Raccoons in the Wild

rambunctious Raccoon Facts
 
  • Raccoons are excellent climbers, but are also great fallers and can withstand a fall from 35 feet.
  • Raccoons have over 50 different sounds that they use to communicate.
  • Raccoons have 4x or even 5x more sensory cells in their hands compared to most other mammals.
  • Raccoons are closely related to bears, and in the past both red pandas and giant pandas were classified as procyonids.
Raccoon

 

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Procyonidae
Genus: Procyon
Species: Procyon Lotor

Raccoons have a wide home range extending through all of North America.  While they have thrived in sparsely wooded areas recently, raccoons depend on vertical structures to climb when they feel threatened. Because of that, they usually avoid open terrain and high concentrations of trees that are too smooth to climb. They generally sleep and make their dens in tree hollows in old trees and rock crevices, but if those are unavailable raccoons will use burrows dug by other mammals, dense undergrowth, and roadside culverts in urban areas. 

Raccoons diet makes them one of the most omnivorous animals, due to it consisting of almost equal amounts of invertebrates, plant material, and vertabrates.

 

Raccoons are known for their intelligence, with studies showing that they are able to remember the solution to tasks for up to three years at least, and are ranked as the tenth smartest animal in the world.

They can also be rather social animals, sometimes living in sex specific groups with males living together while females will have a common area with other females, but aren't quite as friendly towards one another as males are. After mating season, unlike some other mammals like foxes, female raccoons will generally isolate themselves and raise their kits alone. Mother raccoons will care for their kits for up to a year in some instances, and will sometimes also accept abandoned kits if they come across them. 

 

Raccoons live quite short lives in the wild, ranging from one to three years normally, and it's not uncommon for only half of the kits born to survive a full year. The biggest natural cause of death for raccoons is distemper, which can sometimes reach epidemic proportions. Predators of the raccoon are bobcats, coyotes, and humans, with humans being the cause of around 90% of all adult raccoons. 

Crab-eating raccoons are native to Central and South America. They resemble their cousin, the common raccoon, in having a bushy ringed tail and the "bandit like mask" of fur around their eyes. Unlike the common raccoon though, the hair on the nape of the neck points towards the head, rather than backward. 

 

As their name suggests, crab-eating raccoons eat a diet of crab, lobster, crayfish, other crustaceans and shellfish. They are still omnivores though, so they will also eat eggs, fruits, and even small amphibians.

 

Crab-eating raccoons have adapted a more arboreal lifestyle than the common raccoon, with sharper, narrower claws. They also appear to have a more streamlined body than the common raccoon due to their shorter fur and more gracile build, although they are similar in size. 

Unlike common raccoons, crab-eating raccoons are less likely to be found in human enviroments. Usually they are found ear water, and live most of their lives in trees. 

 

Crab-eating raccoons will breed between July and September, and will have their kits in crevices, hollow trees, or abandoned nests from other animals. Like common raccoons, males have no part in raising their young. 

Crab-Eating Raccoon

 

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Procyonidae
Genus: Procyon
Species: Procyon Cancrivorus

Photo by Foto Martien

Photo by Kevin Schafer

Cozumel, or Pygmy Raccoon

 

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Procyonidae
Genus: Procyon
Species: Procyon Pygmaeus

Pygmy Racoons are a critically endangered species with only around 250-300 remaining on the entire planet, and they are only found on a small island off the east coast of Mexico. 

 

They are marked similarily to a common raccoon, however, they are easy to distinguish due to their broad black throat and golden yellow tail. The main difference in appearance is their size though. Adults range from 23-32 inches in length, and weigh around 6-8lbs. 

They mainly reside in mangrove forests and sandy wetlands, however, they have also been seen in semi-evergreen forests and agricultural lands. 

 

Diet wise, they mainly eat crabs, fruit, frogs, lizards, and insects, with crabs making up over 50% of their diet. 

Not much else is known about them, and there are currently no laws protecting them despite being so close to extinction sadly.