Are Raccoon Scavengers

Raccoons: From Scavengers To Predators

Raccoon attacks are a growing menace in North America, particularly in Vancouver, Canada, where raccoons seem to have learned to hunt for prey. These original scavengers now appear to be mimicking a hunting strategy commonly associated with hyenas. In Vancouver, the list of attacks from raccoons are growing yearly, with advice from local authorities as well as animal experts seemingly unable to avert the alarming trend.

In a Global News report about a raccoon attack against a woman and her dogs in December of last year, Randy Celinski, the owner and president of AAA Wildlife Control, said that the attacking animal was most likely sick, possibly from rabies.

Celinski added, “Raccoons are prone to aggressive behavior during mating season which runs from mid-December to May. There are steps you can take, especially during that period, to ensure you and your pets safety…not to walk near any bushed areas or areas where wild animals may be hiding, whether it be a skunk or a raccoon..If they are approached by a human or a dog, for example, then they may be in more of an attack mode.”

Following the wildlife control expert’s advice could have prevented similar attacks by raccoons in New Jersey and in Henrico, Virginia, the Inquisitr previously reported in two separate articles. In any case, the raccoon in question may be either sick from rabies or startled by a garden visitor. However, for the city of Vancouver, raccoons on the rampage seem to be more and more motivated by a mixture of natural evolution and learned behavior.

Celinski shed’s light on how this development might have come about in the city.

“The primary reason why raccoons are not afraid to approach is residents and tourists feeding them. They become more accustomed to people, not afraid of people and almost looking to people for free handouts.”

This will explain why even during the summer, when the mating season is not the issue for raccoon aggression in Vancouver, raccoons are known to attack humans particularly in Stanley Park in broad daylight. These animals are supposed to be nocturnal creatures, and as such, are usually active during the night. But through an odd mixture of nature and nurture, they have evolved into predators under city conditions or after co-existing with humans in modern times.

A photo posted by Scorpio1814 (@scorpio1814) on Mar 15, 2016 at 5:33pm PDT

www.inquisitr.com

Why are raccoons scavengers ?

Wiki User
October 27, 2015 10:09PM

Raccoons are not primarily scavengers by nature. However, a

raccoon will, as any animal, gladly accept carrion or garbage as

food. It is a free meal that they have to expend very little energy

www.answers.com

Tanuki

Tanuki

While sometimes called raccoon dogs because they are similar in appearance to raccoons, tanuki are, in fact, canids. They are more closely related to wolves, coyotes and domestic dogs than they are to raccoons. These are generalist omnivores and scavengers who tend to do well near human environments, much like raccoons and coyotes.

Scientific name: Nyctereutes procyonoides

range: Eastern Asia [VIEW MAP]

While these animals chiefly are nocturnal, tanuki do spend a good amount of time foraging around in daylight hours. Tanuki evolved in climates with warm summers and cool or cold winters, so can be seen year-round in Atlanta. There are provided shelters such as hollow logs and nest boxes to stay warm or dry as needed.

Photos and Videos

Tanuki enter a state of lethargy called torpor in the winter, and they are the only canids that do this. In preparation for torpor, their weight is almost doubled between June and October. Torpor is different from hibernation in that they will emerge to forage on warm winter days. Raccoon dogs do not bark, but they do growl when threatened. Their vocalizations are higher in pitch than a domestic dog’s and sound more like a cat. Tanuki are good climbers and with the exception of foxes, are the only canids known to climb trees. They are also known to swim or dive underwater while foraging. In Japanese folklore, tanuki are portrayed as comical, mischievous shape-shifters who often deceive humans. Statues of tanuki are often found outside Japanese restaurants and bars to welcome guests and are often depicted as wearing straw hats and carrying a bottle of sake with a promissory note for a bill which they will never pay.

See also:  How To Get A Raccoon Out Of Your Yard

Physical Features and Characteristics:

Tanuki fur is yellow-grey to reddish-brown. The fur is thicker in autumn and winter. Their shoulders, tip of the tail, and legs are black. They have facial markings similar to a raccoon’s, including the characteristic black mask.

Tanuki are 1.5 to 2 feet long, with a tail about a half-foot long. They weigh 8 to 22 pounds.

Lifestyle and Reproduction:

Tanuki form monogamous, permanent pairs that share a home range, forage together, and care for offspring together. Pairs usually avoid other pairs, but resting and latrine sites are sometimes shared with related family members. Tanuki tend to flee from confrontation, sometimes “playing dead” to avoid predators.

