Raccoon Information

What is their scientific Name?

Their scientific name is Procyon Lotor. This translates roughly as Washer bear, which makes perfect sense if you have seen their behavior.

What is their family name?

Their Family name is Procyinds which is in the carnivore order. This family included animals such as Ring Tails (Bassariscus astutus), Coati's (Nasua narica) and Kinkajous.

Where do they live?

Raccoons are very adaptable and live over much of the United States and southern Canada, about the only areas that don't have them are the purely coniferous areas , desert areas and artic-tundra areas. They live throughout cities thriving on food discarded and given out by people.

How big are they?

Depending on the animal it is possible for them to be a meter long and 20 kilograms (3 feet 3 inches & 40 pounds). However this is often only the case with larger males, normally they are about as big as a large house cat.

What color's are they?

Raccoons can be any number of color's. The most common color's are gray and brown, with grayish brown also being very common. There are also red and black and even golden!. It is also possible for them to be white with black eyes or albino.

What do they eat?

Part of their adaptability includes eating just about anything edible. They will eat fish , frogs and crayfish as well as nuts as berries. They also love corn and peanut butter. They also love eggs and will go after them as well as the occasional mice. they do like loon eggs which pisses off conservationists, but it should be noted that this is normal for them and normally would not affect the loon population. The decrease in the loon population is due to human interference.

Do they hibernate?

No. While they do aestivate , they do not sleep for the entire winter. Aestivation means sleeping for extended periods, but an animal in this state can be awoke, while an animal in hibernation cannot be awoke. Breeding season begins in February in most parts and as early as December in warmer areas, so by this time they fully awake and are active.

What are their mating habits?

early in the year males while come out of aestivation and will seek out a mate. When they do eventually mate, the females gestation is nine weeks and they will usually have between three and six kits. They stay with their mother until the next winter being educated and by then are able to be weaned and survive on their own.

Are they aggressive?

The answer to this varies. As with people they all have different personalities. Some are more prone to aggression while others are more naturally tame and docile. However the main factor that affects this is their environment. Since they live in many different kinds of environment their living conditions vary excessively. Ones that live in pleasant conditions where food is plentiful and living space is plentiful and predators and other dangers are limited to non existent (such as ones that live in towns where people feed and see them everyday) will normally be quite tame. While ones that live in harsh conditions where food is scare and it's hard to say where you're next meal is coming from and there is limited space and a lot of predators and other dangers will be aggressive. They will be aggressive as they must be to survive (ie survival of the fittest). It should be noted however that despite how friendly a raccoon appears to be do not touch it . Some people may put food in their hands for the raccoons to take but they are doing so at extreme risk to both themselves and the raccoons. Simply put you don't know where they have been and what they have and they don't know where you have been and what you have. If one were to bite you then it would have to be killed to test for rabies and you would need several very painfully injections.

Do they all have rabies?

No! This is a common myth and stereotype. To get rabies they like any other animal must be bitten or somehow some into contact with the body fluids of an infected animal. If they were infected they would not live long after that. The only way they can be born with it is if their mother is infected, but it must be noted that in this case the babies would very likely not survive.

Interesting facts about them

Raccoons store fat in their tails. This is why in winter when it is cold and food is scarce that their tails will often appear to be very scrawny.

The reason that raccoons so often get hit by cars is because when they are on the road and see a car bering down on them, will often see it in the same way they se a predator. Their natural reaction to a predator is to freeze in the hopes it won't notice them. it's often to late by the time they realize that this predator is not going to stop.

Raccoons have little in the way of sweat glands so to expel heat from their bodies they sweat on their hands and feet, but will also pant. Normally however they will cool of in stream. This is why they are nocturnal for the most part. In the summer it's often much cooler at night.

Back to main raccoon page