have long been hunted and trapped for their fur and meat.
Fur hats, known as coonskins, were once very popular in
our country. Raccoons live throughout much of the United
States and Mexico. Because of their fur, they have been
introduced into countries in northern Europe, such as Russia.
are easy to identify. They have a black “mask” on
their face, a pointy nose, and black rings around their one-foot
long tails. They are the size of a small dog. Raccoons can
range between 18 to 30 inches long. They can weigh up to
46 pounds. Their toes or hands are long and are used to open
doors, hold food (which they will wash if there is water),
and climb trees.
raccoons will mate with several female raccoons; however,
the female will only mate with one male. Mating occurs during
our winter season. Baby raccoons, called kits,
are born about nine weeks later in a hollow tree or hollow
log. There are usually 3 or 4 kits born in a litter.
At birth, they are blind and lack their masks. Females take
care of the young. Kits stay with the mother through the first
winter season. After that, they leave to find their own homes.
Raccoons live more than 10 years.
Raccoons live in many places in the wild or close to humans.
They can build nests in logs, dens, empty buildings, garages,
or sheds. Raccoons can be found in forests, in towns, and
cities. They have bad tempers and fight among themselves.
The mother is a fierce protector of her young. They live
lonely lives and do not hibernate in the winter.
are more active at night. For animals, they have a large menu
from which to select their food. As you would expect, they
are omnivores. They swim and hunt for fish,
turtles, frogs, crayfish, and animal eggs. The will catch
and eat mice and muskrats. In the forests, they will eat insects,
young birds or bird eggs, nuts, and fruit. They tip over garbage
cans for food. They can raid a chicken house on a farm. They
will eat corn and other crops. They have even been known to
eat dog food!