Tanuki reach sexual maturity at 9 to 11 months old. Mating typically occurs in the spring, and gestation lasts about nine weeks. The average litter size is six. Pups typically weigh between 100 and 120 grams, and both parents participate in their care. The young emerge from the den at 3 to 4 weeks old and are weaned at 4 to 5 weeks. The wild lifespan is 7 to 8 years but is generally longer in zoological settings.

While these animals chiefly are nocturnal, tanuki do spend a good amount of time foraging around in daylight hours. Tanuki evolved in climates with warm summers and cool or cold winters, so can be seen year-round in Atlanta. There are provided shelters such as hollow logs and nest boxes to stay warm or dry as needed.

Tanuki are native to eastern Asia, including Japan, but have been introduced to and are now widespread in northern and eastern Europe.

Deciduous forest, broad-leaf evergreen forest, mixed forest, farmland, and urban areas from coastal to subalpine zones. Tanuki are often found near water. In autumn, they are dependent on fruits and berries, which affects habitat selection.

In the wild, these omnivores eat everything from invertebrates to vertebrates such as frogs, lizards, birds and rodents, as well as seeds, berries, fruit and carrion. In human-developed areas, they will forage for human garbage and roadkill. Those that live near the ocean will venture to the seashore to feed on crabs, other marine life, or carcasses brought in by the tides. At the Zoo, we offer a varied diet of fruits (apples, bananas, papaya and grapes); vegetables (carrot, sweet potato, corn, zucchini); hard-boiled eggs; capelin (a type of fish); dog food; and a commercial beef diet specifically for canids.

zooatlanta.org

Tanuki

Tanuki

While sometimes called raccoon dogs because they are similar in appearance to raccoons, tanuki are, in fact, canids. They are more closely related to wolves, coyotes and domestic dogs than they are to raccoons. These are generalist omnivores and scavengers who tend to do well near human environments, much like raccoons and coyotes.

Scientific name: Nyctereutes procyonoides

range: Eastern Asia [VIEW MAP]

While these animals chiefly are nocturnal, tanuki do spend a good amount of time foraging around in daylight hours. Tanuki evolved in climates with warm summers and cool or cold winters, so can be seen year-round in Atlanta. There are provided shelters such as hollow logs and nest boxes to stay warm or dry as needed.

See also:  How Do Racoons Get In Attic

Photos and Videos

Tanuki enter a state of lethargy called torpor in the winter, and they are the only canids that do this. In preparation for torpor, their weight is almost doubled between June and October. Torpor is different from hibernation in that they will emerge to forage on warm winter days. Raccoon dogs do not bark, but they do growl when threatened. Their vocalizations are higher in pitch than a domestic dog’s and sound more like a cat. Tanuki are good climbers and with the exception of foxes, are the only canids known to climb trees. They are also known to swim or dive underwater while foraging. In Japanese folklore, tanuki are portrayed as comical, mischievous shape-shifters who often deceive humans. Statues of tanuki are often found outside Japanese restaurants and bars to welcome guests and are often depicted as wearing straw hats and carrying a bottle of sake with a promissory note for a bill which they will never pay.

Physical Features and Characteristics:

Tanuki fur is yellow-grey to reddish-brown. The fur is thicker in autumn and winter. Their shoulders, tip of the tail, and legs are black. They have facial markings similar to a raccoon’s, including the characteristic black mask.

Tanuki are 1.5 to 2 feet long, with a tail about a half-foot long. They weigh 8 to 22 pounds.

Lifestyle and Reproduction:

Tanuki form monogamous, permanent pairs that share a home range, forage together, and care for offspring together. Pairs usually avoid other pairs, but resting and latrine sites are sometimes shared with related family members. Tanuki tend to flee from confrontation, sometimes “playing dead” to avoid predators.

Tanuki reach sexual maturity at 9 to 11 months old. Mating typically occurs in the spring, and gestation lasts about nine weeks. The average litter size is six. Pups typically weigh between 100 and 120 grams, and both parents participate in their care. The young emerge from the den at 3 to 4 weeks old and are weaned at 4 to 5 weeks. The wild lifespan is 7 to 8 years but is generally longer in zoological settings.

While these animals chiefly are nocturnal, tanuki do spend a good amount of time foraging around in daylight hours. Tanuki evolved in climates with warm summers and cool or cold winters, so can be seen year-round in Atlanta. There are provided shelters such as hollow logs and nest boxes to stay warm or dry as needed.

