The raccoon is the largest member of the Procyon family found naturally in north American and Canada, however they have rapidly spread throughout Europe and are now classed an invasive species because of their impact on native ecosystems. Three of the raccoon’s most distinctive features are its extremely dexterous front paws, its facial mask, and its ringed tail.
Raccoons are highly adaptive and intelligent animals, naturally inhabiting forests. They have now become urbanised, however, living very close to humans; they are also found in coastal areas, rocky outcrops and scrubland. They have become widely renowned as pests due to their tendencies to go through human rubbish and break in to homes for food. In America they can carry the rabies virus so are often trapped or hunted, leading to a wild lifespan average of only 1-3 years.
Their Latin name “lotor” means “the washer” hence them also going by the name of “wash bears”. They are nocturnal and are rarely active during the day, however when in dire need of food, they will venture out during the daytime. Being opportunistic omnivores, they will eat absolutely anything, seeds, berries, nuts, insects, fish, eggs, carrion, small mammals, small birds, molluscs and crustaceans to name a few
North America (invasive in Europe and Asia)
Woodlands and urban environments
1-3 yrs (wild), 10-15 yrs (captive)