Raccoons may have a bad rep when it comes to residential and commercial communities, however, these mammals are quite fascinating. Raccoons are medium-sized mammals that supplement their diet with fruits, plants, insects, and small invertebrates like crayfish. They are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and are active during the night. They are easily recognized by their two most distinguishing characteristics, their human-like paws and their black “bandit” mask across their eyes. Raccoons have dense fur that both, keeps them cool in the heat, and warm in the cold. Although raccoons are typically looked at as either nuisances or food, there are many interesting actualities to know about them. Read on to learn more about raccoons!
Just like bears and other hibernating animals, raccoons hibernate as well. However, raccoons only hibernate for a few weeks to avoid harsh and cold weather conditions, unlike other hibernating animals that sleep for entire seasons. Before going into hibernation, raccoons indulge in extra calories to store fat and stay warm in their dens.
Raccoons Live in Dens
Raccoons’ homes are called dens, similar to a fox den. This can be a hole in a tree or hollow log, or an empty burrow. They use these spaces to live, eat, breed, sleep, and even hibernate. Raccoons are diurnal, meaning they make their homes above ground and below ground. They do not like to dig their own homes underground, so they will often times claim an abandoned burrow instead.
Raccoons are Prey to Other Animals
Although raccoons are clever creatures, they do fall prey to certain predators out there in the wild. Raccoons are considered food to certain Alpha species, such as bobcats, coyotes, cougars, and sometimes domesticated dogs. Raccoon pups are even more vulnerable to predators. Unfortunately the most common fate that raccoons face is a busy interstate.
Raccoons Will Most Likely Not Give Rabies to a Human
Everyone seems to think that raccoons bite humans and give them rabies all the time. They are known to be vicious rabies infested animals, but the truth is that there has never been an official documented case of a person getting rabies from a raccoon. Movies, books, and stories paint a different picture than this for entertainment reasons. Raccoons are still wild animals and should not ever be provoked or touched, but it is not likely they will attack and give you rabies.
There are Six Different Raccoons Species in the World
To most, a raccoon is a raccoon, and they all look the same. Many raccoons do look the same, but there are different species with unique and niche behaviors and characteristics depending on the region they live in. The six species are as follows: The Hilton Head Island raccoon, Florida raccoon, Matecumbe Bay raccoons, Alabama raccoons, Eastern Raccoons, and the Chesapeake Bay Raccoon.
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