Procyon lotor

Author: Nessie O'Neil

Meet the Raccoon

Raccoon Classification

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Procyonidae

Genus and Species: Procyon lotor

A photo of a raccoon

Rad Raccoon Facts

A photo of a raccoon

Least Concern

7-20 lbs
9-12 inches at the shoulder

2-3 years in the wild

up to 20 years in captivity

The raccoon is native to North America, and while it’s original habitat consisted of woodlands, raccoons are now well adapted to living in urban and suburban areas. Raccoons are now invasive in Germany and Japan, their introduction to both of these places being caused by the release of raccoons being kept as pets.

The raccoon’s diet makes them one of the most omnivorous animals, due to it consisting of almost equal amounts of invertebrates, plant material, and vertebrates.

Raccoons are known for their intelligence!

Meet one of the world’s smartest animals: the raccoon! Studies have shown that raccoons are able to remember the solution to tasks for up to three years at least.

Raccoons can also be rather social animals, sometimes living in sex specific groups with males living together. The females are have been known to have a common area with other females, but aren’t quite as friendly towards one another as males raccoons are. After mating season, unlike some other mammals like foxes, a female raccoon will generally isolate themselves and raise their kits alone. A mother will care for her 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. It’s not uncommon for only half of the raccoon kits born to survive a full year. The biggest natural cause of death for raccoons is distemper, which can sometimes reach epidemic levels. Predators of the raccoon are bobcats, coyotes, and humans, with humans being the cause of around 90% of all adult raccoons. Although a raccoon typically won’t live long in the wild, a pet raccoon can live up to 20 years in captivity!

Raccoons have a wide home range extending through all of North America.  While they have thrived in sparsely wooded areas recently, this animal depends 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 as Pets

Raccoons look like cute little teddy bears, but they’re full of mischief and mayhem. You’ve seen pet raccoons trending on social media, but is owning one really what you want? Read on to find out…

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