Raccoon-The Ringtail Mammal

December 07, 2021 3 min read

Raccoon-The Ringtail Mammal

Procyon lotor raccoons are known as ring tails as they are from those nocturnal mammals that have bushy tails. Raccoon belongs to the family Procyonidae. Raccoons are one of the curious and intelligent mammals. Racoon is a plantigrade mammal.

General Characteristics:

Body Color:

Racoon has a dense grayish coat with brownish overtones, and their location also governs their fur color. The underfur protects them from harsh cold winters.

They have a specific black facial mask around the eyes and about ten black bands along the tail.

Body Size and Body Weight:

Raccoons have an average body size of about 37.5 inches, and the average body weight is around 23 pounds.

Legs and Paws:

The legs are shorter, and the front legs are hairless. The shorter legs don’t let them jump over great distances and run quickly.

The raccoon's front paws have a horny layer that is hyper-sensitive. They scratch their backs with their paws. They have a well-developed sense of touch.

Eyes and Ears:

The "bandit's mask"reduces the glare. They have smaller eyes and have a poor long vision. Raccoons are considered to be color blind but can see green color efficiently.

They have small erect ears and can easily sense quiet noises and tones of frequency 50–85 kHz. The ears are also guarded by white fur.

Life span:

The average life span is around 2 or 3 years in a wild environment. While in captivity, they can live up to 20 years.

Speed:

Their tiny paws limit their speed to 16 to 24 km/h. Raccoons can also swim in the water and stay in water for hours. Their speed in water is 5km/h.

Habitat:

Raccoons are found in marshes, prairies, and forests. They mainly inhabit the wooden areas and can also be found in water proximity. 

They live in a den, and a tree hole, a house's attic, or rock crevices or fallen logs are the perfect denning site. Their denning behavior is also helpful in winters when they face a food shortage; they become dormant and spend time in the den. Raccoons are nocturnal mammals.

Distribution:

They are mostly distributed in North America and South America. However, they are also present in Germany, Japan, Italy, Azerbaijan, northern Argentina, Caucasus, northern Canada.

Diet:

Raccoons are omnivores, and their diet may consist of 

  • Crayfish
  • Plant matter
  • Rodents
  • Fruits
  • Crops
  • Frogs
  • Crabs
  • Mice
  • Corns
  • Melons
  • Insects 
  • Eggs

Life Cycle:

Early spring is the mating season. The gestation period is about 73 days. The female produces 4 to 7 young ones and takes great care of them for one year. Kits are deaf and blind at birth. The weight of young ones at birth is 75g, and their size is just 10cm.

Predators or Diseases:

Raccoons also face threats in the wild from the predators such as,

  • Coyote
  • Mountain lions
  • Bobcats
  • Humans

Diseases like rabies, parvovirus, canine distemper are also the reason for reducing their population. 

Coon Hunting (How to Hunt Raccoons):

The practice of hunting raccoons is called coon or raccoon hunting. Racoon hunting is mainly done at night with trained dogs; the trained dogs are coonhounds.

Six specific breeds of coonhounds are trained, and these breeds are,

  1. Black and Tan Coonhound
  2. English Coonhound
  3. Redbone Coonhound
  4. Bluetick Coonhound
  5. Plott Hound
  6. Treeing Walker Coonhound

Tips for Raccoon Hunting:

Raccoons mostly hunt for meat and fur. Follow the following tips for successful hunting.

  • Check the regulations. Different states have different regulations and have different raccoon hunting seasons.
  • Choose the right equipment (gun with the right caliber).
  • Hunt raccoons at night as raccoons are nocturnal, and their night blindness is also helpful for you.
  • Locate the area where they feed, the place with fruits, nuts, and the areas close to water.
  • Use different baits to attract them as they eat almost everything. You can use pet food, eggs to attract them.

Get ready to go on a raccoon hunt to have your fur coats for the chilly winters!!


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