About Raccoon: Appearance, Biology, Life Cycle, Habitat, Diet, Behavior

Raccoons are one of many wild animals that seem cute at first, but can cause a great deal of destruction to your home and property. Whether there are raccoons near your home or actually within it, you will find it much easier to take care of them once you understand their life cycle, diet, and habitat, as all of these factors play a role in their decision to call your property home. Only by understanding the instincts behind the raccoon's actions will you be able to effectively get it off your property and keep it away.

Raccoons can have fur that is anywhere from brown to gray. Their most identifying characteristic is the black mask that surrounds their eyes and is outlined by white fur. Raccoons will also have a strip between their nose and forehead as well as additional white fur by their nose. Each of a raccoon's black paws has five toes and appears similar to human hands. This animal has toes which are flexible, making them great for pulling items apart, holding things, or grabbing. This is also what helps raccoons climb so well. The tail on a raccoon is bush and ringed in appearance.

Raccoons fur is in a thick layer, which allows them to stay warm during cold winter months. A typical raccoon will measure about 70 centimeters (27.5 inches) from the edge of their tail to their nose, although they can range anywhere from 23.75 to 37.5 inches. When fully grown, raccoons get quite large, weighing up to 23 pounds although they can also be as small as 4 pounds.

Raccoons are considered mammals and are omnivores. Their scientific name is Procyon lotor and they are native throughout the majority of North America. In recent years, raccoons have begun to be found in portions of Japan and Europe.

Life Cycle
Raccoons only find a partner during their breeding season, with the mating taking place sometime between January and June. Despite this wide range, the peak mating time is during March and April. A mother raccoon is pregnant for 65 days, after which she will give birth to between one and seven kits. Baby and young adult raccoons tend to have darker fur than adults. These kits will stay in their den with their mother until they reach seven weeks. At this point, they should be able to climb, run, and walk.

When the kits reach eight to ten weeks, they will start to go with their mother on her foraging adventures and collect food for themselves. At 12 weeks, they begin roaming by themselves, frequently traveling alone for several nights in a row before going back to their mothers. Kits tend to leave their mothers during early spring to find their own homes, after spending the winter safely with her.

The life expectancy of a racoon varies greatly based on whether it is in the wild or in captivity. They can live to 13 in captivity, but the average wild raccoon will only reach two or three years old. Young raccoons are most likely to die of starvation during colder months. Other factors that can kill raccoons of all ages include predation, starvation, disease, hunting, and being hit by vehicles. Young raccoons may be attacked by large eagles or dogs, while domestic dogs, coyotes, bobcats, and cougars prey on raccoons of all ages.

When available, raccoons prefer to live in wooded areas that are close to water. They have been known to have a home range of 18 miles in which they search for food in the wild, but this is typically smaller (about one mile) in urban areas. As raccoons are highly adaptable, they can live in prairies, marshes, and forests. In cities, they are frequently found in abandoned vehicle, homes, chimneys, attics, crawlspaces, and any other den that meets their requirements. It is not uncommon for raccoons to change their rest sites every several days, with the exception of when they have babies with them. It is possible that multiple raccoons will share a den during the colder months.

Raccoons are known for eating nearly any type of food they find. In the wild, they enjoy water creatures such as snails, fish, frogs, and clams. They will also eat fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, bird eggs, dead animals, slugs, and insects. While they aren't the best hunters, raccoons are capable of catching rats, mice, squirrels, and gophers to supplement their diet. As they are opportunistic eaters, they will also eat pet food or trash when in urban areas.

This wild animals is nocturnal in nature, typically spending the day in their den and going out to hunt and scavenge at night. They will also usually spend their time alone, except sometimes during the winter months. The other exception to this rule is baby raccoons and their mothers. Raccoons can make many different sounds, such as snarls, growls, screams, whistles, and hisses and can walk, run, or swim during their foraging.

Read the How to get rid of raccoons page for helpful information and to learn more about About Raccoon: Appearance, Biology, Life Cycle, Habitat, Diet, Behavior

Raccoons belong to the Procynide family. They are small mammals that thrive on trees but have evolved to survive on ground. They are found all throughout North and South America, especially at the north woods of Canada and the swamps of the Amazon.

Appearance of Raccoons

The color of the Raccoon’s body is composed of gray, black and brown. The area around the eyes is colored black that looks like a mask. The tail of the raccoon is a combination of white, gray and black. It has small paws that are used for finding food. It has a long and pointed snout, and a black nose.


Male raccoons are loners. They prefer to be alone and away from other raccoons. However, they do allow female raccoons to go into their territory, especially during mating season. After birth, baby raccoons are able to stand when they are four to six weeks old. It is the mother that teachers her offspring to climb trees, hunt food, and other skills required to survive in the wild. Mother raccoons are protective and save their babies from predators. Raccoons don’t go into hibernation, but they do consume a lot of food during autumn to prepare for the coming winter.

Raccoon Life Cycle

Mating season only occurs during spring, and the offspring is born after several months. Baby raccoons stay with their mother for a year, until the next mating season arrives. A litter is usually about three to seven raccoons.

Habitat of Raccoons

Raccoons used to live exclusively in the tropics where they forage along the riverbanks of the Amazon. However, they have moved towards North America and managed to adapt to the new surroundings. Aside from the frogs and crustaceans along the riverbanks, they are also looking for food on ground.

At present, you can even find raccoons in urban areas. They managed to flourish in large cities because hunting and trapping are not allowed. There are also no predators in the city, and raccoons get lots of food from scraps.


When it comes to the raccoon’s diet, they are omnivores. They prefer crabs, frogs, fishes, and crustaceans. However, they can also eat berries, nuts, larvae, worms, and bugs. They hunt during the night and look for food within their territory. The raccoon’s territory depends on the availability of food. They can expand the territory if they can’t find food near their home.

When they live in urban places, raccoons are known to target trash cans to look for leftovers. They pick through landfills and garbage bins that result to messes, and that’s why they are considered as pests. And if they can’t find food in the trash bins, they might enter into homes to find human or pet foods.

Raccoons are intelligent animals. However, you should not treat them as pets. If you find raccoons within your home or building, contact a wildlife removal company right away. They can remove the animal from your property, and bring them back to their natural habitat. Read the How to get rid of raccoons page or these other pages:
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