How Far Can A Raccoon Swim

Do raccoons swim?

Raccoons have found a way to survive for thousands of years. They are one of the most adaptable creatures, who use their sharp claws, there thick coat of fur, and their natural instincts to be able to adapt to virtually any kind of situation that they are in.

Think about the fact that firm many years in America, raccoons were hunted for their fur to be used in clothing and enhance. This left many of the species of raccoons near extinction, but they have continued to survive and thrive, adapting to the world where houses and swimming pools have overcome and taken over the vast majority of their natural habitat where they have lived for thousands of years before Europeans came to this continent.

To survive, they have often had to move or adapt to new locations to be able to find food and shelter in which to survive. Many of these locations have been along rivers or creeks and that may make you wonder if raccoons swim?

The truth is that raccoons are actually quite excellent swimmers. Like most mammals that you will encounter, raccoons have the capability to swim, much like a cat or a dog. What separates a raccoon from many of these other animals is that they don’t just know how to swim but are actually quite excellent swimmers.

Because of the habitats that raccoons normally resided, there are a vast number of creeks and ponds that can be found in these areas. If they were unable to navigate themselves through the waters they would be denying themselves the opportunity to be able to find a vast amount of food.

Raccoons are known to eat such things as frogs, shellfish, and even fish. To acquire these meals, they must be able to get into the water to be able to capture them. While some forms of these foods, like frogs, can be found along the shoreline, it is more likely that the raccoon would find fish or shellfish in the water itself. This is how their ability to swim really comes in handy.

A raccoon can swim quite proficiently, even buckets head underwater for a time, to be able to capture and haul in its prey to eat. Because of their sharp claws, they are able to grasp at and control fish and other wildlife that is in the water so that they can turn that into their next meal.

For those who have a swimming pool, you are probably already well aware that a raccoon can swim quite well. There are many instances where people who live in areas where raccoons are known to reside have awoken to find one of these critters making its way across their pool. This can happen because the raccoon is looking to capture something that is in the water, or simply because it finds your pool a shortcut of sorts to get across your yard.

Either way, you should be aware that a raccoon can be prone to get inside your pool. Read more: Raccoon Control, how to get rid of raccoons, Raccoon Feces, How to get raccoons out of the ceiling.

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Do raccoons swim?

Researches have shown that raccoons can swim at an average speed of about 5 kilometers an hour, and can remain inside water for several hours. Raccoons have also been found to enter swimming pools of private buildings, and can remain in the pool without anyone noticing. It is also believed that raccoons can become very nervous inside water, and that is because their body weights can be as much as 2lbs and they don’t have find or physical features that can stabilize their body inside a flowing water.

When raccoons swim, they don’t do so intentionally, they do so in order to catch fishes or some other sea animals or they are running after a predator. Raccoons can quickly attach themselves to objects located within streams (including tree branches and rocks), can find their ways out of water easily. Raccoons originally live in deciduous forests and mountains, however, they have migrated to marshy areas and places close to coastal regions, and thus, they had to get some swimming skills in order to catch insects and sea animals in the sea and streams, especially in urban areas.

Raccoons can crawl, and stand in water, and the development of their claws even makes it easier for them to grab water animals at an incredible speed. Male raccoons are generally heavier than females, and during the spring season , both male and female raccoons can swim faster , but they hardly move near the water in the winter season- this is the season when they temporarily hibernate. Though the bodies of raccoons can vary with habitat, most of the raccoons found in urban areas do have bodies that can withstand strong water torrents, especially when they are swimming.

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Raccoons can swim under water at depths of about 5 feet, their breathing mechanisms are developed in such a way that they can survive under water with little or no oxygen, for several minutes, unlike humans who can barely survive without oxygen for over 1 minute. The skin of raccoons comprises of more than 85% of fur or coat, and that makes it easier for the animal to swim even in extremely cold weather. Raccoons use their skin as extra insulator during temporary hibernating periods, and with the extra storage of fats from food ingested during the spring and summer, raccoons can easily stay with less food during winter seasons.

Raccoons can swim for a long time inside water; however, they cannot live inside water. Go back to the How to get rid of raccoons home page.

If you need raccoons help, click my Nationwide list of raccoons removal experts for a pro near you.

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Can Raccoons Jump Onto Houses Or Over Fences

The short answer is that they don’t really jump very well, but they are amazing climbers, so they can easily get onto any part of a house, such as the roof, and they can easily climb most fences. But they don’t actually jump over.

Whether you live in the woodlands or your house is situated near a park and a flowing stream, you are likely to get visits from raccoons in the very least. The persistent creatures will also try to move in with you especially when they discover a food source in your yard. Raccoons are bold animals, though not particularly confrontational. They will visit your yard over and over again, and have been known to take up residence in hidden spots, one of which is in the attic. Yes, right at the top of your house.

