We have five Raccoons and four of them, including Hill & Billy, were born here at the park in 2014. Luckily our masked bandits aren’t quite the trouble makers you think they might be but out in the wild they sure are!
They are extremely skilled climbers so if you are unable to see our Raccoons in their enclosure then try looking up on the branches of the tall tree inside it, you may see a bundle of fur balancing strategically on one!
Raccoons are found in marshes, prairies, forests and even urban areas across the United states, Canada, and Central America.
They are opportunistic omnivores and their diet in the wild can consist of plant based foods, seeds, berries, nuts, insects, fish, eggs, carrion, small mammals, small birds, mollusks and crustaceans.
Raccoons are nocturnal and rarely active during the day unless in dire need for food. They have highly dexterous front paws, ideal to get into dustbins and unlock locks in search for food. They are also great swimmers (though their fur is not waterproof) and like to wash their food before consuming it.
Raccoons are solitary animals, though mothers will stay with their young for the first few months, males play no role in the raising of young. A mother can birth between 1 – 7 cubs, each weighing between 85g – 145g. The cubs will then mature at 1 year of age.
Raccoons main predators are coyotes, wolves, large hawks and even owls.
Although not an endangered species, their major causes of mortality in the mid west include fur harvest, collisions with motor vehicles and disease.
The common name Raccoon is derived from the Indian word ‘arakum’ or ‘aracoun’ meaning ‘he washes with his hands’.
In winter Raccoons can spend weeks in their dens without eating. However they do not hibernate, they live off their fat reserves and can lose 50% of their body weight.