What Are Raccoons Closely Related To

What Family Are Raccoons In?

What Are Raccoons Closely Related To
Raccoons are cute and quirky creatures, what with their memorably dark-rimmed eyes and rather rotund physiques. The moderately sized mammals also look nothing like a lot of other animals you might frequently see scampering around, whether deer, rabbits or squirrels. Raccoons are part of a totally different family, after all.

What Family Are Raccoons In?

The omnivorous and mostly nocturnal mammals are part of the family Procyonidae, which also consists of coatis and other similar animals. Raccoons are also part of the order Carnivora.

Common Shared Body Traits of the Family Procyonidae

Although all of the animals within the family Procyonidae are different, as members of the same unit, they do also share a variety of key physical bodily traits. Some common characteristics of most Procyonidae animals are tails that are of moderate to extended length, relatively long bodies, short ears and curving claws. In general, the animals range from little to moderate size, reports the Animal Diversity Web website of the University of Michigan. Some can weigh less than 5 pounds, while others can even exceed 40 pounds.

Shared Facial Traits

Raccoons and other members of the family Procyonidae typically possess facial features that are reminiscent of foxes, notes the website for the University of Edinburgh’s Natural History Collections. Despite the facial similarities, foxes are members of a totally different family — the family Canidae. Family Procyonidae animals usually feature conspicuous marking patterns on their faces. These markings also appear on their tails, as well. The animals also usually have wide faces.

What Are Raccoons Closely Related To

Specific Examples of Family Procyonidae Animals

Some of the various different animals that are closely intertwined with the raccoon within the family Procyonidae include the kinkajou, the ringtail, the white-nosed coati and the South American coati. Animals from the family appear in a diverse range of settings, which include tropical rainforest, desert and swampy areas. Raccoons are particularly prevalent in prairies, woodlands, swamps and urban regions, and are usually very adept at adjusting to new and unfamiliar living environments, reports the website for the Department of Environmental Conversation for New York State. The nimble animals also frequently reside by rivers.


What are Racoons related to?

Are raccoons related to cats,dogs,or rodents? I know all different species have different personalites like how dogs are loyal and go in packs and cats are independant but they can also lovable/curious, but what about rodents? Should I get my Racoon declawed? Racoons only think about food?


Raccoons belong to the family Procyonidae. This family contains coatis, olingos, ringtails, kinkajous and the red panda (though some scientists think the red panda should be placed in a family of its own). People are therefore correct when saying raccoons are related to pandas if they mean the red panda, but not if they mean the giant panda — the giant panda is a bear, belonging to the family Ursidae. It is not closely related to the red panda, though this was once thought to be the case, hence the shared common name.

The family Procyonidae is part of the order Carnivora, to which the cat and dog families also belong. Rodents are a different order altogether. There are two branches of the order Carnivora, the Feliformia (or ‘cat-like’) families, and the Caniformia (or ‘dog-like’) families. The Procyonidae family belongs to the Caniformia branch, along with the Canidae (dogs), Ursidae (bears), Mustelidae (weasels and relatives), Otariidae (eared seals) and Phocidae (true seals). The Feliformia branch contains the families Felidae (cats), Viverridae (civets and genets), Hyaenidae (hyenas) and Herpestidae (mongooses).

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Racoons can make good pets but keeping them in a cage would be wrong. There is a great true kids story called Rascal. Be sure to have your racoon get shots since they can get rabies and other diseases. Check and see if it is legal to keep a racoon as a pet in your state. They are solitary except when they have a litter. The kits stay with the mom for a long time until they can hunt and forage on their own.

Racoons are NOT mustilids. Skunks are, along with weasels mink, wolverines and otters. Racoons are omnivores.

