Raccoon

Procyon lotor

Origin: North America and Central America

  • Raccoons have been distributed across much of the mainland of Europe, the Caucasus, and Japan.

Lifespan: In the wild, 2-3 years. In captivity, they can live up to 20 years. 

Size:  Adults can weigh 11 to 60 lbs. Males are usually 15-20% heavier than the females. Raccoons weigh more in the winter than in the spring.

Diet:  Omnivorous

  • Raccoons are opportunistic eaters

  • Their diet consists of about 40% invertebrates,  33% plant material, 27% vertebrates

  • They are claimed to be "one of the world's most omnivorous animals" (Zeveloff 2002)

Activity: Nocturnal

Reproduction:

  • Breeding season is usually between January and mid-March. In warmer locations, it extends to June

  • Young are called kits or cubs

  • Gestation is about 63 days

  • Litter sizes are between 2-5 kits born blind and deaf

  • Males have no part in raising young.

  • The kits start eating solids around 6-9 weeks of age.

  • Once the kits reach juvenile sizes in the Fall, the will start splitting into groups. Many females will stay close to the home ranges of their mothers, while males sometimes move more than 12 miles away.

Extra Facts:

  • Raccoons have easily identifiable markings. Their black face mask and ringed tails make them easy to point out. It is believed that their masks help them see more clearly by absorbing incoming light and reducing glare.

  • They are very intelligent and have excellent memory of solutions to tasks for at least three years.

  • Known to wash their food. Little is known as the reasoning for this behavior.

  • Raccoons will have multiple den sites and feeding grounds.

  • They have more than 50 different vocalizations. 

  • Their hearing is sensitive enough to perceive tones up to 50-80 kHz, as well as noises as quiet as an earthworm moving underground.

  • Raccoons can run at 15 mph, even while climbing trees.

  • A group of raccoons is called a nursery or a gaze.

  • There are no known wild raccoons found in Alaska.

  • Raccoons that live in the city are more clever than the ones that live in the country.

  • A raccoon lived in the White House. Her name was Rebecca and owned by President Calvin Coolidge. She originally was supposed to be used as consumable meat (as it wasn't uncommon back then), but when the President saw the raccoon, he decided to adopt her instead.