Young Raccoon

(Procyon Lotor)

Quick Facts

Adults can weigh as little as 2.7kg (6 lbs) in Florida, and one was recorded at 28kg (62 lbs) in Wisconsin!

Raccoons make more than 51 sounds, including "churrrs" "whopwops" and sounds like a screech owl!

The name "raccoon" comes from the Algonquin "aracun," meaning "he scratches with his hands."

Raccoons eat just about anything, but prefer small fish, frogs, fruit, berries and greens.

-Raccoons Like to Climb

Raccoons are found throughout North America, except in high mountains and deserts.

A raccoon's fingers have then thousand times the nerve endings than we have in our hands!


Raccoons are often called "little bandits" because of the masks on their faces.  With their masks, ringed tails and lush fur, they are easy to recognize.  Their coats are grey with black, white and brown areas.  Their noses are black and their eyes are very dark.  They have smRaccoon On Rocksooth, furless hands with agile fingers. They use their fingers and hands much the way primates (apes, monkeys, humans) do... to pick up food, to fish, to groom themselves and to carry things.

Raccoons are often described as being "roly-poly", but they are agile and capable of moving quickly.  They are talented climbers.  Their claws help them grip tree trunks, which makes for easy climbing. 

Raccoons rest during the day and are most active between sunrise and sunset when they look for food and explore.  They are very curious and intelligent.  On the mammal IQ scale they rank just below the monkey.  They are smarter than cats or white rats.

Raccoons are found almost everywhere in North America.  They like to live near creeks, ponds or rivers where food is plentiful.   They live in a variety of dens; they will use trees that have large cavities in them, hollow logs or large spaces among rocks.

Raccoons are omnivores (OM-ni-vorz) and they eat a variety of foods.  They enjoy small fish, crayfish, frogs, insects, fruits, berries and greens.  They often raid garbage and they love to raid gardens for corn and other things.   

Female raccoons are territorial (stick to the same area) and only socialize with adult males during mating season.   Depending on weather, they can mate any time between December and June, but the preferred time is February. 

Female raccoons are pregnant from between sixty-three and sixty-five days.  Most of the babies are born between April and May.  A litter can have anywhere from two to eight young, but the average is three to five babies. 

The young are born with their eyes and ears closed, without teetRaccoon Like To Sniffh and with very little fur.  By three weeks of age, their eyes and ears have opened and they have grown more fur.  By seven weeks of age, they have normal fur and are good at walking and climbing.

Mothers lead their young from the dens at about eight weeks, when they begin to teach them how to find food.  They nurse from their mothers until they are about sixteen weeks old and have learned to eat on their own.   Usually, young raccoons stay with their mothers for their first winter, when the family dens together.

[ more on Raccoons]


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Raccoons: Prepared for IWRC by:

Colleen Gignac, Ontario, Canada
Pat Isaacs, South Carolina, USA
MaryCatharine Kuruziak, Ontario, Canada
Astrid MacLeod, Manitoba, Canada

Photos by:

Jim Isaacs, South Carolina, USA