Common Name Common Raccoon, North American Raccoon, Northern Raccoon
Range North America
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Family Procyonidae
Genus Procyon
Species Procyon lotor
Conservation Status
Least Concern

The Raccoon is a specie from the Procyon genus.


Raccoons are 23-30 centimeters (9-11.8 inches) high at the shoulder, have a head and body length of 41-71 centimeters (16.1-27.9 inches), have a 20-41 centimeter (7.9-16.1 inch) long tail, and weigh 11.9-34.8 pounds (5.4-15.8 kilograms). All raccoons have a dark mask across their eyes to help with night vision.


Raccoons are generally nocturnal, though, during the winter, they sleep both day and night, except for days of cool weather. One of the most adaptable of all North American mammals, the range and population of the raccoon have spread along human settlement; they often nest in empty buildings, garages, sheds, and even the attics of houses.

Raccoons are largely solitary. They are temperamental and will often fight with other raccoons.


A raccoon's diet consists of small mammals, frogs, eggs, insects, spiders, worms, crayfish, birds, fruit, and nuts. In areas heavily populated by humans, raccoons will frequently knock over garbage cans while scavenging for food. Some raccoons, usually captive ones, dip their food into water to moisten it or to remove debris from it. This is where the raccoon gets its Latin name, Procoyon Lotor", which means "one who washes".


The raccoon's mating season is usually in winter, peaking in February through March, but can continue until June. Males mate with different females; however, the female will mate with only one male, avoiding all other males. After mating the female makes a nest of leaves inside a hollow tree or log. After a 60-73 day gestation period, the kits are born. A raccoon can have 1-7 kits per litter, but, usually, 3-4. For the first three weeks of their lives, the kits are blind, but grow quickly. The mother cares for the kits exclusively, and he no help from the male teaching the young to hunt and to climb trees and other skills they will need for survival.

The kits normally stay with their mother through their first winter, then gradually leave. Female raccoons reach sexual maturity when they are a year old; the males generally begin around the age of 2 years. Raccoons live for 1.8 - 3.1 years in the wild, and live longer in captivity.


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.