Raccoons are intelligent and active animals. They are native to North America and they can be easily spotted due to their distinct appearance. These animals are infamous for making their den inside garbage cans and gardens, and they are accustomed to living near human settlements.
They are also known for stealing fruits and vegetables at night. Raccoons can be anywhere from 40cm up to 70cm in length, and they can weigh up to 22pounds.
In this article, we will learn about some of the interesting facts about raccoons so that we can better understand them, in order to prevent them from causing damage to our properties.
19 Facts About Raccoons
1. How long do raccoons live?
Raccoons live 1 to 5 years in the wild. However, they can live up to 20 years in captivity. Most raccoons die within the first year after they are born due to a lack of food or shelter.
A lot of raccoons are also killed by their predators, which greatly limits their lifespan. Raccoons are also hunted by humans, which further contributes to the shortening of their lifespan.
2. What do raccoons eat?
Raccoons are omnivores, so they eat both plants and animals. Their diet includes fruits, vegetables, plants, berries, nuts, frogs, rodents, insects, etc.
They also catch and eat fish from rivers or ponds. Raccoons are not very picky, they eat whatever food they can find in front of them.
This means that they eat almost everything that humans eat. This is why they are commonly found in garbage cans because they can rely on human food scraps to feed themselves.
3. What animals eat raccoons?
The hawks, owls, and snakes mostly attack the babies of raccoons, while wolves, cougars, and coyotes attack the adults as well as the babies.
4. Are raccoons rodents?
No. Raccoons are mammals. Although there are some similarities in the behavior of raccoons and rodents, they are not related to rodents.
Rodents are characterized by large front teeth that grow continuously to help them dig and bite through different materials.
Raccoons, however, have smaller front teeth and they don’t grow continuously, as they don’t need to dig holes or burrow through anything. Raccoons are also generally larger than most rodents.
5. Are raccoons marsupials?
No. Raccoons are not marsupials, they are Procyons. Marsupials have one distinguishing feature in common, that is, they carry their young ones in a pouch on their abdomen.
Kangaroos are one of the most well-known examples of marsupials. Raccoons do not have a pouch to carry their young ones in, so they are not marsupials.
6. Opossum vs raccoon?
Opossums are marsupials, while raccoons are Procyons.
There are some similarities between Raccoons and Opossums in their physical appearance, but they are very different creatures and can be distinguished easily.
Opossums are quite small in size, they can only grow up to the size of a small cat, whereas raccoons can grow up to be quite large.
Opossums also carry their young ones in a pouch or “marsupium” until they reach maturity. Raccoons give birth to their babies directly and they are nursed until around 8 weeks of age.
7. Are raccoons scavengers?
Yes, raccoons are scavengers and they eat whatever type of food they find, including dead animals.
They also eat garbage left by humans, which is why they can be commonly found in garbage cans. They are opportunistic omnivores, which means that they will eat anything they can find.
8. Will raccoons hurt cats?
Raccoons can fight with cats if they deem them competition or as a danger. However, raccoons generally don’t attack cats in order to kill them.
Raccoons are wild animals, and so if a cat is eating their food, or is living in the same spot as them, they can fight with the cat to scare it away.
On the rare occasion of extreme food scarcity raccoons may kill kittens for food.
9. Badger vs raccoon?
Badgers and Raccoons are both mammals, but they belong to different families and they have vast differences in their appearances.
Badgers belong to the Mustelidae family, while Raccoons are from the Procyonidae family.
Some people may be confused between these two animals due to their similar facial masks, but they are very different in their behavior otherwise.
Badgers are short-legged, and they have large claw-like hands to dig through the ground.
Raccoons do not engage in any such activities. Badgers have a short pointy tail, while raccoons have long tails with a ring pattern on them.
10. Do raccoons bark?
No. They do not bark. The sound made by raccoons does not have a specific name but it can be compared to a chirping sound made by birds.
Raccoons make a variety of different sounds including squeaking, purring, chittering, growling, hissing, and screeching.
They can also make sounds like mewing and crying. They can make over 200 different sounds.
