Common raccoons or simply raccoons have been living with humans for ages. Years ago, they acted as an important source of food for Native Americans. The word 'raccoon' is derived from the native Powhatan term 'aroughcun', meaning 'someone who catches with hands'. Native Americans were the first ones to observe the dexterous nature of a raccoon and named them after it.
The common raccoon is also known as the northern raccoon as it is found throughout the continent of North America and extends down to the northern part of South America. The remarkable characteristics that set raccoons apart from other animals are the dark mask around the eyes and the bushy tail with black rings. They have an extremely high population. For this reason, common raccoons do not need any protective measures. These animals, instead, are managed carefully by the government by implementing certain actions to control the overpopulation of common raccoons.
To know more interesting facts about raccoons, check out all the information given below. For similar content check out sun bear and zonkey facts too.
What do they prey on?
Amphibians, bird eggs, crayfish, and fish
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
11-57.3 lb (5-26 kg)
How long are they?
16-28 in (40-70 cm)
How tall are they?
9-12 in (23-30 cm)
What do they look like?
Gray and reddish-brown
What are their main threats?
Hunting, poisoning, and trapping
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Moist woodlands, farmlands, urban areas, suburban territories, and flood forests
North and Central America
Common Raccoon Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a common raccoon?
A common raccoon, also known as a northern raccoon, is a type of warm-blooded animal that openly coexists with human beings in urban and rural areas.
What class of animal does a belong to?
Common raccoons of the Carnivora order and Procyonidae family belong to the class of mammals or Mammalia, the common class for all warm-blooded animals.
How many common raccoons are there in the world?
Common raccoons are frequently observed throughout their range. The total number of raccoons that are currently present in the wild has not been quantified yet. However, they are considered to have a very high population in their range and the population of these animals is following an increasing trend. The ability of common raccoons to adapt and survive in any type of habitat directly contributes to their constantly growing numbers in the wild.
Where does a common raccoon live?
Common raccoons have originated in the prairie region of southern Canada. From there, these animals moved southwards to enter the United States and have extended to different parts of Central America. In the wild, sightings of common raccoons have been confirmed in northern Panama however, the southern limit of these raccoons is still unclear.
Recent surveys suggest that common raccoons are also living along the Colombian borders in South America but there is no strong evidence regarding the similarity between the two species. Around the mid 20th century, raccoons started to spread outside of America and were introduced to many urban and rural parts of Europe and Central Asia. Currently, they are also widely distributed in the urban parts of Japan where they coexist with humans.
What is a common raccoon's habitat?
Common raccoons are very adaptive creatures that can exist in almost any type of habitat in the wild. Raccoons may survive anywhere in tropical or temperate regions where plenty of water is available. Although they are widespread in the United States, no trace of life can be found in the Rocky and desert regions of the country. They prefer to live in moist woodlands. They are also commonly found in farmlands, urban areas, suburban territories, and flood forests. These nocturnal animals nest in dark places like caves, mines, dens in trees, and deserted buildings.
Who do common raccoons live with?
These animals show complex social behavior. It was once believed that they are solitary animals but recent studies have shown that raccoons are not completely solitary. Female common raccoons live in a fission-fusion society, a common place where many females live together and they sometimes feed or rest with the other members of the group. The babies live with the females throughout their first winter.
Males show partial social behavior and they sometimes cluster in unrelated groups consisting of a maximum of four males. It is rare for a male raccoon to accompany a female during the breeding season and stay until the young one is born.
How long does a common raccoon live?
A common raccoon (Procyon lotor) is believed to have a lifespan of up to 16 years in the wild but most raccoons live barely more than three years in the wild. The average lifespan of common raccoons is believed to be five years in the wild.
If they survive beyond five years, their chances of living a longer life increase. However, in captivity, raccoons have a record of living life for 21 years.
How do they reproduce?
The mating season of raccoons starts in late January and lasts to the middle of March. During this time, male raccoons deliberately expand their home range in order to include more female raccoons. This probably increases the options of potential female mates for the male raccoon. The male raccoon dens with the female only for the period of reproduction and leaves as soon as the process is over. However, few males spend the entire span of the mating season with their female partners, until their baby is born.
Females attain sexual maturity before one year and they generally give birth once per reproduction cycle. They give birth to two to five young cubs in a single litter after a gestation period of 63-65 days. The mother takes care of its cubs during their first winter.
What is their conservation status?
Common raccoons are classified as a species of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List. The species is fairly common throughout North America and their ability to survive in any kind of habitat and adapt to the changing environment has led to the increase in the number of these animals.
However, the lack of conservation measures has exposed raccoons to a large number of threats like hunting, poisoning, and trapping. There is still no news of significant declines in raccoon populations, rather their populations are increasing in certain areas of their range.
Common Raccoon Fun Facts
What do common raccoons look like?
Raccoons are small to mid-sized mammals. The most notable characteristic that distinguishes raccoons from other animals is the black mask that surrounds the eyes of the animal. The mask facilitates the excellent night vision of these nocturnal creatures by absorbing the extra glare of lights.
Another distinguishable physical feature of raccoons is their think bushy tail with black rings. The front paws of raccoons look like the slender version of human hands. Raccoons mostly hunt and eat with the help of these forepaws. They are said to be dexterous animals like elephants. The color of their body fur ranges from gray to reddish-brown depending on the habitat type.
How cute are they?
The black mask across the eyes of raccoons gives them a notorious look. Humans are not too fond of their visual appeal or their behavior because raccoons are known to hide inside trash cans and rummage through garbage.
How do they communicate?
Raccoons have highly developed sensory nerves and their tactile sensation is very advanced. The raccoon's front paws are hypersensitive making the animal dexterous. These paws help the raccoon to locate its prey and eat its food. These nocturnal creatures also have excellent night vision which further improves the communicative behavior of the animal at night.
How big is a common raccoon ?
Common raccoons are the largest raccoons of their family. The length of the animals ranges between 16-28 in (40-70 cm). They resemble the size of raccoon dogs.
How fast can a common raccoon run?
Common raccoons generally walk and climb trees. However, under given circumstances, raccoons may run at the highest speed of 15 mph (24.1 kph).
How much does a common raccoon weigh?
The weight of common raccoons ranges between 11-57.3 lb (5-26 kg).
What are the male and female names of the species?
Males and females are known as boars and sows respectively.
What would you call a baby common raccoon?
A baby raccoon is referred to as a kit or cub.
What do they eat?
Raccoons are omnivorous animals, and although they are not rodents, a large part of their diet consists of invertebrates. Their diet also consists of plant materials like fruits, berries, nuts, and seeds. At night, they eat a carnivorous diet including amphibians like frogs and toads, bird eggs, crayfish, and fish.
Are they dangerous?
Raccoons do not pose much threat to human beings. They sometimes are carrier of rabies, however, chances of transmitting the disease are very low as they are afraid of interacting with humans.
Would they make a good pet?
Raccoons are wild and unfriendly animals. It is better to leave them out in the open to prevent the possibility of transmission of rabies to human beings.
Did you know...
The largest common raccoon (Procyon lotor) ever recorded had a body length of 55.1 in (140 cm) and weighed 62.6 lb (28.4 kg).
What are the seven species of raccoons?
The seven different species of raccoons are Procyon lotor, Procyon Cancrivorus, Procyon pygmaeus, Procyon lotor minor, Procyon lotor gloveralleni, Procyon lotor simus, and Procyon lotor insularis.
Can raccoons see color?
Raccoon eyes are only receptive to the color green and they cannot distinguish between any other color. They are regarded as partially color blind animals.
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