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Yellow River Wildlife Raccoon icon

RACCOONS

{ procyon lotor }
While adorable, they are unfortunately considered the primary carriers of the rabies virus.

PROFILE

Toes is our only female raccoon and she came to us from a rehabber in Valdosta, GA. Toes was deemed non-releasable because she is imprinted on humans, which means that if she were released into the wild she would most likely approach people for food and this is frowned upon. She is one of the darkest raccoons and her eyes are the closest together. She is usually seen following close behind the babies, but not quite as active (unless the keepers are around). When the keepers feed the raccoons, they separate the food into 4 bowls and place them on either side of their enclosure, Toes is the first to figure out the bowls on the other side so she doesn’t have to share her food like the others.

Our male triplets were found abandoned by a woman in Georgia. Unable to find a rehabber that had room for them, she contacted Georgia DNR who were also unsuccessful in locating a rehabber with room. They decided to bypass the rehabber portion, deemed the triplets non-releasable, and gave them to us as their permanent home. Meeko is the darkest of the three boys… and the cuddliest. If you look at his tail, he has a “bullseye” on the tip of it. Always the first to wander off from the other two babies and do his own thing. Rigby has the most black on the tip of his tail. He and Meeko are the largest of the boys. Rocket is the troublemaker of our “gaze” and usually starts the raccoon “fight club” (where the 3 boys wrestle each other). He’s often seen hanging out with Toes.

OVERVIEW

Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary Least threatened
CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

Raccoons at Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary
AVERAGE SIZE

Compared to a 6′ Man

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AVERAGE WEIGHT

110 – 300 lbs

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AVERAGE LIFESPAN

2 – 3 Years

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DIET

Omnivore

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REGIONS

North & Central America

Common from Canada to Panama, raccoons have been introduced in Japan, Germany and several other European countries. Raccoons rely on vertical structures to climb and hide from danger. They prefer tree hollows and rock crevices to create dens. They will also use abandoned burrows or safe spaces beneath trees.

APPEARANCE

While they are the smallest deer in North America, they are still somewhat large reaching four feet at the shoulder and as much as 300 pounds. Adults have reddish-brown fur during the summer which fades to gray tones to blend in with winter camouflage. Fawns are born with spotted coats to help them blend into the forest floor. They are ungulates, meaning they have hoofed feet. Males can be distinguished by their antlers which fall off every winter. The undersides of their tails are white and displayed when they sense danger, maybe as a warning for others nearby.

CHARACTERISTICS

Raccoons can run up to 15 mph and can fall 35 to 40 feet without injury. They are considered the primary carriers of the rabies virus. Raccoons gather sensory data from their hands. Their fingers each have four to five times more mechanoreceptor cells than are found in most mammals. This sense of touch is heightened further when their paws are wet.

Raccoons will eat a variety of plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. Typically they prefer fruits, nuts, acorns, eggs and fish. They have been known to break into chicken coups with even the most intricate locks and fencing. Raccoons will increase food consumption through the fall and while they do not hibernate fully, their activity levels are greatly decreased and they rely on fat stores while not hunting and foraging.

Baby raccoons are called kits or cubs and are usually born in the early summer. Females have one to seven offspring after a gestation period of 60 to 73 days. As a group, a mother and her baby raccoons are called a nursery. At about a year of age, the young will become independent.

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