* Hair colored in a pepper-and-salt mixture. Black mask over eyes.
* Tail rings yellowish white alternating with black. Tail 8-12".
* Head and body length: 18-28".
* Habitat: Streams, lake edges, wooded areas on rocky cliffs. Builds
dens in hollow trees, logs, and buildings.
* Range: Most of the United States and southern Canada, except the Rocky
* Behavior: Raccoons are nocturnal and are active year-round. They are
omnivorous, eating fruits, nuts grains, insects, crayfish, and bird eggs,
among other things; they are often found rooting through garbage in suburbs.
Sometimes, they dunk food in water prior to eating it...but no one knows
why! Raccoons have variable voices; females twitter to reassure their
young, but both sexes growl and snarl when angry or threatened. They
mate in February or March in the north, and earlier in the south.
* Lifespan: 6 years.
* Raccoon meat is edible, and its distinctive fur patterns have been
seen on such celebrities as Daniel Boone, with his coonskin cap.
* Raccoons are expert climbers, and they plague farmers and
gardeners by eating corn and damaging crops. They are curious
and clever and have excellent memories, plus highly developed
senses of hearing, sight, and touch.
* Raccoons are occasionally kept as pets, but tame, cute, raccoon
pups become wild and unpredictable with age. They have formidable
canine teeth that can inflict severe wounds.
* New England raccoon abundances declined precipitously in the
early 1980's when a rabies epidemic raced through the population.
When population density is low, sick animals often die before
they get the chance to spread the disease. Currently, diseased
animals occur infrequently, and low-density populations "escape" the
disease, since raccoons who pass it on are rare.
Approved by NR