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Common Raccoon

Common Raccoons
Photographer: Gary J Wood

Common Raccoon

Common Raccoon Range Map
Common Raccoon Range Map
Native Range in Red, Feral Range in Blue

Common Raccoon
Latin Name Procyon lotor
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location S Canada to Central America
Colour Grey
Length 40 - 65 cms (16 - 26 inches)
Tail 25 - 35 cms (10 - 14 inches)
Weight 3 - 8 Kgs (6.5 - 18 lbs)
Life Expectancy

Up to 16 Yrs

Main Characteristics

Common Raccoons are widespread, medium sized mammals. They have a body length between 40 and 65 cms (16 - 26 inches), a tail length between 25 and 35 cms (10 - 14 inches) and they weigh between 3 and 8 kgs (6.5 - 18 lbs).

Their fur is long and it ranges from light grey to almost black in colour. They have a bushy tail that has alternating pale and dark rings and they have short, rounded ears. Their eyes are small and they have black eye patches which gives them the appearance of wearing a "bandit's mask". On rare occasions albino raccoons have been recorded.

Common Raccoons have 40 teeth which have been adapted for an omnivorous lifestyle - they are not as sharp as those of carnivores but the chewing surface isn't as wide as those of herbivores. They also have an acute sense of hearing an excellent vision.

They are agile and they are able to climb, swim and dig well. They can easily manipulate doors, lids and latches to gain entrance to livestock enclosures and rubbish bins. Due to this they are often regarded as pests across their range.


Common Raccoons are very adaptable and due to this they area familiar sight in a variety of habitats. Their native range is in North America but they have been introduced into Europe and they can be found in a variety of woodlands, prairies and urban areas.

They make their den in a tree and during the cold winter months they may sleep for an extended period of time, however they do not hibernate.

They are active during the day and at night and they are usually solitary but they will gather in groups in areas where there is a plentiful supply of food. Males have a home range that is 3 - 4 Kms (1.9 - 2.5 miles) in size, and the home range of females is 1 - 2 Kms (0.6 - 1.2 miles) in size.


Common Raccoons are opportunistic predators and they feed on a variety of things. They are omnivores and their diet mainly consists of berries, fruit, insects, fish, small mammals, rodents, bird's eggs, pet food and whatever they can scavenge from rubbish bins.

They sometimes rub dirt from their food before eating it, or if there is water around they usually rise it clean before consuming it.


Females find a sheltered site such as a tree hole, among rocks or under an outbuilding to build a nest, and after a gestation period of 60 - 73 days up to 7 young (usually 3 - 4) are born.

The young raccoons are ready to leave the nest by the time they reach 9 weeks old and they are fully independent at 6 months old. Females are sexually mature at a year old while males reach sexual maturity at 2 years old.


The main predators of Common Raccoons are humans who trap them for their fur. They are also preyed upon by wolves, mountain lions and other larger mammals.


There are many recognized subspecies of the Common Raccoon. These include:
Procyon lotor pacificus - western & central Oregon
Procyon lotor excelsus - eastern Oregon
Procyon lotor auspicatus
Procyon lotor crassidens
Procyon lotor dickeyi
Procyon lotor elucus
Procyon lotor fuscipes
Procyon lotor grinnelli
Procyon lotor hernandezii
Procyon lotor hirtus
Procyon lotor incautus
Procyon lotor inesperatus
Procyon lotor insularis - Tres Marias Raccoon
Procyon lotor litoreus
Procyon lotor lotor
Procyon lotor marinus
Procyon lotor maritimus
Procyon lotor megalodous
Procyon lotor mexicanus
Procyon lotor pallidus
Procyon lotor psora
Procyon lotor pumilus
Procyon lotor shufeldti
Procyon lotor solutus
Procyon lotor vancouverensis
Procyon lotor varius

Interesting Facts

Common Raccoons are also known as:
Northern Raccoon

Common Raccoons are a carrier of rabies.

Procyon comes from the greek words meaning "before the dog" and lotor is latin and it means "one who washes".

Similar Animals

Red Panda
Crab-Eating Raccoon
Mountain Coati
White-Nosed Coati
South American Coati


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