The raccoon, also known as the common raccoon or North American raccoon, is a medium-sized mammal native to North America. The species is typically characterized by its dexterous front paws, which are hypersensitive in nature, and its peculiar face mask; both of which have made it famous in folklore and popular culture.
Facts about Raccoons
Did you know that the raccoon is widely considered one of the most intelligent animals in the world? Studies have revealed that it has the tendency to remember tasks that it was made to do, even after a gap of 3 years. A compilation of more of such facts is given, with the sole purpose of making you well-acquainted with this animal.
This wide distribution of raccoons can be attributed to the fact that they can adapt to different conditions with immense ease. Owing to their exceptional adaptation skills, they are often seen in urban areas, where they are considered nuisance by the locals.
Their grayish coat with dense underfur is perhaps their most important physical feature, as it protects them from the cold weather prevailing in their natural habitat. Their peculiar face mask―along with their tendency to raid homes in urban areas―has earned them the title 'masked bandits' in urban areas of North America.
This variety in their diet makes raccoons omnivores, who are more inclined towards food that is available easily rather than hunting down live animals. Being nocturnal, raccoons are active at night wherein they hunt on animals smaller than them.
To a significant extent, their short lifespan in the wild can be attributed to predation by bobcats, coyotes, great horned owls, bald eagles, etc. Other than these predators, some are killed by hunters, while others die due to collision with cars in their natural habitat.
A baby raccoon is known as a kit. Kits open their eyes around 3 weeks after their birth. Albinism is also quite common in raccoons, with albinos having a weak immune system and short lifespan. Scientists also reveal that albino raccoons can be blind and deaf at the same time.
As we said earlier, raccoons are considered pests in urban areas and therefore, people often resort to various trapping techniques to get rid of them and repellents to keep them off their property. While their native habitat lies in North America, today they are also found in some parts of Europe and Asia, where they were introduced in the mid-20th century.