Raccoons are easily identifiable by their fluffy, striped tails and distinctive black mask shape around the eyes. Don’t let their cat-like appearance deceive you, as they are capable of doing harm to properties, animals and humans. Adult raccoons are black, brown and grey in color, and grow to reach 15-23 pounds. Their average body length is 30-37 inches, with a 9-12 inch tail.
Raccoons are nocturnal, mainly active from dusk to dawn. In the wild, raccoons typically reside in wooded areas, often utilizing hollow trees as denning sites. They will travel up to 18 miles in search of food. Their curiosity, intelligence, dexterity, and climbing skills allow them to do quite a bit of damage to properties. These animals do not hibernate, but they can den up for up to a month at a time during the coldest months.
They are omnivores, subsisting on a diet of anything they can find. They will raid gardens, crops and orchards, scavenge trash bins, gorge themselves at bird feeders, raid bird nests and prey on frogs, crayfish and small animals.
Raccoons mate in late winter, with a 63 day gestation period. They typically have one litter per year of 3 to 5 young in the spring. Litter size will vary depending on the age and health of the adult female. We have encountered litters of 6 to 12 young on occasion. Female raccoons raise their young with no assistance from the male. A nursing female will not allow a male raccoon anywhere near her offspring due to possible predation. Once the young have reached 3-4 months of age, they disperse and live independently. At certain times of the year, such as early to mid winter, several raccoons may share a common denning area. This ceases during mating season, which begins late February or early march each year.
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