Raccoons can live 3 years in the wild and are opportunistic eaters, feeding on anything from fruits to fish. They live in quite a wide variety of environments and can even call a section of your home their own.
Raccoons, known as Procyon lotor, are one of the most misunderstood creatures. While they are commonly associated with being dirty and destructive, raccoons are essential in the ecosystem. Here’s all you will need to know about these masked bandits, from how long they live to their nesting behavior.
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5 Raccoon Facts
Here are five interesting facts about raccoons you should know about:
- Raccoons can live for 2 to 3 years in the wild.
- Their lifespan shoots up to 20 years when living in captivity.
- While raccoons have five fingers, they don’t have opposable thumbs as primates do.
- Raccoons can run up to 15 miles an hour, more than fast enough to catch prey unnoticed.
- Raccoons have whiskers at their paw’s tips to sense their environment, “seeing” with their hands.
- Raccoons give their food a dip in a water source before eating them. Talk about hygiene!
Where Do Racoons Live?
Raccoons live near damp places, such as lakes, rivers, and streams. They can also be seen in wooded areas and forests, particularly inside tree hollows and a tree branch high up in the woods.
That said, raccoons aren’t picky animals. Rooftops, deserted buildings, and garbage cans are common locations for these critters to establish their den or safe place.
Where Do Racoons Sleep?
Raccoons sleep in nests called dens. Raccoon dens are often located in hollow trees but can also be found in logs, stumps, and rock crevices.
In urban areas, raccoons can find spaces like abandoned sheds, garages, and even dumpsters as cozy areas to house themselves. Unlike many other animals, raccoons switch dens frequently, usually moving to a new one every few days.
Can Racoons Climb Trees?
If you’ve ever wondered, “do raccoons climb trees,” wonder no more. Raccoons are excellent climbers. They have strong, sharp claws with nails that curve inwards, which helps them to grip tree bark with ease.
Aside from tree bark, these mammals can also grip brick walls, power poles, and rough fences. If there is anything that a raccoon can grab onto—even if it’s at a steep, vertical angle—it will most likely be able to climb.
What Do Racoons Eat?
Raccoons are omnivores and can thrive in wildly different ecosystems. In terms of their diet, they’ll eat just about anything they can get their paws on, granted it doesn’t threaten them back.
Their diet includes:
- Bird eggs
- Pet food
Do Racoons Eat Cats?
Raccoons can invade your property and eat cat scraps alongside your beloved feline, but they aren’t known to eat fully-grown cats. That said, smaller kittens may be at risk if the raccoon is hungry and the opportunity presents itself. The safest bet is to keep all cats indoors when raccoons are around.
Do Racoons Eat Chickens?
Yes, raccoons eat chickens, baby chicks, and chicken eggs. If you wake up to find your chicken coop filled with one or multiple mutilated chicken carcasses with their heads torn off and organs missing, the most likely culprit is the raccoon.
Do Racoons Eat Rabbits?
Yes, raccoons can eat rabbits. If you have pet rabbits on your property, you can enclose them in a chicken wire fence to protect them from being a raccoon’s nightly meal.
Do Racoons Eat Squirrels?
Just like other rodents, raccoons can swoop in and make a meal out of backyard squirrels. However, due to their agile nature and deft climbing abilities, squirrels are less likely to fall victim to a raccoon attack than other rodents.
Do Racoons Eat Mice?
Raccoons can eat mice if there are no other options available. They are opportunistic feeders, and the tiny house mouse is one prey that can fall target to these black-and-white pests.
When Do Racoons Have Babies?
Raccoons start breeding from January to February. By Spring, in either April or May, baby raccoons, called kits, are usually born. The typical gestation period of a raccoon is approximately 63 days.
A litter usually consists of two to five kits. Sometimes, a litter won’t survive due to the threat of predation, lack of resources, or unfavorable living conditions. When this is the case, mother raccoons will find a mate during April and can give birth to a litter as late as June.
Are Racoons Nocturnal?
Raccoons are nocturnal creatures. They typically do most of their activities when it’s dark.
Are raccoons out during the day?
In some cases, raccoons can be spotted during the daytime. This is often in fact the case when there are fewer predators out or if there are more food sources accessible. Raccoons may also be searching for a new den site.