Tanuki are native to eastern Asia, including Japan, but have been introduced to and are now widespread in northern and eastern Europe.

Deciduous forest, broad-leaf evergreen forest, mixed forest, farmland, and urban areas from coastal to subalpine zones. Tanuki are often found near water. In autumn, they are dependent on fruits and berries, which affects habitat selection.

In the wild, these omnivores eat everything from invertebrates to vertebrates such as frogs, lizards, birds and rodents, as well as seeds, berries, fruit and carrion. In human-developed areas, they will forage for human garbage and roadkill. Those that live near the ocean will venture to the seashore to feed on crabs, other marine life, or carcasses brought in by the tides. At the Zoo, we offer a varied diet of fruits (apples, bananas, papaya and grapes); vegetables (carrot, sweet potato, corn, zucchini); hard-boiled eggs; capelin (a type of fish); dog food; and a commercial beef diet specifically for canids.

zooatlanta.org

Facts About Raccoons

Raccoons are round, fuzzy creatures with bushy tails and a black mask of fur that covers their eye area. These animals may look like cute, cuddly bandits, but they can be quite fearsome when approached.

Raccoons are about as big as small dogs. They grow to about 23 to 37 inches (60 to 95 centimeters) and weigh 4 to 23 lbs. (1.8 to 10.4 kilograms), according to National Geographic.

Habitat

Raccoons are found in North and Central America, Europe and Japan. They are very adaptable, so they live in a wide range of climates and habitats. They typically make homes, called dens, in trees or caves, though they will also make homes in barns, abandoned vehicles and other man-made locations, according to New Hampshire Public Television.

See also:  When Does Coon Season End

Though raccoons are more than happy to make human areas their homes, they can be vicious when approached by humans. Humans should be particuarlly cautious of approaching raccoons because they are common carriers of rabies, roundworms and leptospirosis, according to The Human Society. Most experts do not recommend having a raccoon as a pet.

Habits

Raccoons are not very social creatures. They are nocturnal and sleep during the day. During the winter, they tend to sleep more, but they do not hibernate in the traditional sense. They simply sleep while their bodies live off stored fat. They lose around 50 percent of their body weight during the winter, according to the University of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Web(ADW).

Though these animals look like the outlaws of the outdoors, raccoons are very clean creatures. They are known to wash their food in streams and even dig latrines in areas they frequent regularly.

As omnivores, raccoons eat vegetation and meat. The vegetation in their diet consists of cherries, apples, acorns, persimmons, berries, peaches, citrus fruits, plums, wild grapes, figs, watermelons, beech nuts, corn and walnuts. When it comes to meat, raccoons consume more invertebrates than vertebrates, according to the ADW. Some of the raccoon’s favorite animal treats are frogs, fish, crayfish, insects, rodents and bird eggs. When food is scarce, raccoons aren’t above scavenging human trash or eating roadkill.

Raccoons are more than happy to make human areas their homes. (Image credit: K. Schneider)

Offspring

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.

For the first two months of their lives, babies live in their den and are weened at 7 to 16 weeks. At 12 weeks, they will start to roam away from their mothers for whole nights at a time, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. They become completely independent at 8 to 12 months of age. Raccoons live around 2 to 3 years in the wild.

Classification/taxonomy

Here is the taxonomy of the raccoon, according to Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Subkingdom: Bilateria
  • Infrakingdom: Deuterostomia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
  • Superclass: Tetrapoda
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Subclass: Theria
  • Infraclass: Eutheria
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Suborder: Caniformia
  • Family: Procyonidae
  • Genus: Procyon
  • Species: Procyoncancrivorous (crab-eating raccoon), with four subspecies; Procyon lotor (common raccoon), with 22 subspecies; and Procyon pygmaeus (Cozumel raccoon or pygmy raccoon).

Conservation status

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the pygmy raccoon is critically endangered. The pygmy raccoon may have fewer than 250 mature individuals left in the wild, and the IUCN estimates that the total population size, including juveniles, is only 323 to 955. Other raccoon populations are not currently endangered.

Other facts

Raccoons can run up to 15 mph (24 km/h) and can fall 35 to 40 feet (11 to 12 meters) without injury, according to the ADW.

Raccoons are considered one of the primary carriers of the rabies virus in the United States, though only one person has ever died from a raccoon to human transmission of the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One theory is that the black mask around a raccoon’s eyes helps deflect glare and helps with night vision, according to PBS Nature.

Raccoons have five toes on their front paws that act much like human hands.

www.livescience.com

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