Procyon lotor

CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Carnivora
FAMILY: Procyonidae

30 lbs., 3 feet long (tail included)

From southern Canada to Panama

Hollow trees, wooded areas - also in neighborhoods, sometimes in towns

Wild - Fish, crawfish, fruits, vegetation, honey, snails, frogs, crabs
Zoo - Biscuits, fruits, vegetables, and meat


  • Very adaptable in urban situations and will raid garbage cans for food
  • Uses hands much like a human, can open doors, etc.


  • Enemies include coyotes, bobcats, and horned owls
  • Record raccoon weighed 49 lbs.
  • Toes not webbed; claws not retractile. Front toes are long and can be widely spread.
  • 4 pairs of mammae
  • Nocturnal; good climbers and swimmers.
  • Den is usually a hollow tree, but may be a stump, rock crevice, another animal's burrow, or a human building. Raccoons do not hibernate, but they do live off fat reserves during the winter and may lose 50% of body weight.
  • Well developed sense of touch, especially in nose and forepaws. Hands are used almost as skillfully as monkeys. Pick food up with hands and place in mouth.
  • Raccoons do dip food in water. The legend that they actually wash their food is without foundation, since they cannot distinguish between clean and dirty water. It is thought they may be adding moisture to their food making it easier to swallow or it may be merely an instinctive behavior where they drop their food in water and search for it.

3 - 6 kits. Mother is very strict, swats her young to discipline. They are very protective and will fight ferociously for her young.

Not threatened, lives well near humans; hunted for sport