1. The raccoon is a carnivorous mammal belonging to the Procyonidae family.
2. Raccoons live all throughout North America. There are six species of raccoon in North America. You can find them in the wilderness, the country, and even in the middle of the city. They are very adaptable. Cities and communities are having problems with the raccoon. They damage property, tip over garbage cans, dig up gardens and sometimes take up residence in attics and sheds. As people move into and take over the raccoons’ natural habitat, the raccoon becomes a pest because they continue to live there also. One main problem is that raccoons are often carriers of parasites and diseases, including rabies.
3. The common raccoon is about the size of a small dog. The coloring of a raccoon can vary greatly, from a light blonde color, to a deep black, and shades from red and brown in between. The tail has rings that contrast the shade of the rest of its body. Their most telltale feature is a black mask around their eyes. This mask is always a darker color than the rest of his fur.
4. The record life span for a captive raccoon is 21 years. Raccoons may live up to 16 years in the wild.
5. Raccoons live is trees, hollowed out tree trunks, caves and barns and sheds.
6. Raccoon are omnivorous. That’s a fancy way of saying that they will eat anything. Some of their favorite things are frogs, fish, crayfish, nuts and berries and garbage.
7. Raccoons generally have one litter per year. The baby raccoons are called kits. Litter sizes range from one to eight young, with three to four the most common. At birth both the ear and eye canals are closed and open after 18 to 24 days. By the fourth or sixth week the young are able to support their weight with their legs. Females care for their young for about a year, even though the young are weaned and begin hunting for food at about two or three months.
8. Fish, crayfish, mice, frogs, birds, eggs, and honey are all part of a raccoon’s natural diet. It looks like raccoons wash their food sometimes before they eat it. Really they are just getting it wet so it will be easier to eat. The paws of a raccoon are very flexible and can open almost anything. The raccoon is also an excellent runner, swimmer, climber and acrobat.
9. The average size of an adult raccoon is approximately 20 - 45 lbs. They range in length from 16 - 25 inches, with an additional 12 - 14 inches for their tail. Females are typically smaller than males. A raccoon weighing well over fifty pounds has been recorded.
10. The raccoon looks cute and cuddly, but a wild raccoon can be fierce and dangerous. They are able to defend themselves against much larger animals. Sharp teeth, sharp claws, strength and agility all make the raccoon a survivor.