Each animal in the wild has a different way of living. This can include what they eat, how they find food, and what kind of habitat they live in. For example, some creatures are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and are active at night. The Procyon lotor, or raccoons, of North America, are one of these animals! So, if you’re wondering, “What do raccoons do?” during the day, they are likely asleep.
This is not the only thing that makes up a raccoon. There are a bunch of other characteristics and behavior that they distinctively possess. Find out exciting raccoon facts below!
Raccoons are nocturnal
As mentioned, raccoons are nocturnal animals. This means that they are awake at night and sleep during the day. If you’re ever out and about at night and see a masked bandit running around, it’s probably a raccoon!
Raccoons typically sleep for about 12-14 hours each day. They like finding a safe place to sleep, like in a hollow tree or a den. When looking for a place to den, they often take over an abandoned animal’s nest.
Although raccoons are nocturnal, it’s not shocking to see them during the day. If the weather is scorching, they may be more active during the day to stay cool. Also, if a food source is only available during the day, they may be seen foraging for food.
They have an opportunistic diet
Raccoons have been known to eat over 200 different types of food!
Raccoons are opportunistic eaters, meaning they will eat whatever food is available. This includes both plants and animals, which classify them as an omnivore. There are also times when they exhibit scavenger habits.
Many plants that raccoons eat include berries, acorns, nuts, vegetables, and other available vegetation. They also enjoy eating insects, frogs, crayfish, eggs, and small mammals. They have even been known to rummage through a dumpster or garbage cans in urban areas! And when you have a pretty accessible property, these animals can even eat your pet food and invade your bird feeders.
Raccoons hunt and forage for their foods
When foraging for food, raccoons use their sense of touch, hearing, and smell. They have very dexterous front paws that help them explore and find food. Raccoons will often dip their food in water before eating it to clean it off or soften it.
Raccoons are sneaky hunters. They have particularly expert forepaws that are as skillful as human hands. But despite their hands’ functional ability that helps them skillfully climb, they don’t usually do this. Instead, they forage on human leftovers.
Raccoons wash their food before eating
Although you may not think of them as clean animals, raccoons wash their food before eating it! They dip their food in water to clean it off or soften it.
Raccoons wash their food because of the nerve endings on their paws. They wet the food so they can get additional sensory information. When they do this, they can understand further what they are eating as it gets moistened.
They den in fallen logs, empty buildings, empty attics, and tree holes
These wild raccoons are solitary animals, meaning they live alone. These animals create their dens anywhere they want, as long as they deem it an excellent place to rest. These may be tree cavities, abandoned burrows, hollow trees, rock crevices, haystacks, barn lofts, and brush piles.
Your house would be a comfortable site too. They can den in attics, chimneys, crawl spaces, and storm sewers. In this way, they are nearer to various food sources.
They usually sleep in their dens during winter but do not hibernate
In the ecosystem, there are true and false hibernators. True hibernators are animals that can maintain their body temperature and heart rate at a low level. When these animals den, their goal is to survive off the fat they have stored.
On the other hand, false hibernators exhibit the same thing. The only difference is that false hibernation, termed torpor, turns out to be an involuntary response. These animals naturally get tired and sleep, while true hibernators decide and voluntarily fall into a deep sleep to survive winter.
In this case, raccoons are false hibernators. They do not truly hibernate but may spend most of the winter in their dens. This is because food becomes scarce and the weather gets colder.
Raccoons live independently after 12-14 months of age
Raccoons are born blind and helpless. They will stay with their mothers until they are 12-14 months old. After that, they will venture out on their own to find their home range. This is the time when these bandits are sexually mature.
Although they’re already physically mature months before sexual maturity, these young mammals still choose to be with mother raccoons since they’re incapable of families yet.
Raccoons’ mating season is from January to June
The mating season for raccoons falls between January and June, during winter. But different regions have different peak times. For example, in the northern areas, the mating season is from April to May.
During this time, male raccoons will roam around and search for mates. They would often follow the tracks of a female until they found them. Once they do, they mate with her and move on to another female.
Raccoons’ gestation period is 65 days
Raccoons have a short gestation period of only 65 days. Female raccoons only handle this alone because male raccoons leave right after the mating phase. After that, the female gives birth to anywhere from 1-7 offspring, but the usual litter size is 3-5 cubs.
Male raccoons are solitary
Female raccoons are known to develop more social behavior. They mainly live in groups once the child-rearing period comes. On the other hand, male raccoons are always solitary. You will only see them with others during the mating season. After that, they choose to live alone again.
Male raccoons are not as nurturing and patient as females. This is probably because female raccoons need help in raising their young ones. They need other female raccoons to teach their cubs how to survive and care for themselves.
Female raccoons give birth to one to seven kits
The female raccoon gives birth to one to seven kits, but the average litter size is three to five cubs. The babies are born blind and helpless, making them altricial. This is contrary to the precocial species born with their eyes open and able to walk and fend for themselves soon after birth.
Baby raccoons are very small, measuring only about 10 centimeters long and weighing around 75 grams. At birth, their bodies are covered in fine fur called “guard hairs.” These grow longer as the cubs get older.
The lifespan of a raccoon in the wild is around 2 to 3 years. Captive raccoons can live up to 20 years. However, their average lifespan is still 10 years. This is because raccoons are free from risks and dangers, especially predators. There’s also consistent and abundant food. So they no longer have to die out of starvation.
Raccoons are known to be carriers of certain diseases. They can either directly transmit it to humans or other animals. The most common raccoon diseases are rabies, canine distemper, and leptospirosis.
A rabid raccoon will exhibit unusually aggressive behavior. They will attack people and animals even if there’s no provocation. This is because the disease has already reached their brain, causing them to act irrationally.
Aside from this, raccoons can also host parasites like canine heartworm.
How To Deal With Raccoons?
If you think raccoons are already causing problems in your area, it’s best to call a professional pest control service. They will help you get rid of the animals without harming them.
This is important because some states consider raccoons a protected species. So you can’t just kill them even if they’re already wreaking havoc on your property. A professional can help you relocate the animals to a safer place.
And if you ever need help dealing with rodents, mice, gophers, and even bed bugs and termites, they surely can provide the necessary help.
Have A Raccoon Infestation Problem? Call Us Today!
Raccoons can be dangerous animals, and it is best to leave the job to someone who knows what they are doing. If you have a raccoon infestation problem, it is best to call a professional to help you. Call AAAC Wildlife Removal today, and we will be happy to help you eliminate your raccoon problem!
Raccoons are nocturnal mammals known for their black mask and bushy tail. They are found in North and South America and vary in size depending on their region. Raccoons are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. Their diet consists of fruits, nuts, vegetables, insects, small mammals, and bird eggs. But more often, they’re spotted rummaging through trash cans!
When you spot a raccoon, take your time to observe its characteristics and exciting behavior. Just make sure not to inflict harm on them! If they cause damage and nuisance to your house, better call AAAC Wildlife Removal to deal with them. To learn more about raccoon behavior and their natural habitat, click here: raccoon behavior.
Contact us if you have concerns about raccoons or any other wildlife issues on your property. Our team is experienced in wildlife management and can provide effective solutions to address the situation.