Raccoon Natural History
This animal can range in length from 41 cm to 75 cm and reach weights of 3.6 kg to 9 kg.
Habitat and Distribution
These raccoons live in deciduous and mixed forests throughout most of North America, however due to deliberate introductions and escapes from collections these animals now also inhabit much of mainland Europe and Japan. Due to their adaptability and opportunistic feeding habits they are also now found throughout many urban areas, especially in America.
Even though these animals can be expected to live for up to 20 years in captivity their wild life expectancy is on average only between 1.8 and 3.1 years.
Raccoons will feed on almost anything they can get their hands on including all plant matter including fruits and berries, insects, crustaceans, birds, eggs, small rodents and reptiles. In their urban ranges they feed much like foxes, raiding bins and even entering peoples houses to take food.
Groups and Breeding
These animals are largely solitary however related female animals may also live in small groups, which is though to partly give more security when the females have young. At the end of winter these animals mate leaving the females pregnant for around 65 days. In early to mid spring the females give birth to 2 to 5 babies called kits.
These animals are widespread throughout their range and their high numbers have left them being classed by conservation societies as least concern. However a lot of these animals are killed through hunting and through road accidents, leading to their very low wild lifespan.
In the German town of Kassel there are thought to be as many as 350 raccoons per square mile in the inner city areas, which is comparable to the populations in some urban areas of its home range in North America.
The Raccoon During Your Day Out in Kent
At Wingham Wildlife Park we have two female raccoons named Poppy and Daisy. They share an enclosure with four brown nosed coati, Ice, Bron and twin sisters Honey and Penelope, opposite the entrance to the penguin enclosure. The pair are usually up on their climbing apparatus relaxing, eating and scampering around. Our mammal keepers give a daily talk about them and the coati at 13:45.
Their diet here at the park is made up of dog biscuits and a mixture of fruit and vegetables but their favourite treats include eggs, honey and peanut butter.