The raccoon is a medium-sized mammal that is native to North America. The Latin name for raccoon is Procyon lotor.
The raccoon has a pointy face and looks like a bandit with a black mask over his eyes. The tail is striped. In addition to the mask and tail, the coat is greyish. Raccoons can stand on their hind legs and are good with their front paws.
A raccoon grows between 58-94 cm tall and can weigh between 1.8-15.4 kg. Males usually weigh 15-20% more than females, but the weight varies greatly depending on the habitat and season. In the autumn, the raccoon weighs about twice as much as it does in the spring when it has accumulated fat. They store the fat for the colder season when the temperature drops and there is not as much supply of food.
The lifespan of a raccoon is about 2-3 years.
The raccoon is native to North America and can be found throughout the United States, except for parts of the Rocky Mountains. It can also be found in southwestern states like Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. Also in some parts of Canada, Mexico and the northernmost regions of South America.
Raccoons are omnivore and there are millions of raccoons in the world. The modern Latin artname lotor means washer. When raccoons eat their food near water, they like to put the food under the water and roll it around with their paws as if they are washing it.
They feed on small invertebrates, nuts, fruits, fish, bird eggs, frogs and snakes. Many raccoons are nocturnal, but it is not uncommon to see a raccoon out during the day looking for food.
Raccoons prefer to live in environments where there are many trees and water nearby. In the search for food, they have moved to other areas such as bogs, mountains, prairies and even into the cities.
A raccoon has its area it stays within but they also like to form social groups together with other raccoons where they often eat or rest together.
Raccoon females are only fertile for 3-4 days during the period from the end of January until mid-March. The female then often mates with several males. They usually only get one litter a year. When it’s time, the female seeks out a sheltered place where she can feed her young kits and create a home for them. The males do not help with raising the raccoon kits.
The female is pregnant for 54-70 days and often gets a litter with 2-5 cubs. They are born with a weight between 59-74 grams and are both blind and deaf in the beginning. About half of the litter survives the first year. In captivity, raccoons can live up to 20 years, but in the wild, hunting and vehicular injury are the most common causes of death. They are hunted for their fur and killed as pests.
Orphan kits can be fed with cow’s milk. If they become too tame among people, it can be difficult for them to then manage themselves in the wild. It is possible to have a raccoon as a pet, but it is forbidden in many places in the world. They should then be kept in a cage so they do not ruin the home and also be castrated to reduce their aggressive behaviour.