weights vary with habitat but an average is about
5.5 to 9.5 kg (12 to 21 pounds). They have black
facial colorings around the eyes, and have a bushy
tail with light and dark alternating rings. The
coat is a mixture of gray, brown, and black fur.
On rare occasions, raccoons may be albino. The
characteristic eye colorings make the animal look
like it is wearing a "bandit's mask.
subgenera and seven species are currently recognized.
Raccoons frequent timbered and brushy areas, usually
near water. They are more nocturnal than diurnal
and are good climbers and swimmers. The den is
usually in a hollow tree, or in a rock crevice,
an overturned stump, a burrow made by another
animal or a human building. Each den is usually
occupied for only one or two days. Raccoons
do not hibernate. In southern parts of their range
they are active year around.
are outstanding in their active use of their sensitive
forepaws in grasping, feeling and palpating objects
and surfaces. When is available, they will dip
objects in water. We believe that the sensitivity
of the glabrous forepaws is increased thereby
and allows the animal to detect greater sensory
detail. Studies of the relatively large sensory
hand area of the cerebral cortex support this
notion of the functional significance of moistening
the hands and objects.
omnivorous diet consists mainly of crayfish, crabs,
other arthropods, frogs, fish, nuts, seeds, acorns
ranges of adult males do not overlap, but they
do with the ranges of females. In the United States,
the reproductive season extends from December
to August. Mating occurs in February and March,
and births from April to June. Gestation period
averages 63 days. Litter size is one to seven.
Eyes open after 3 weeks, weaning takes place from
7 weeks to 4 months.
are common throughout S Canada, Mexico, USA (except
parts of the Rocky Mtns) to Panama.