What Biome Do Raccoons Live In

What ecosystem do raccoons live in? What biome do raccoons live in?

I’m not sure if ecosystem and biome are the same. I need to know asap so i can go out and buy things for my project. I have to make a diorama on the raccoon’s ecosystem.

Please help! Thank you!

2 Answers

Raccoons are well-suited for a vast array of ecosystems, although they are best adapted for deciduous forest biomes. However, they are common almost everywhere in North and Central America, from Canada to Panama, from swamplands to tropical broadleaf forests to xeric shrublands to temperate coniferous woodlands to montane grasslands.

Although they have thrived in sparsely wooded areas in the last decades, raccoons depend on vertical structures to climb when they feel threatened. Therefore, they avoid open terrain and areas with high concentrations of beech trees, as beech bark is too smooth to climb. Tree hollows in old oaks or other trees and rock crevices are preferred by raccoons as sleeping, winter and litter dens. If such dens are unavailable or accessing them is inconvenient, raccoons utilize burrows dug by other mammals, dense undergrowth, or tree crotches. Since amphibians, crustaceans and other animals found around the shore of lakes and rivers are an important part of the raccoon’s diet, lowland deciduous or mixed forests abundant with water and marshes sustain the highest population densities. While population densities range from 0.5 to 3.2 animals per square kilometer (1.3–8.3 animals per square mile) in prairies and do not usually exceed six animals per square kilometer (15.5 animals per square mile) in upland hardwood forests, more than 20 raccoons per square kilometer (51.8 animals per square mile) can live in lowland forests and marshes.


What biome does a raccoon live in ?

Wiki User
October 31, 2015 8:25PM

Raccoons are very adaptable and are found in deciduous forests,

pine forests, rain forests, swamps, grasslands, savannas and even

in deserts. They are found in North, Central and South America and


Do raccoons live in cold biomes ?

Wiki User
December 07, 2015 11:05PM

Cold is a relative term. Raccoons do live in colder areas of the

temperate biome across the northern United States and southern

Canada. They do not live in more northern areas of Canada and not

at all in Alaska. They are also not found in the higher mountain

regions that have heavy snow cover in winter.


Critter Catalog


  • bears, cats, wolves, weasels, and relatives
  • caniform carnivores
  • raccoons
  • Information
  • Pictures
  • Specimens
  • Classification

Additional information:

Find raccoon information at


What do they look like?

Most people recognize raccoons by the black mask that runs across their eyes and their bushy, ringed tails. Their front paws resemble human hands in their dexterity and make the raccoon skillful at many tasks. Fur color can vary from grey to reddish brown to light brown. Raccoons weigh from 1.8 to 10.4 kilograms, averaging 6 to 7 kilograms. Males are usually slightly larger than females. Body length ranges from 603 to 950 mm and tail length from 192 to 405 mm. (Nowak, 1991; Wilson and Ruff, 1999)

  • Other Physical Features
  • endothermic
  • homoiothermic
  • bilateral symmetry
  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • male larger
  • Range mass 1.8 to 10.4 kg 3.96 to 22.91 lb
  • Average mass 6.0 kg 13.22 lb
  • Range length 603.0 to 950.0 mm 23.74 to 37.40 in
  • Average basal metabolic rate 10.428 W AnAge
See also:  To Get Rid Of Raccoons

Where do they live?

Raccoons are native to both the Neotropical and Nearctic regions. They have also been introduced to the Palearctic region. They are found across southern Canada, throughout most of the United States, and into northern South America. They have been introduced to parts of Asia and Europe and are now widely distributed there as well. (Nowak, 1991; Wilson and Ruff, 1999)

What kind of habitat do they need?

Raccoons are extremely adaptable. They can be found in many kinds of habitats, from warm tropical areas to cold grasslands. Raccoons prefer to live in moist woodland areas. However, they can also be found in farmlands, suburban, and urban areas. Raccoons prefer to build dens in trees, but may also use woodchuck burrows, caves, mines, deserted buildings, barns, garages, rain sewers, or houses. They easily live near humans. They require ready access to water.

