What kind of animal is a raccoon? An explanation of its characteristics, ecology, and habitat

North America

What kind of animal is a raccoon? They have an image of being violent and causing damage, so we will explain their characteristics, personality, ecology, and habitat. Raccoons are native to North and Central America, and are a well-known animal with a very stable population. They are the most widely distributed species of animals in the genus Procyon.

What is a raccoon? Basic stats

Raccoons are mammals classified in the order Carnivora, family Procyonidae, and genus Procyon. Their English name is Northern raccoon or Common raccoon, and their scientific name is Procyon lotor. Their kanji characters are 洗熊 and 浣熊. Their body length is 40-60cm and their weight is 2-20kg. The list of information is as follows.

English(英名)Common raccoon
Northern raccoon
scientific name(学名)Procyon lotor
classification(分類)Mammalia、Carnivora、 Procyonidae、Procyon


Raccoons are native to Mexico, the United States, and Canada, but have been introduced to other parts of the world and are now found widely throughout the world.

What are its characteristics? What does it look like?

Raccoons have gray-brown fur and black markings from around the eyes to the cheeks. They are often mistaken for raccoon dogs, but they are a different species. The difference between raccoons and raccoons is that raccoons have black horizontal stripes. The underside is gray or light brown, the area around the eyes and mouth is black, and the nose and chin are white. They live in forests and grasslands. They can be found in wetlands and coastal areas, as well as farmland, suburban areas, and urban areas.

What is their personality like?

Raccoons often live in rock cavities and are somewhat timid. They have poor eyesight and the antennae on their palms are very well developed, so despite their cute appearance, they have very aggressive personalities. They may bite or scratch you. They often forage near water in the evening and are very good swimmers.

What is their ecology?

Raccoons are omnivorous, eating amphibians and fish as well as fruits, nuts, insects, small animals, and bird eggs. Their breeding season is from February to June and they are polygamous, with a gestation period of about two months. They can give birth to 1-7 pups at a time. The newborn pups open their eyes around three weeks after birth and have a nursing period of 70 days. They are said to live for about 10-20 years.

Do they have any natural enemies?

Raccoons have no natural enemies, are omnivorous, and have a strong reproductive ability, so their very fast reproduction is a concern. Damage to ecosystems and living environments often spreads rapidly, and farmers are also suffering a lot of damage. They can also climb trees, so measures are needed.

Are raccoons an endangered species?

Raccoons are invasive species, but according to the Ministry of the Environment, they are not endangered. In recent years, raccoons that have become wild and are invasive species have caused many damage to crops, as well as problems such as living in attics and destroying houses. Some municipalities have caused serious damage to urban development, and there are instructions for extermination, so check the site map on the official website for procedures. They invade houses for disaster prevention, so measures such as capture are necessary.

Can raccoons be kept as pets?

Raccoons are designated as specified invasive species, and the purpose of keeping them is limited to academic research, exhibitions, education, etc. Therefore, ordinary people cannot keep them as pets. There is a high possibility of spotting them in various places, and if you see one nearby, it is dangerous to leave it alone. Depending on the location of birds and animals, safety measures are necessary.


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