feet, and tail. The most distinctive feature is the black eye mask that extends from each eye. 

Raccoon Out Of Garden; Raccoon

These markings are extremely pronounced as the rest of the face is a grey, white, and light brown colour. Raccoons have a pear-shaped body with a large hind end and smaller head and chest. The head is cone-shaped that comes to a point at the black nose below the eyes. The raccoon also has a very distinctive tail that is primarily the brown colour of the body with black rings around the length of the tail.

Diet: What Do They Eat?

Raccoons are smart scavengers. Because they are natural omnivores, they eat anything and everything that they can find. If food is plentiful, they can start to become picky. However, if pushed, they can eat anything that keeps them going. Generally, they focus on eating insects, ants, bugs, seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish, amphibians, and lots of bird eggs. Raccoons will only eat smaller mammals, birds, and other larger prey when there is little else to eat. They prefer to go after easier prey. This means that an open trash can is a venerable grocery store for a family of raccoons. When raccoons become too aggressive on egg eating, they need to be removed physically from the location. They can break into chicken coops or rob bird nests of their eggs. They can devastate a location of the bird population just from stealing all of the eggs.

Habitat: Where Do They Live?

Raccoons are common in North America, Central America, all over Europe, and even Asia. They cross borders as easily as the wind. They are more concerned with types of growth in the area rather than the political borders. Raccoons, when they are scared, prefer to climb trees or other things that give them height to escape the incident. This means they tend to live in deciduous forests and urban environments. Evergreens near rivers or the ocean are prime areas for raccoons. They tend to create homes in dense underbrush, hollowed-out trees, or other den-like areas of the forest. They are not diggers themselves but instead will use burrows dug and abandoned by other animals for their homes. Raccoons have also acclimated to urban and suburban areas that have lots of shed and garage spaces to make nests and homes.

Behavior: How Do They Act?

Don’t underestimate the cleverness of a raccoon. They are highly intelligent and are cunning like a fox. They can solve puzzles and remember the solution for future use. Raccoons socialize under a “three-class society” based on sex. First, females will group together in social orders during feeding, sleeping, or wandering. Second, the males will group together in small packs, usually about 4 to a group. They do this to protect themselves from other males and invaders to their territory. Third, pregnant mothers will isolate themselves from the social groups so that they can give birth in secrecy and safety. Each group roams their areas mainly for food security. Their territories can vary between 1 and 20 square miles depending on the size of the group and the amount of food in the locations. Easy access to food generally allows for smaller ranges. Raccoons are generally not aggressive to humans handling, also they stay away during the day. They mainly roam during the night when predators are scarcer, and food is more available to steal. 

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