Raccoons weigh 10 – 30 pounds, although they can weigh as much as 60 pounds. A female is about 4 lb smaller. A raccoon’s tail is about two-thirds of its body length, and its hind feet are roughly the same size as those of a cat. A baby weighs about 1 lb.
- Average weight: 20 lbs
- Maximum weight 60 lbs
- Baby weight 1 lb
- Cozumel raccoon 7 lbs
- White-nosed coati 11 lbs
- Crab-eating Raccoon 20lbs
- Brazilian raccoon 12 lbs
How many kinds of Raccoons are there?
There are 5 species, which vary widely in size and coloration:
• The common or North American Raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) is the largest species found in most of Canada and the U.S., with a body length measuring between 15–58 inches (38–145 cm)
• The Cozumel giant raccoon ( Procyon pygmaeus ), also called the pygmy coati, is an endangered subspecies that lives on Cozumel Island off the coast of Mexico and measures between 20–26 inches (50–66 cm)
• The white-nosed coati or coatimundi ( Nasua narica ) measures between 15–32 inches (38–82 cm) long • The ringtail coati or cacomistle ( Nasua nasua ) measures between 13–27 inches (33–67 cm) in length
• The crab-eating Raccoon or tropical coati ( Nyctereutes procyonoides ), which is found along the Pacific coast of Mexico and Central America, measures about 18–29 inches (46-74 cm) in length.
• The Brazilian raccoon dog or cricetolo ( Metache canis latrans ), also known as the “South American coati,” is native to South America and has a body length measuring between 20-30 in.
The only species of Raccoon that is not native to North America are the crab-eating and South American species.
Raccoons are small omnivorous mammals native to North and South America. They are usually recognized by their black fur, “bandit” mask that covers the eyes, rings on their tail, and distinctively thick rear-end.
Raccoon’s diet consists of fruits, eggs, nuts, worms, bugs, fish, plants, and bird’s eggs. Raccoons are masterful climbers of trees — their front paws have long claws fitted into an arched pattern for stabilizing the animal on the branches.
The difference between a Raccoon and a Procyonidae?
Raccoons are part of the Procyonidae family, and there is debate over whether or not they actually belong in their own family. They have no close living relatives, and because they have so few traits in common with their other family members, some taxonomists believe raccoons should be placed into their own separate families.
How can you tell it’s a female?
Analysis of isolated DNA shows that the Raccoon is a relatively old species. It is difficult to tell the sex of a raccoon since they do not have any physical differences between the sexes; females are able to mate at about six months of age.
Raccoon’s in captivity can live up to 20 years. In the wild, their lifespan is usually shorter due to disease and starvation.
How can you tell if a raccoon is sick?
A raccoon that is ill will appear lethargic (slow-moving), have dull eyes, and lack interest in eating. If it suddenly becomes aggressive, stops eating, or becomes overly active, it could be ill. When outside their natural range (North America), raccoons are susceptible to diseases common in domestic dogs and cats.
How many babies can a female Raccoon give birth to?
According to Live Science, A healthy female usually has between two and five kittens at a time — but she can have as many as eight. In the wild, the number of kittens per litter is usually fewer than in captivity, where raccoons are fed and given shelter.
In nature, most Raccoon’s die prematurely from starvation, disease, or being hunted by other animals. In populations that are in close proximity to humans, Raccoons can live for several years.
Raccoons can run about 8–10 miles (13–16 km) per hour over short distances and 15 miles (24 km) per hour when they begin to tire. They walk or trot on their hind legs. They can jump up a few feet.
How do Raccoons get their food?
Raccoons have small, sharp claws for climbing trees and digging out grubs. Their long tail helps them maintain balance when standing upright. Their front paws are hand-like with five fingers on each paw; the “thumb” is especially dexterous, helping to open jars and cans.
Their hind feet have four toes that are designed for gripping surfaces such as tree branches, but they can move about on their back legs as well (see video). Raccoons usually find food at night when they are less likely to be spotted by predators.
Raccoons are very clean animals. They have an average body temperature of about 100 degrees and must cool themselves off by grooming with their front paws.
Raccoons eat many types of food, including eggs, fruits, seeds, berries, insects, fish, and even garbage left out at night.
Because raccoons are nocturnal (active mainly at night), they usually hunt for food alone. Each species has very different eating habits; some tend to catch frogs and crayfish while others dine on grasshoppers or mollusks. Raccoons also enjoy hunting small rodents like mice and squirrels for dinner! In urban areas, the staple diet is normally pet food that is available from bins kept outside homes.
How do Raccoons communicate?
They make a wide range of sounds, including screams, chirps, growls, and whistles. They also have an amazing sense of touch; they have been known to recognize people by the feel of their touch alone!
How can you tell if a raccoon is dangerous?
If cornered or threatened, a raccoon will often hiss (raising its fur), make popping noises with its lips, and flail about with its sharp claws — but threats are rarely necessary because most predators steer clear of these animals. They are considered one of the most intelligent mammals in North America. In urban areas, they tend to approach humans closely when begging for food, as well as show little fear of them.