Raccoons are very agile animals and can jump, only they may not jump as high as feline animals would. It is easier for them to jump horizontally and to jump down from heights. But they get by, in between their jumping range and their claws, they can pretty much scale most houses and fences. The English word “raccoon” is an adaptation of a native Powhatan word meaning – animal that scratches with its hands. They usually have a very good grip and are excellent climbers.

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How raccoons get to the roof of a house to access its attic or chimney has baffled many a homeowner. The raccoon is a very good climber and can go down a tree backwards or face first, but can they climb concrete as well?

There have been reports of raccoons scaling vertical walls and fences. They are fairly good at jumping, but it is more common for them to do this by climbing at least half way. They can ascend the corners of most houses, and easily climb up and down downspouts.

Physical adaptations that help the raccoon’s climbing ability include the shape of its limbs. The two hind legs are longer than the front legs, making it look hunched while running or climbing. And it has black paws that bear 5 toes each; the clawed toes on its front paws are very nimble and can grasp ledges or crevices in the wall quite well. Its hands bears a resemblance to that of a monkey. Its long and opposable claws also help to achieve a firm grasp on the structures as it climbs.

The most common sources of complaints about raccoons seemingly scaling fences and houses include chicken coops and poultry farms. Summarily, it is safe to believe that if there is food to be eaten on the other side of the fence, a raccoon will find a way to get over it.

To learn more about Can Raccoons Jump Onto Houses Or Over Fences visit the Raccoons in the Attic home page.

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Raccoon Nation — Raccoon Facts

Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Procyonidae
Genus: Procyon
Species: Procyon lotor

Size and Weight: The adult raccoon is a medium-sized mammal and the largest of the Procyonidae family. It averages 24 to 38 inches in length and can weigh between 14 to 23 lbs., or more, depending upon habitat and available food. The male raccoon, or boar, is slightly larger than the female, also referred to as sow. The young are called kits.

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Physical Features: The mask of black fur that covers its eyes is its most characteristic and familiar feature. One hypothesis for the dark fur is that it may help reduce glare and enhance the nocturnal animal’s night vision. The species has grayish brown fur, almost 90% of which is dense underfur to insulate the animal against the cold. Five to eight light and dark rings alternate on its tail. Because its hind legs are longer than the front legs, a raccoon often appears hunched when they walk or run. The five toes on a raccoon’s front paws are extremely dexterous, functioning essentially as five little fingers which allow it to grasp and manipulate food it finds in the wild as well as a variety of other objects, including doorknobs, jars, and latches. A raccoon’s most heightened sense is its sense of touch. It has very sensitive front paws and this sensitivity increases underwater. When able, a raccoon will examine objects in water.

Life span: In the wild, a raccoon has a life expectancy of about 2 to 3 years, but in captivity a raccoon can live up to 20 years.

Diet: The raccoon is an omnivorous and opportunistic eater, with its diet determined heavily by its environment. Common foods include fruits, plants, nuts, berries, insects, rodents, frogs, eggs, and crayfish. In urban environments, the animal often sifts through garbage for food. The majority of its diet consists of invertebrates and plant foods.

Geography: The raccoon is native to North America and can be found throughout the United States, except for parts of the Rocky Mountains, and southwestern states like Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. It can also be found in parts of Canada, Mexico and the northern-most regions of South America. During the 20 th century, the species was introduced to other parts of the globe, and now has an extensive presence in countries like Germany, Russia, and Japan.

Habitat: Originally raccoons lived in the tropics where they could be found foraging along riverbanks. Over time they moved north up the continent, successfully adapting to new territories and expanding their diet. Traditionally, they live in tree cavities or burrows emerging at dusk to hunt frogs and crustaceans while keeping an eye out for predators such as coyotes and foxes. Barns have aided their northern migration, offering refuge from cold northern winters, and now, raccoons have been found as far north as Alaska. The species originally kept to the deciduous and mixed forests of North America, but its impressive ability to adapt has enabled the animal to move into a wide range of habitats, from mountainous terrains to large cities. The first urban sighting was in Cincinnati during the 1920s. Raccoon populations do very well in urban areas, primarily due to hunting and trapping restrictions, a general lack of predators, and an abundance of available human food. The size of a raccoon’s home range varies depending on habitat and food supply. In urban areas, its home range generally spans about one mile.

Breeding and Social Structure: The animal is nocturnal, mostly foraging and feeding at night. Though previously thought to be quite solitary, there is now evidence that the species congregates in gender-specific groups. Mating season for raccoons falls generally anytime between January and June. Most females begin reproducing around the age of one. The female has a 65-day gestation period and gives birth to two to five kits, usually in the spring. A mother usually separates from other raccoons to raise her young alone. The male does not participate in the raising of the kits. The black mask is already visible on newly-born kits. The kits stay in the den with their mother until they are between 8-10 weeks old, and will stay with their mother until they reach 13-14 months of age.