11. Are raccoons felines?
No, raccoons and not related to cats, they belong to the Procyonid family. Other animals in the same family are Coati, ringtail cats, Cacomistle, etc.
Felines or cats have retractable claws inside their paw, a thick soft coat, and they make a mewing sound.
Raccoons don’t have paws but have limbs that they use to carry food and climb. Raccoons are usually gray and they have a pattern on their face that makes them identifiable, while cats or felines can be of many different colors.
12. Lemur vs raccoon?
Lemurs and Raccoons have some similarities in their appearance, and behavior, however, lemurs and raccoons are vastly different animals.
To begin with, raccoons are native to North America and they belong to the procyonid family, while Lemurs are only found on the island of Madagascar and are a type of strepsirrhine primates.
Furthermore, raccoons have a big head, while lemurs have smaller heads in comparison.
Raccoons don’t show a large variation in size among their species, while lemurs can vary in size, weight, color, and behavior based on the species.
Lemurs are omnivores like raccoons, but their diet is comprised of mostly plant materials, unlike raccoons who eat all types of food including garbage.
13. Do raccoons only come out at night?
Yes, Raccoons are nocturnal animals, which means they primarily come out during nighttime.
Some raccoons can also be seen during the daytime if there is a scarcity of food, or if they are searching for a new home.
Raccoon mothers often come out during the day to find more food, as they need to eat more to be able to nurture their young ones.
However, it is unusual to find raccoons out and about during the daytime.
14. How long can a raccoon live with rabies?
Once a raccoon acquires the disease, it will not survive more than a month.
The virus has an incubation period of 15 to 29 days, and after that, a raccoon will fall extremely sick and will only survive 1 to 5 days.
There is no cure for rabies, so if you see a raccoon showing any strange behavior, stay away from them.
15. When do raccoons have babies?
Raccoons mate in the winter or during spring and their babies are born approximately 63 days after that.
This means that raccoons give birth in the late spring or early summer. Raccoons usually reproduce only once a year and give birth to a litter of 1 to 8 babies each time.
16. How long do baby raccoons stay with their mother?
Raccoon babies stay with their mothers for 10 to 12 months. They are born during late spring or early summer, and they typically stay with their mother till the next springtime.
These baby raccoons, also known as kits, stay with their mother inside the den for up to 10 weeks, after which the weaning begins.
The kits stay with their mother until they reach adulthood, at around 13 to 14 months. After which they run off to find their own dens and food.
17. How high can raccoons jump?
Raccoons can jump almost 3 to 4 feet high. They are also great at climbing. Raccoons are excellent at crossing fences and jumping over obstacles.
They can easily jump over a puddle or a bush. They can also cover 3 to 4 feet of space vertically when they jump. So it is safe to say that raccoons are excellent jumpers.
18. What do raccoons do in the winter?
Raccoons do not hibernate during winter, however, they spend less time outside during the winter months.
They usually find a warm place to make their den and they live inside that place for the whole winter. They also eat a lot of food during spring and summer so that they can build up fat in their bodies for winter.
The fat in their body helps keep them warm and it also allows them to eat less food.
They sometimes go into a state of “torpor” which means that they become more lethargic and sleep for long stretches of time.
19. What are raccoons attracted to?
Raccoons are mainly attracted to ripe sweet fruits. Peaches, apples, plums, citrus, berries, and cherries will attract them the most.
They are also very fond of corn, and they are well known for destroying corn farms. Raccoons also like fishes, so if you have a fish pond in your house, they are likely to catch and eat them.
Raccoons are attracted to a variety of different human food as well since they are accustomed to living around humans and eating their scraps.
They also love pet food, so if you accidentally leave out any pet food, raccoons can come and devour it.
As long as you can keep a raccoon out of your property, they are quite harmless. These wild animals don’t cause harm unless they are absolutely out of options for food.
They will eat virtually anything. They not only eat dead animals and food scraps, but they also hunt for fish and other small creatures for their food. This is why they can easily come into your property and cause damage.
Raccoons are nocturnal animals, so they may be hard to spot, but it is not too hard to recognize if they are causing any damage. Now that you know more about raccoons, you can avoid them or easily get rid of them.