• When Raccoons have babies, they carry them around on their chest with their tails over their back. The baby raccoons stay in this position until they are about a year old.
• Raccoons are very clean animals, and they will usually take two or three baths a day by washing themselves with their paws, which are like hands! They also love taking mud baths! This helps protect them from ticks and parasites that live on animals like dogs and cats.
• Raccoons make a variety of noises, from shrieking when they feel threatened to a low growl if another raccoon is getting too close!
• As well as eating the usual assortment of berries, insects, and worms, Raccoons have also been known to nibble on items like eggs, chickens, and even lobster traps.
• The female Raccoon has about four to seven cubs, which she will raise by herself. They start out as blind babies and then open their eyes when they are about four months old!
• A female raccoon is called a sow, and the male is called a boar. A baby can be called either a kit or pup, depending on whether you use British English or American English.
• Wild raccoons are often hunted for their meat, fur and to protect farm animals like chickens from disease. They can also be nuisance pests due to breaking into garbage cans in search of food! Some farmers will shoot them because they take the eggs out of nesting boxes on poultry farms. Raccoon skin is used to make clothing, and their fur makes excellent hats. It can sell for around $50 per pelt.
Raccoon Range & Habitat
• Raccoons are usually found in forests and woodlands, but they have also been seen living in the desert. They dig dens to sleep in during the day, which is where they raise their babies. The mother will only leave her cubs if she has to look for food!
• Where there is lots of water, raccoons are likely to live there too. This is because they enjoy splashing around in the water and will often sleep in a tree overhanging a stream or river!
• Raccoons prefer living near humans as long as they have enough food available. Their favorite source of food is garbage cans and dumpsters, but they have a very wide range of food and all kinds of different habitats.
Raccoon Status & Conservation
• The Raccoon is a common animal that has no special status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
• Hunting raccoons for their fur was at one time illegal, but it is currently legal in 44 states as well as Alaska. It was banned completely in five other states – California, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, and Wisconsin.
• Unfortunately for raccoons, humans are competing with them for their natural habitat! People build parks and homes where they would normally live in forests or near water sources! This can force the animals into towns and cities where they will eat garbage instead of berries and worms.
What is Raccoon Behavior Like?
• Raccoons are nocturnal, which means they are more active at nighttime than during the day. They will wake when it gets dark and hunt for food to take back home for their cubs.
• A bad odor surrounds the Raccoon’s mouth, much like a skunk’s defense mechanism. However, this is rarely used against humans and is more likely to be a way of telling others that they are ready for battle!
• When two raccoons fight, it involves a lot of biting and hissing. They may also roll around on the ground or even run up trees in an attempt to knock their opponent off balance.
• Raccoons enjoy swimming and will often go for long walks along riverbanks. They run across the water rather than sink into it as many other animals do!
• Raccoons are very playful creatures, and their intelligence makes them able to learn new things quite easily.
• People have also been known to let raccoons walk around on a leash, like a dog!
• When a raccoon feels unsure or threatened, it will often roll over and play dead. It usually breathes deeply until it is approached to ensure its enemy has come close enough! Once the threat is gone, the Raccoon will jump up and run away as fast as possible.
Raccoon Reproduction & Life Cycle
• Most female raccoons will become sexually mature when they are between one and two years old. The males, however, may not be ready to mate until they are three or four years old! However, this is rare – most male raccoons will start mating sooner.
• After a gestation period of about 65 days (generally about five or six months), the female will give birth to a litter of between four and seven cubs.
• These baby raccoons (called kits) are blind at first, but they grow quickly and begin to explore their surroundings when they are around three weeks old! They will open their eyes around 10–12 days after they’re born.
• The mother raccoon will teach her cubs how to search for food and where the best places are to find it. They can eat solid foods from five weeks old and will be weaned off milk at around two months of age!
• When a young male reaches maturity, he will leave his family group and move away to find his own territory. He will then mate with a female and make babies of his own!
• Raccoons can live up to 16 years in captivity, but they rarely reach that age in the wild unless their home has been destroyed by humans or another natural disaster.
Raccoon Senses – Hear, Smell & See
• The eyesight of a raccoon is very poor. Their vision is only about two-thirds that of a human’s, but they make up for it with an excellent sense of smell.
• A raccoon’s hearing isn’t too hot either, and they can only hear high-pitched noises if the sound originates very close to their ears.
• Raccoons use their paws to touch things, much like humans use their hands! They have very sensitive hands and can feel if an object is soft or hard, rough or smooth.
• When it comes to food, raccoons are some of the tastiest animals on the planet! If a raccoon catches hold of your food, it is unlikely that you will get it back unless the animal is still hungry. They have been known to smell food from over two miles away!
Raccoon Predation & Threats (Habitat Destruction)
• Humans are very good at destroying raccoons’ natural habitats and forcing them into areas where they don’t belong, such as city and residential areas.
• Humans also kill raccoons by accident while hunting other animals or simply because they are afraid of them! These deaths add up to the millions that plagues are responsible for every year.
• Raccoon populations have been known to grow at a high rate, and their young are often born in litters of one to five.
Remember they are wild animals and do not need to be fed.