Rocyon lotor

Range: Across southern Canada, through most of U.S. and northern South America

Habitat: Deciduous and mixed forest, but very adaptable and are also found in mountainous areas, urban areas, farmland, and coastal marshes.

Conservation status: Least concern

Northern Raccoon

  • • Need suitable sites for dens. This may include hollow trees or logs, caves, burrows dug by other animals, abandoned buildings, and crevices.
    • Typically nocturnal, but may occasionally be seen during the day. Good night vision and good hearing.
    • Adults are solitary, although sometimes groups share winter dens.
    • During the winter, spend long periods of time sleeping, awaking and becoming active on warm days.
    • Opportunistic omnivores, eating a wide variety of food items, including carrion. Diet consists of 40% invertebrates, 33% plant foods, and 27% vertebrates.
    • Most important sense is “touch.” They have hypersensitive front paws that are protected by a thin horny layer that becomes pliable when wet. They can identify objects before touching them with vibrissae located above their sharp non-retractable claws. They usually pick up food with their front paws before putting it in their mouths.
    • In Colorado, raccoons breed from December to June with young born in late spring. The gestation period is about 65 days. Before birthing, an expectant mother usually goes into a birthing den, prepared with nesting materials of bark and torn wood. Litter size varies from one to eight. The young are altricial, with ears and eyes opening in about 20 days.
    • Live up to 16 years in the wild, though are susceptible to a number of parasites and predators take their toll
    • Predators: bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, and great-horned owls

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