The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) has been traditionally included within family Procyonidae, along with racoons and coatimundis. However, a 2000 study rejected the hypotheses that the red panda is most closely related to the bears (ursids) or to the raccoons (procyonids). Some new classification schemes assign it to its own family, the Ailuridae. The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is a member of family Ursidae, along with other bears. The evidence for inclusion of this species is overwhelming, despite its obvious specializations. So I guess the answer is No, none of the «panda» species are related to racoons.

Are raccoons related to cats,dogs,or rodents? I know all different species have different personalites like how dogs are loyal and go in packs and cats are independant but they can also lovable/curious, but what about rodents? Should I get my Racoon declawed? Racoons only think about food?

Of the species you mentioned, they are closer to the dogs. However, that relationship isn’t terribly close. They are indeed closer to pandas and bears than they are to dogs.

As someone earlier mentioned, they are in the Family Procyonidae, and their closest relatives are the other members of that family — several other species of raccoon, kinkajous, ringtails and coatis. Outside of the Procyonid family, the closest is the red or lesser panda.

As for your other questions, no you absolutely should not get your raccoon declawed. Raccoons have very dextrous paws which they rely upon both to handle their food and investigate the world. Their fingers are among their most important appendages. It’s possible to declaw cats by cutting the ligament that allows them to extend their claws, but the only way to declaw a raccoon is to chop the last joint off of each finger. This would be the equivalent of chopping your kid’s fingertips off to keep them from putting grubby fingerprints on the glass coffeetable. It would work, but is rather more drastic than the situation warrants.

Also, as others have mentioned, raccoons do not make very good pets. They are curious and destructive — rather like living with a toddler who can climb. And they do indeed become more aggressive and territorial as they get older.

What Are Raccoons Closely Related To

The relationship of the giant panda to other animals in the Carnivora has been somewhat controversial. Davis firmly said, based on anatomy, that giant pandas are bears. Some workers, however, have argued that the giant panda is more closely related to raccoons than bears, others have placed it in a group of their own within a larger group of carnivorans (the Arctoidea) containing both bears and raccoons. There was a flurry of argument in the late 1980s generated by comparison of hemoglobins molecules that suggested that the giant panda and the lesser panda (figured to the right) were closely related, and were related to raccoons rather than bears. Several different lines of argument now clearly point to giant pandas being most closely related to bears.

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In addition to Davis’ arguments about anatomy, panda hair ( Dziurdzik et al ), and lots of molecular studies say giant panda is a bear.

Panda bears and raccoons are in different families. Giant pandas are in the bear family (Ursidae). You can see a “family tree” of the bears at:

What Are Raccoons Closely Related To

The way to read these diagrams is to start at the end with the pictures. The lines show which groups are the closest relatives. If you look at the top, you can see that polar bears (U. maritimus) are closely related to grizzly bears (Ursus arctos). You can tell this because the lines that go from those two species split later than all of the other lines. Now look at the panda bear or giant panda (A. melanoleuca). It is way off by itself. This means that pandas started on their own evolutionary pathway a long time before the other bears did.

The raccoons are in a family with ringtails, coatis, and kinkajous (Procyonidae). A family tree for Procyonidae is at:

Just keep scrolling down until you get to the raccoon pictures.

Both of these families and a lot of other families (the cat family, the dog family, the skunk/weasel/otter family, etc.) belong to the Order Carnivora. If you go to this site:

Order Carnivora and look at figure 1, you will see a family tree of the Order Carnivora.

In the past, people thought that the raccoon family and the bear family were very closely related. This picture shows a newer idea about the Carnivora family tree. It is based on DNA. The red panda and the giant panda have similar names, but you can see that the red panda is not a bear. Some scientists put the red panda in the raccoon family. The new picture shows the idea that red pandas might be so different from other carnivores that they should have their own family.

When you look at the pictures, what do you notice that is different about the bears and the animals in the raccoon family?

If you are interested in animals like these, and their relationships, you may want to become a mammalogist.

What Family Are Raccoons In?

