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Raccoon Biology and Facts

Raccoon (procyon lotor)

Procyon = latin for ancestor of dog   Lotor = latin for washer

Closest relatives: white-nosed coati, ringtail, red panda

Males raccoons are 10/15% larger and heavier than females - moderate sexual dimorphism

The word raccoon comes from "arakun", Algonquin for "scratches with hands"

Range from Canada to argentina.

Length - 2-3 feet.

In FL, are active all year long, in north quasi-hibernate.

Coons in FL are smaller than those in the north or Midwest. In general, within a given species, animals living closer to the equator are smaller. In central FL, most adults weigh between 8 and 15 pounds. In the Midwest, they grow as large as 30-40 pound.

Adaptable, versatile; allowing flourishing across multitude of environments, and quicky changing environments. Swim,climb, dig(although rare).

Humped posture - due to hind legs being longer than front legs

Very bad idea to keep one as a pet.

During the breeding season, which is extended in FL Jan-June, with a peak in feb, march… the mother finds a den to keep her litter - usually 3-5. The mother raccoon will protect the den, only leaving to get food. The kits are born with fur and with eyes that will stay closed until about 3 weeks old. The kits don't leave the den until they are 8-12 weeks old. Den in hollow tree, manmade structure, wherever the mother thinks the den will be left alone including from other raccoon.

Feeding - omnivore, opportunistic - berries, fruits, plants, fish, crabs, beetles, mice, and carrion.

Less than 1% of wild raccoons lives for seven years in the wild (but can live up to 16 years), most die around 2 years. Automobiles is the greatest cause of death amongst adults.

Raccoon image

In the United States, raccoons are largest in the north where they need the extra fat stores to make it through the winter.



Florida raccoons are smaller, but can still achieve a weight of 20 lbs.


Raccoons are hostile to the infants of other raccoons. This is the main driving force for raccoon mothers to seek out attics to give birth.


Raccoons are not rodents. Rodents include rats, squirrels, etc. Rodents chew and gnaw all the time. Raccoons do not exhibit this behavior.


Raccoons, unlike the other animals we deal with, will almost always do damage to the home to get in. Rats, squirrels, opossums, and cats generally get into the attic through openings or vulnerable areas of the home that have existed since it was built.


We find raccoons birth their litter in Florida from February through October. During the peak months of March through July, almost ALL raccoon in attic jobs involve a mother with young.
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