  • These animals are found in the following types of habitat
  • temperate
  • tropical
  • terrestrial
  • Terrestrial Biomes
  • savanna or grassland
  • chaparral
  • forest
  • rainforest
  • scrub forest
  • Wetlands
  • marsh
  • swamp
  • bog
  • Other Habitat Features
  • urban
  • suburban
  • agricultural
  • riparian
  • estuarine
  • intertidal or littoral

How do they reproduce?

During the mating season, raccoon males frequently expand their home ranges, presumably to include the home ranges of more females as potential mates. Females are sometimes found temporarily denning with males during the mating season. After mating there is no association of males and females. (Wilson and Ruff, 1999)

Raccoons generally have one litter per year. Litter sizes range from 3 to 7, but are typically 4. A period of 63 to 65 days pass from the time that they mother becomes pregnant to the time that the babies are born. Sexual maturity often occurs in females before they are one year old, and in males at two years. Mating season is from February through June, with most mating in March. Northern populations tend to breed earlier than southern populations. Young are born blind and helpless in a tree den, their eyes open at 18 to 24 days of age, and they are weaned after 70 days. By 20 weeks old the young regularly forage with their mother at night and continue to stay in the den with her. Mothers and young often den nearby even after they have reached maturity. (Nowak, 1991; Wilson and Ruff, 1999)

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • iteroparous
  • seasonal breeding
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual
  • fertilization
  • viviparous
  • How often does reproduction occur? Raccoons breed once yearly.
  • Breeding season Mating occurs from February to June, peaking in March.
  • Range number of offspring 3.0 to 7.0
  • Average number of offspring 4.0
  • Average number of offspring 4 AnAge
  • Range gestation period 63 to 65.0 days
  • Average weaning age 70.0 days
  • Average time to independence 10 months
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female) 8.0 to 12.0 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male) 24 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    Sex: male 365 days AnAge
See also:  Keep Pests Out of Your Vegetable Garden

Females nurse, care for, and protect their young exclusively. The young remain with or near their mother throughout their first winter. (Nowak, 1991; Wilson and Ruff, 1999)

  • Parental Investment
  • altricial
  • pre-fertilization
    • provisioning
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-independence
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female

How long do they live?

Raccoons may live up to 16 years in the wild, but most don’t make it past their second year. If they survive their youth, raccoons may live an average of 5 years in the wild. The primary causes of death are humans (hunting, trapping, cars) and malnutrition. A captive animal was recorded living for 21 years. (Nowak, 1991)

  • Range lifespan
    Status: wild 16.0 (high) years
  • Range lifespan
    Status: captivity 21 (high) years
  • Average lifespan
    Status: wild 5 years
  • Average lifespan
    Status: wild 20.0 years Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

How do they behave?

Raccoons are nocturnal and seldom active in the daytime. During extremely cold, snowy periods raccoons have been observed sleeping for long periods at a time, but do not hibernate. Raccoons tend to stay by themselves; however, a mother and her young will stay together for a period after birth. They shuffle when they walk; however, they can reach speeds of 15 miles per hour on the ground. Raccoons climb easily and are not bothered by a drop of 35 to 40 feet. As well as being excellent climbers, raccoons are strong swimmers. (Nowak, 1991; Wilson and Ruff, 1999)

  • Key Behaviors
  • scansorial
  • terricolous
  • nocturnal
  • crepuscular
  • motile
  • sedentary
  • solitary

Home Range

How do they communicate with each other?

Raccoons have a highly developed sense of touch. Their human-like front paws enable the raccoon to handle and open prey and climb with ease. They usually pick up food with their front paws before putting it in their mouth. With their fine sense of hearing raccoons are also especially alert. Similarly, raccoons have excellent night vision. (Nowak, 1991)

  • Communication Channels
  • visual
  • tactile
  • acoustic
  • chemical
  • Perception Channels
  • visual
  • tactile
  • acoustic
  • chemical

What do they eat?

