Common Raccoon

raccoon

Genus: Procyon
Species: lotor

Description:  The common raccoon is well known by people for its skillful attempts at stealing food from garbage cans in parks and neighborhoods. Raccoons are able to get food that other animals cannot, because they have nimble, almost hand-like paws that can grasp at tree branches, nuts, fruits and even, the lids of garbage cans. Most of the time, raccoons use their excellent grasping abilities to climb up and down trees.

Raccoons are omnivores, meaning that they will eat both meat and vegetables for a diet. They like grasshoppers, nuts, berries, mice, squirrels and bird eggs. 

Raccoons are solitary, except during the breeding season. They are also nocturnal, so your best chance of seeing a raccoon is at night in woodlands, wetlands, parks and suburbs. 

Raccoons have grayish-brown fur over most of their body and their tails have 4 to 6 black rings. 

A raccoon's face has several markings that help it stand out. The most noticeable marking is the black "mask" — large black markings around each eye. They extend from the edge of the nose to the lower part of the cheek. In addition, raccoons also have whitish patches on top of the eyes and around the nose.

Range: Raccoons live throughout the continental United States in woods, wetlands, suburbs, parks, cities and anywhere there is cover, food and water.

  • Fun Fact
    At the National Wildlife Federation, we love raccoons, especially our mascot Ranger Rick!  But do not get too close to raccoons, because unlike Ranger Rick, wild raccoons may become aggressive if provoked.

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