Raccoon: appearance and characteristics of the raccoon

Raccoon: characteristics and peculiarities of the raccoon

L’raccoon or raccoon it’s a small to medium sized omnivorous mammal belonging to the Procyonidae family. The Procyon lotor is native to North America and has become famous partly for his appearance, due to the black mask on his muzzle, partly for his habit of “to wash” food with the front legs. But let’s find out the habitat, character, appearance, coat color, weight, what it eats and reproduction of this wild animal.

Scientific classification of the raccoon

Source: Pixabay

This is the scientific classification of the raccoon:

  • Dominio: Eukaryota
  • Kingdom: Animals
  • Sottoregno: Eumetazoa
  • Superphylum: Deuterostomy
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
  • Superclasse: Tetrapoda
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Subclass: Theria
  • Infraclasse: Eutheria
  • Superordine: Laurasiatheria
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Sottordine: Caniformia
  • Family: Procyonidae
  • Subfamily: Procyoninae
  • Tribe: Procyonini
  • Sottotribù: Procyonina
  • Genere: Procyon
  • Specie: P. lotor

How many types of raccoon are there?

The raccoon has several subspecies. Among the most common are:

  • Procyon maynardi or Bahamian raccoon
  • Procyon minor or Guadalupe raccoon
  • P. insularis or raccoon of Tres Marias
  • Procyon pygmaeus or Cozumei raccoon
  • Procyon goveralieni or Barbadian raccoon (extinct)
  • P. lotor marinus
  • Procyon lotor lotor
  • Procyon lotor hiruts

The latter two are the most common.

Where does the raccoon live?

L’distribution range of the raccoon it goes from the southern part of Canada up to Central America in Panama. In the twentieth century it was also introduced in France, Germany (they have the darkest fur), the Caucasus and Japan. Some specimens have also been spotted here in Italy, which has generated a capture and eradication plan, as raccoons are very harmful to biodiversity.

Raccoons usually prefer forests, but they also adapt to living in mountains, swamps, along coasts and even in urban areas.

Characteristics of the raccoon and appearance

Source: Pixabay

The peculiar feature of the raccoon’s appearance is the funny one black fur mask around the eyes, contrasted by the surrounding white fur (and which is somewhat reminiscent of the masks of criminals). Without forgetting the tail with black rings alternating with white rings.

the ears they are rounded and covered with white hair. The coat coverage is rough and long, gray in color with brown shades. The insulating undercoat is 2-3 cm long.

The raccoon walks like a plantigrade. It is able to stand on its hind legs, but it does not run fast or does not make big jumps as its legs are much shorter than the chest. He is a good swimmer.

Unlike other mammals, it can regulate its body temperature by dispersing heat in two ways:

Come teeth, we have 40 teeth: 3 incisors, 1 canine, 2 molars and 4 premolars (per hemi-arch). His sense of touch it is very developed, especially the front legs are very sensitive and protected by a horny layer which becomes softer when wet. It has five fingers with no interdigital membrane and no opposable thumb.

It has good eyesight, but not in depth and does not distinguish colors. Use your sense of smell to mark the territory and communicate. It also has a excellent hearing, perceives up to 50-85 kHz.

How much does the raccoon weigh?

As regards the size, the raccoon is the largest of the raccoons. It is 41-71 cm long, excluding the tail which goes from 19 to 40 cm (average of 25 cm). The height at the withers ranges from 22 to 30 cm, while the weight ranges from 1.8 kg to 13.6 kg (average 3.6-9 kg).

This variability depends on the areas. The smallest raccoons are those of southern Florida, while the largest ones live in the northern areas.

Males weigh more than females, and raccoons weigh twice as much in winter as in spring.


Raccoon cub
Source: Pixabay

Raccoons mate between late January and mid-March in the north, while in the south they mate later. Females accept the male only for 3-4 days: mating lasts more than an hour and is often repeated.

The pregnancy lasts 63-65 days (54-70) and usually 2-5 puppies are born. Females can mate already in the same year of birth, while males the following year.

I raccoon cubs they are born deaf and blind, but with a black mask already present. The weight of a raccoon cub it ranges from 65 to 70 grams at birth. The eyes are opened after 35 days. Weaning begins at 6-9 weeks, which is complete at 16 weeks.

Behavior and habits

The raccoon is a nocturnal animal. It swims well, knows how to climb perfectly and can also dig underground burrows. He’s not exactly a solitary animal, but he has a particular social pattern. Related females often live together in the same area: each stands for itself, but they meet in places where there is food or in those designated for rest.

Males, both related and unrelated, form gods social groups male. Males tend to be aggressive with each other’s puppies, so mothers with babies are aloof. He is quite a crafty and intelligent animal.

Especially in its northern range, the raccoon goes in lethargy.

Diet and nutrition

Source: Pixabay

The raccoon is a omnivorous animal. It feeds on invertebrates, plants, fish, amphibians and rodents. She also loves fresh fruit and dried fruit, especially nuts and acorns. However, he tends to feed on birds or mammals only occasionally: it is much easier for him to catch fish and amphibians. When he has a rich choice of foods available, he tends to become selective towards the most popular foods.

Curiosities about the raccoon

Here are some small ones curiosity about the raccoon:

  • There is none difference between raccoon and raccoon: indicate the same animal
  • L’raccoon is called that because in captivity it has the curious habit of taking food and dipping it in water or rubbing it in the grass, as if washing it. It is not known why it does this, but for sure it is not to clean it, it probably mimics the search for food along rivers
  • The raccoon is not a dangerous animal for man in the strict sense. It is not aggressive towards people, but it can contribute to the spread of dangerous diseases such as Rabies
  • Raccoons can carry various diseases being vectors of numerous potential pathogens for humans. Among them we must include Anger and Leptospirosis. To these diseases we must also add the Baylisascaris procyonis parasitosis
  • The average life span of a raccoon in the wild it is 2-3 years old, but even longer-lived individuals have been reported in captivity, reaching up to 20 years
  • The speed maximum reached by a raccoon is 16-24 km / h
  • Predators natural species of the raccoon are the bobcat, the owl, the coyote and the eagles. However, most raccoons die from Distemper
  • Although the first abbreviation of Candy Candy misled us, Candy’s pet wasn’t a cat, but it was clearly a raccoon
  • Rocket Raccoon of the Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel) is an anthropomorphic raccoon. But don’t call him a raccoon, otherwise he’ll get angry and it’s in trouble

A raccoon as a pet?

Unfortunately if you were thinking of emulating Candy Candy and getting a raccoon as a pet, we must let you down: theraccoon is included in the list of potentially dangerous wild animals for man. It is therefore forbidden to keep at home any genus and species belonging to the Procyonidae, including the raccoon. This is unless you are a zoo or a research institution duly authorized to keep these animals.

If you really can’t do without a raccoon, know that there are many lovable ones raccoons plush, to keep or give as a gift.

Source: GreenStyle by www.greenstyle.it.

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