Raccoons are omnivorous and will eat most things that they find. Corn may make up a large part of the diet in agricultural areas. Crayfish, insects, rodents, frogs, fish, and bird eggs are all possible components of a raccoon’s diet. Raccoons consume more invertebrate prey than vertebrate prey. In some areas raccoons eat more fruits and nuts than animal prey. In areas populated by people, raccoons also include trash and other foods in their diet. (Nowak, 1991; Wilson and Ruff, 1999)

  • Primary Diet
  • omnivore
  • Animal Foods
  • mammals
  • amphibians
  • reptiles
  • fish
  • eggs
  • carrion
  • insects
  • terrestrial non-insect arthropods
  • mollusks
  • aquatic crustaceans
  • Plant Foods
  • roots and tubers
  • seeds, grains, and nuts
  • fruit

What eats them and how do they avoid being eaten?

Raccoons escape many predators by remaining inactive during the day in a den. While active they remain alert and can be aggressive. They are preyed on by large predators such as coyotes, wolves, large hawks, and owls. Their young may be taken by snakes as well.

  • Known Predators
    • coyotes (Canis latrans)
    • gray wolves (Canis lupus)
    • large hawks (Accipitridae)
    • owls (Strigiformes)
    • snakes ( Serpentes )
See also:  When Do Baby Raccoons Leave The Nest

What roles do they have in the ecosystem?

Raccoons impact the population sizes of their primary prey items. In some areas where they eat mainly one type of prey, such as crayfish, clams, or insects, this can have a large impact on community composition.

Do they cause problems?

Raccoons may be a nuisance to farmers. They can cause damage to orchards, vineyards, melon patches, cornfields, peanut fields, and chicken yards. Their habit of moving on to the next ear of corn before finishing the first makes them especially damaging to fields of both sweet corn and field corn. Raccoons also carry sylvatic plague, rabies, and other diseases and parasites that can be transmitted to humans and domestic animals. (Nowak, 1991; Wilson and Ruff, 1999)

  • Ways that these animals might be a problem for humans
  • injures humans
    • carries human disease
  • crop pest
  • causes or carries domestic animal disease

How do they interact with us?

Raccoon fur has been harvested for a long time. During the 1920s, «coon» coats were popular making the fur of one raccoon worth about $14. Although demand is no longer as high, raccoon fur may still be sold as imitation mink, otter, or seal fur. Raccoons are also eaten in some areas. (Nowak, 1991)

  • Ways that people benefit from these animals:
  • food
  • body parts are source of valuable material

Are they endangered?

Since the turn of the 20th century raccoon populations have grown and their distribution may have expanded. Their ability to adapt to human-dominated landscapes has contributed to their expansion in numbers and range. On the other hand, small isolated island populations of raccoons may be threatened. Some populations on islands in the Caribbean are rare and some may have become extinct. (Nowak, 1991; Wilson and Ruff, 1999)

  • IUCN Red List Least Concern
    More information
  • IUCN Red List Least Concern
    More information
  • US Federal List No special status
  • CITES No special status
  • State of Michigan List No special status

Some more information.

Raccoons are commonly associated with washing their food. Their latin name, lotor, means «the washer.» People sometimes keep young raccoons as pets, because they are curious and intelligent. Once grown, however, raccoons can be quite destructive in and around homes.


Tanya Dewey (author, editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Rebecca Fox (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.


League, K. 2005. «Wildlife Species: Procyon lotor» (On-line). Fire Effects Information System. Accessed June 30, 2005 at http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/wildlife/mammal/prlo/.

Nowak, R. 1991. Walker’s Mammals of the World . Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Wilson, D., S. Ruff. 1999. The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals . Washington, D.C.: The Smithsonian Institution Press.

Fox, R. 2001. «Procyon lotor» (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 27, 2020 at http://www.biokids.umich.edu/accounts/Procyon_lotor/

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
Copyright © 2002-2020, The Regents of the University of Michigan. All rights reserved.


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