|Common raccoon (or racoon)|
|Common raccoon |
native range in red, feral range in blue
The raccoon (Procyon lotor, common raccoon, or coon) is a mammal. Raccoons are curious, clever, and solitary. Originally from North America, they have spread through Central America, and live in various habitats. They have escaped in some parts of Eurasia (see map), and now live there as well. They are omnivorous. Raccoons are in the family Caniformia, and are related to the mustelids.
The raccoon's most distinctive features are its multi-purpose front paws, its facial 'mask', and its striped tail. Raccoons are noted for their intelligence. Studies show they are able to remember the solution to tasks for up to three years. Raccoons are usually nocturnal. Their food is about 40% invertebrates, 33% plant foods, and 27% vertebrates.
Most raccoons live in the wild. Being around humans does not bother them. They often nest in empty buildings, garages, sheds, and even the attics of houses. Raccoons do not hibernate in the winter. Those that live farther north, where it is colder, grow thick coats to keep them warm and spend long periods sleeping. Raccoons in captivity can live up to 20 years. In the wild, they usually live only 1–3 years.
Two other species of raccoon, the crab-eating raccoon (P. cancrivorus) and the Cozumel Island raccoon (P. pygmaeus), are extremely similar to the common raccoon. The crab-eating raccoon is quite widespread in eastern South America.
After a gestation period (pregnancy) of about 65 days, two to five young are born in spring. Newborn raccoons are called "kits".
- A raccoon climbed a buiding in Minnesota.
References[change | change source]
- MacClintock, Dorcas 1981. A natural history of raccoons. Caldwell, New Jersey: The Blackburn Press. ISBN 978-1-930665-67-5
- Hohmann, Ulf; Bartussek, Ingo & Böer, Bernhard 2001. Der Waschbär. Reutlingen, Germany: Oertel+Spörer, pp. 71–72. ISBN 978-3-88627-301-0
- Daredevil raccoon's Minnesota skyscraper climb. BBC News