Raccoon Facts: What They Eat, Where They Live, and More
Previously, we’ve talked about raccoons and their potential to spread harmful diseases. There’s more to the story than just the diseases they can spread, though. In order to get a better handle on raccoon prevention, it’s important to know their habits and behaviors. Here are some basic raccoon facts that may help you better understand these uninvited guests.
Diet: What Do Raccoons Eat?
- Raccoons are omnivores. As displayed by their tendencies to go through garbage cans, nothing is really off the menu for them.
- Their preferred food sources in the wild are eggs, fish, fruit, vegetables, insects, and nuts.
- Raccoons aren’t really known as hunters, but they will occasionally catch and eat small birds, frogs, snakes, or mice.
- For roughly the first four months of its life, a baby raccoon lives off of its mother’s milk. Once it grows to a size of roughly one pound, it will begin to find other food.
Behavior: What Do Raccoons Do?
- Raccoons are nocturnal, mostly moving and eating at night. They don’t hibernate, but they are notably less active in winter than in spring, summer, and autumn.
- Mating season begins in the late winter, with females giving birth to litters of one to six kits in the late spring.
- Mothers are fiercely protective of their young for about a year, after which the mother and the young raccoon separate.
- In order to protect themselves from predators, raccoons live in groups of about four or five. This group is called a nursery.
- Raccoons can be very vocal, using over 200 distinct sounds to communicate with each other.
Physiology: What Do Raccoons Look Like?
- Raccoons grow to be about one foot tall and two to three feet long. Normal adults range from 15-25 pounds in weight, but they can be as light as 10 pounds and as heavy as 50.
- They live for two to three years in the wild, but in captivity they can live for up to 20 years.
Habitat: Where Do Raccoons Live?
- Raccoons are mainly found in North America. However, raccoon populations have been introduced in small numbers to Europe and Japan.
- They prefer wooded areas, especially areas with a convenient water source and plentiful vegetation. Dens are made in hollowed-out trees.
- In areas inhabited by humans, they can nest in attics, crawl spaces, sewers, barns, and sheds.
Intelligence: How Do Raccoons Think?
- IQ testing reveals that raccoons are smarter than cats, but not quite as smart as monkeys.
- Raccoons are also skilled at problem-solving, and are able to bypass several different types of locks and seals that keep trash cans shut.
- If they are near a river or pond, raccoons will wash their food in the water. In the absence of a water source, they will still attempt to clean their food by rubbing any debris off.
Hopefully, these raccoon facts will help you know what you’re up against. While they may appear cute, raccoons present a health and safety risk to you and your family. If you’re playing host to these unwelcome visitors and you need more than just a list of raccoon facts, give Critter Ridder a call today. Not only do we safely and humanely deal with raccoons, but we’re also the Central Texas experts in bats, birds, ringtail cats, snakes, and more.