Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
The Zoo has three raccoons - Buffy, Xander and Willow. The raccoon’s coat is formed of two layers: a coarse, long-haired guard coat to shed moisture and an insulating thicker, short-haired undercoat. The raccoon is one of the easiest mammals to identify in North America. All raccoons have a characteristic bushy, ringed tail which has between four to seven dark rings.
Status in the wild
Listed by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as Least Concern in July 2011. Few major threats exist to the species as a whole. Regional threats do exist, however, and include hunting, trapping and poisoning. Commonly hunted for sport and trapped for pelt (made into coats, collars, muffs and trimmings). It is also one of the more common victims of road kill, especially in suburban areas and water bodies.
All across North America, excluding some parts of the Rocky Mountains, central Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Raccoons are also found in southern Canada and from Mexico to northern South America. Raccoons are found in any woodland with a water source near-by; rivers, streams, marshes,swamps and/or lakes. Raccoons can be found in urban and suburban areas as well as rural habitats, from coastal marshes to forested woodlands.
Raccoons are omnivores, feeding on whatever is most available during the given season. Their diet includes plant materials such as fruits, berries, nuts and acorns and animal materials such as insects, small mammals, birds and their eggs, crayfish, crabs, frogs, turtle eggs and fish. For raccoons found living in cities, garbage cans are a favorite target and they often feed on the trash.
- Raccoons may live 5 to 6 years in the wild and 10 to 12 years in captivity.
- Raccoons are very good climbers and can go down a tree both face first and tail first.
- During the winter, raccoons may sleep in their dens for weeks at a time, but they do not hibernate.