How big do raccoons get?
Falling under the least concern IUCN Red List status, these animals are adapted to survive in diverse environments; from forests to marshes, prairies and even in urban settlements. This is so as they are known to feed on almost anything they come across. Their front limbs support dexterous paws and long fingers, same structure as the human hand for feeding purposes. These features make them distinguishable, apart from its facial mask. Raccoons are very intelligent as they possess a memory ability of up to three years. Incredible!
As stated earlier, raccoons feed on almost anything when they scavenge during the night, as they are nocturnal. Their diet ranges from invertebrate, vertebrate and plant foods hence referred to as omnivorous. Relating to their feed, an average adult raccoon is 16 to 28 inches long and has a body weight ranging from 10 to 28 pounds. Their ringed tail may reach up to a length of 10 inches long. However, male raccoons are usually larger in a size than the females. Their weight can reach up to 40 pounds with a three feet body length.
With a gestation period of around 63 days, females give birth to raccoons cubs which weigh between 60 to 75 grams. A single female can reproduce up to seven raccoon cubs at once. In a week’s time, raccoon cubs grow significantly and can add up to 196 grams to their weight and about 1 kilogram more in 50 days’ time. They reach full average adult lengths in their second year and live up to less than 10 years in the wild. However those in captivity have been noted to live up to 20 years.
Several factors influence the growth rate of raccoons. Raccoons living around human settlements tend to grow bigger as compared to those that live in the wild. This is due to the abundance of garbage and pet food.
In autumn, the most body weight is gained by raccoons which are lost during winter. An up to 50% of that body weight is lost during this season. However, raccoons living in the northern parts are larger than those living in the southern latitudes. Respectively, weight gain ability and loss during the autumn-winter season change is greater in the northern region as compared to the southern region.
Another factor that determines how big a raccoon can be is the age factor. Juvenile raccoons are smaller in size as compared to their adult counterparts. However, as noted early, male raccoons are bigger than the females.
The heaviest adult raccoon weight in the wild was recorded at 61 pounds while the lightest was 3 pounds. The world Guinness book however holds a 75pound record, although the raccoon was domesticated.
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How big do raccoons get?
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