Risks: A raccoon has few predators though the animal has been known to be attacked by cougars, bobcats, and coyotes. Disease, infection, and run-ins with cars are generally the primary risks for the species. Some of their diseases, including roundworm, trichinosis and rabies, also place people and pets at risk.

Additional Facts:

  • The raccoon’s scientific name, Procyon lotor is neo-Latin and translates to “before-dog washer.”
  • Christopher Columbus is the first individual we know of to have written about the species.
  • The raccoon’s taxonomy has been debated over time. Carl Linnaeus placed the raccoon in the Ursus genus—first as Ursus cauda elongate (“long-tailed bear”) and then as Ursus lotor (“washer bear”). In 1780, Gottlieb Congrad Christian Storr created a separate genus for the species, Procyon, meaning doglike.
  • The English word “raccoon” is an adaptation of a native Powhatan word meaning “animal that scratches with its hands.”
  • In the winter, the raccoon does not hibernate, but can sleep in its den for weeks.
  • A raccoon can run at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour.
  • The raccoon is a good swimmer and can stay in water for several hours.
  • The species makes a variety of vocalizations including hisses, whistles, screams, growls and snarls.
  • A series of studies in the mid-to-late-twentieth century show that a raccoon can remember solutions to tasks for up to 3 years.
See also:  How To Get Rid Of Raccoons Digging Up Lawn

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Raccoon Facts

Raccoons are highly intelligent and curious creatures, but they can also be a nuisance to any homeowner. These nocturnal mammals can destroy gardens, make a mess by tipping over garbage cans, and can cause structural damage in search of food. On this page, you will learn general raccoon facts and how to identify raccoon damage.

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General Raccoon Facts

Scientific Name: Procyon lotor

Average Size: 12″ tall; 24-38″ long; 14-23 lbs.

Average Lifespan in the Wild: 2-3 years

Identifying Features: Gray fur with a black mask and 4-7 black rings around its tail; pointy snout with a black nose; dexterous front paws.

Raccoon Geography

Raccoons are natively found throughout most of North America. Recently, raccoons have emerged in parts of Europe and Japan.

Raccoon Habitat

Traditionally, raccoons prefer heavily wooded areas with access to trees, water and abundant vegetation. There, they make their dens in the hollow parts of trees as well as abandoned burrows, traveling up to 18 miles to forage for food.

Raccoons are extremely adaptable. They are often found in suburban and urban areas, making their homes in man-made structures like attics, sewers, barns and sheds. In urban areas, raccoons tend to stay closer to their dens with a range of only about 1 mile, depending on their age and sex.

Raccoon Diet

Raccoons are omnivores with an opportunistic diet; eating almost anything they can get their paws on. In urban areas, where wildlife and fresh vegetation are limited, raccoons will be more likely to eat human food and invade trashcans. The majority of their diet consists of sweet foods like fruits and invertebrates.

Some favorite foods include:

Raccoon Behavior

Activity: Nocturnal in nature, raccoons are mostly active at nighttime. They are most active in spring, summer and fall, and will sleep in their dens for most of the winter.

Reproduction: Reproduction begins in late winter. Females, or sows, usually give birth to 1-6 baby kits in April or May. Mothers are very protective of their young until they separate after about a year.

Social Interaction: Raccoons are independent after 12-14 months of age. Adults live in loose knit communities of 4 — 5 raccoons for better protection against predators.

Communication: Raccoons communicate with each other using over 200 different sounds and 12-15 different calls.

Skills: Raccoons possess amazing dexterity that gives them the ability to open doors, jars, bottles and latches. They are also great climbers, which allows them to better access food and shelter.

Identify Raccoon Damage

Raccoons can be extremely destructive due to their curiosity, intelligence, dexterity and climbing skills.

Here are some signs to help identify a raccoon problem:

  • tipped trash cans
  • raided bird feeders
  • pilfered gardens
  • damaged crops (ex. chewed sweet corn, hollowed out watermelons)
  • uncapped chimneys
  • torn shingles
  • raccoon tracks: five long toes and fingers resembling human hands

Raccoon Diseases

Raccoons can carry several bacterial diseases and parasites that can be transmitted to humans and pets through a bite or the ingestion of raccoon waste.

Some diseases that can affect humans and pets include:

  • leptospirosis
  • salmonella
  • roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis)
  • rabies

Although raccoons are notorious for carrying rabies, there has only been one recorded human death from raccoon rabies in the United States. Some signs that a raccoon may have rabies include aggressiveness, unusual vocalization, and excessive drool or foam from the mouth. If you think you may have identified a rabid raccoon, call your local animal control authority immediately.

Fun Facts

A raccoon will rinse its food in water prior to eating it. When there is no water close by, a raccoon will still rub its food to remove debris.

Some hypothesize that the purpose of a raccoon’s black mask is to reduce glare, helping it to see better in the dark.

A group of raccoons is called a nursery.

Although raccoons only live 2-3 years in the wild, a raccoon can live up to 20 years in captivity.

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