This is an interesting question. I think the answer depends on how closely related we’re trying to see they are. When we classify living organisms, we divide them in the following way:

1. many species belong to a:
2. genus; many genera belong to a:
3. family; many families belong to an:
4. order; orders belong to a:
5. class; classes belong to a:
6. phylum; phylums are part of a
7. kingdom, and kingdoms belong to different:
8. domains

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Pandas belong to the same order as raccoons: «carnivora,» which means they are also part of the same class, phylum, kingdom, and domain! But they are not part of the same species, genus, or family. I hope this helps!

There are two species of panda: a red panda and a white panda. White pandas are a kind of bear, and red pandas are a kind of raccoon.

Bears and raccoons are distantly related to each-other, but the red and white pandas are no more closely related to each-other than any other bear would be with any other raccoon. I think, for example, that bears are more closely related to dogs than they are to raccoons.

To answer your question about whether or not panda bears and raccoons are related, we have to define what you mean by “related”. We may consider ourselves to be “related” to our parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc; but not to other people like our neighbors. However, if you consider that all humans share a common ancestor, then you could say that every human is related to every other human. If we branch further out, we could say that humans are related to chimpanzees (even though we are not the same species) because millions of years ago we shared a common ancestor. Now let’s talk about panda bears and raccoons. Panda bears have the following taxanomic classification (this is a system that classifies living organisms by several categories, starting broadly and ending in the most specific): Kingdom: animal, Phylum: chordate, Class: mammal, Order: carnivore, Family: ursidae (bear), Genus: ailuropoda, Species: melanoleuca.

Basically, this is telling you that the panda bear (scientifically called A. melanoleuca) is an animal with a spinal cord that produces milk, eats meat, and is a bear. Panda bears would be closely related to other species in the family urisidae (bear) such as black bears, brown bears, and polar bears. Now let’s look at raccoons.

Raccoons would be classified like this: Kingdom: animal, Phylum: chordate, Class: mammal, Order: carnivore, Family: procyonidae, Genus: procyon, Species: lotor.

You may notice that panda bears and raccoons have the same classification up to the “order” level, and differ in their family, genus and species. Raccoons would be closely related to other members of the procyonidae family, such as olingos and ringtails. Raccoons are more closely related to otters and weasels than pandas, and it is believed that pandas and raccoons shared their last common ancestor about 40 million years ago.

Overall, this means that panda bears and raccoons are not closely related to each other, but did share a common ancestor 40 million years ago, and are therefore related by 40 million years of evolution.

Fun Thought: raccoons and pandas are about as closely related as we are to spider monkeys!

Excellent question! There are two kinds of pandas. The lesser (or red) panda is considered by many to be related to raccoons (family Procyonidae), but other scientists argue that it’s unclear what other group of carnivores the red panda is related to. Everyone agrees, however, that the giant panda is a bear and that the two pandas are not closely related to each other (apart from both being members of the placental mammal grouping Carnivora). Sorry that the world of pandas is so confusing.


  • Beth Hays says:

    1. that part when the baby raccoons were struggling so much to get into the shed broke me. I was that one that fell. I understood her. She put everything into a leap of faith and ended up splat on the ground, so close yet so far from mom and sibs. Alone for the first time, and all because she wasn’t nimble enough. She knows she either won’t reunite, or she’ll hold everyone back and put them all in danger just to rescue her.

    2. With all the stuff that humans are doing to the Earth already, I’ve basically decided feeding raccoons is okay. Yeah, it’s bad for the environment. Yeah, it’s bad for people. Yeah, they have enough to eat. But everything in this world seems shit and I want to make some brainy bois brainier so imma go put little nuts in weird containers and let ’em at it. I don’t care about the consequences for humankind or raccoonkind or Earthkind.

    2.b. Actually, there are few to no raccoons in my neighborhood, just foxes and squirrels, so I guess I don’t get the chance to ruin the world. Unless I get the squirrels in on the action…

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