You’re probably familiar with the raccoon. They look cute and cuddly, but they’re not the friendliest creature towards humans. Because you can’t get to know them, you may not know some of these fun facts about the furry creatures. Here are 5 things you never knew about raccoons.
1) Their ‘Black Masks’ Serve a Purpose
A lot of people love the fact that raccoons typically have a ‘black mask’ on their faces. These masks look adorable, but they actually have a purpose too. Some scientists theorize that the mask helps deflect glare. It’s also said to help with their night vision.
Raccoons are a lot larger than some people think, too. They can reach the size of a large dog, getting to 37 inches long and 23lbs. They’re certainly not as cute and cuddly as they seem in the media. Some people attempt to keep raccoons as pets, but it’s most certainly not advised as they aren’t suited for domestication.
2) They Can Live in Many Different Environments
A lot of animals can be found in just one country or area of the world. The raccoon though can be found all over the world. They’re native to North and Central America, Europe, and Japan. As they’re so adaptable, they can live in a wide array of climates.
They’re adaptable when it comes to their habitat, too. You’ll see that they often live in trees or caves, but they’ll make their dens in man-made structures too. They’ve been found in barns, abandoned vehicles, and more. Your attic or under your deck also makes an excellent den for raccoons as they’re safe and isolated for them.
3) They Make Human Areas Their Homes, But They Aren’t Social
You’ve probably seen raccoons living in areas near your home, and maybe they’ve even taken up residence in your home itself. Even though they’re happy to live near humans, it doesn’t make them sociable. They’re not going to tolerate humans coming near them, so you need to be careful if you see any in your home or yard.
Wherever a raccoon makes their den, they’ll look to raise their young there. They’re usually called kits and are born in litters of up to 7 at a time. They live in the den for up to 2 months, until they are weaned.
Another reason to be careful is that they’re carriers of several diseases. These include rabies, roundworms, and leptospirosis. This is dangerous to you, and certainly, to any pets you have in your home. It’s best to have the animals removed quickly if you see any around. You can learn more at humaneraccoonremoval.org.
4) They Have a More Varied Diet Than You’d Think
You often hear of raccoons eating human trash or leftover food, so it’s easy to assume that they like to eat human food. However, they actually only eat that kind of food when their usual diet is scarce. Normally, raccoons are omnivores and will eat vegetation and meat. They’ll often go for cherries, apples, acorns, berries, beechnuts, and more.
When it comes to meat, they tend to prefer invertebrates. They commonly eat bird eggs, frogs, insects, and fish. If they can’t get these foods, that’s when they’ll go for trash or roadkill.
5) They Don’t Hibernate in The Winter
Many think that like other mammals, raccoons will hibernate in the winter. This isn’t exactly true. Raccoons will sleep more during the winter, but they’re not exactly hibernating. They sleep rather than hibernate, living off stored fat as they do so. As they sleep over this period, they’ll lose around 50% of their body fat over time.
Raccoons are usually nocturnal, so they sleep during the day rather than at night. That’s why you’re more likely to see them at night or hear them moving around if they’ve made their home in your house.
There’s a lot about raccoons that you may not have known, even if you thought you knew quite a bit about them. They’re a hardy animal, living in all kinds of climates, and will make their home almost anywhere. If you see them, it is safest to not approach these wild animals. If you find a raccoon in your home, you’ll need to have them removed to keep you and your family safe — click here for more information.
Photos are by Jessica Loticus – All Rights Reserved
Guest Author Bio
Jessica is a student, animal rights advocate, and environmentalist. She is an aspiring journalist who focuses on how animal life is endangered due to human activity. Her work highlights how people can best heal their relationship with the environment and animals in nature. As a biology student, Jessica understands that the way humans interact with animals and their surroundings has a profound impact on the planet. Animals are directly endangered and humans must take responsibility if they have any chance of survival. Jessica believes saving animals begins at the home level. Most believe that animals have entered their home but in reality they have occupied the home from the animals in the surrounding environment. There are safe effective ways to take action against animal intruders that endanger neither the animal nor the human. Jessica wants to spread awareness about animal intruder precautions to save local wildlife.