When Is Raccoon Breeding Season
Breeding Cycle of Raccoons
- 1 Breeding Cycle of Raccoons
- 2 Video of the Day
- 3 Life Cycle
- 4 Males
- 5 Females
- 6 Young
- 7 Raccoon Nation — Raccoon Facts
- 8 It’s Raccoon Mating Season—5 Facts You Need To Know
- 9 1. Breeding season can start in January and ends in June.
- 10 2. Dens are usually temporary.
- 11 3. Raccoons will “den” where they feel safe and removed from humans.
- 12 4. You can prevent raccoons.
- 13 5. Raccoon relocation is illegal in Oregon and Washington.
- 14 What can I do about the raccoons on my property?
- 15 Raccoon Mating Season
- 16 Raccoon Removal Strategies | Video
Video of the Day
Raccoons are carnivorous mammals with omnivore tendencies. While they prefer meat, raccoons have a wide diet that includes berries, grasses, grains and crawfish. Nursing mothers, in particular, have a voracious appetite, often spending nights and days gathering food. For this reason, although raccoons are generally nocturnal, it isn’t unusual to see healthy raccoons during the day.
Breeding generally occurs in late winter. If the female is not bred during this time, she will come into estrus again in four months and can be bred at that time, giving birth to babies later in the summer. Most cubs, however, are born in April and May.
The average length of pregnancy for a female raccoon is 63 days. The mother typically has between one and seven cubs at a time, with an average litter of four. The cubs are born with fur and are mobile, although their legs cannot support them, so they scoot along on their stomachs for the first few weeks.
Males are capable of breeding with females in the first spring after they are born — however, due to the presence of older, more mature males, they typically do not participate in this first breeding season. After breeding with females, the male raccoon typically returns to his den for the remainder of the cold weather. While raccoons do not hibernate, they can spend long periods of time in their den without eating during the winter. Male raccoons do not couple with females thoughout the gestation period, and they have nothing to do with raising the cubs.
Females are typically ready to breed when they are about 10 months old. After breeding, they, like male raccoons, typically return to their dens for the remainder of winter. After giving birth, the mother spends most of her time gathering food for herself to keep her offspring nourished. She will keep the cubs in one spot for the first eight weeks. After eight to nine weeks, the cubs are mobile enough to travel with their mother.
At birth, raccoons are between 3 and 5 ounces, their ears are tightly folded against their head and their eyes are closed. After about three weeks, they begin to open their eyes and their ears become erect. By the time the cubs are six weeks old they can typically run and climb proficiently. At eight weeks, they leave the nest with their mother and are eating solid food. By the time they are four months old, the raccoon cubs are typically weaned from their mother, although the family typically stays together well into the fall, and in many cases until the following breeding season.
Raccoon Nation — Raccoon Facts
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.
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.
- 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.
It’s Raccoon Mating Season—5 Facts You Need To Know
1. Breeding season can start in January and ends in June.
Peak mating season is March through April, but raccoons will begin to breed as soon as the weather gets warmer. We recommend seasonal inspections of the outside of your home, to make sure prevention is in place before breeding season. Raccoons have a 65-day gestation, and they will remain in the den for up to 7 weeks after birth.
2. Dens are usually temporary.
Outside of the breeding season, raccoons will change dens frequently. They don’t build these dens, but rather take advantage of already empty spaces.
If you have a raccoon setting up camp in a tree outside, chances are they’ll be moving on in a day or so anyway. When it comes to your home, however, you’ll want to be sure they’re fully gone before boarding up the hole or taking other exclusion steps.
3. Raccoons will “den” where they feel safe and removed from humans.
When a female raccoon is going to breed and give birth, she’ll establish a more permanent den. Raccoons prefer to be off the ground in hollow trees, attics, and chimney flues. If these places aren’t available, they’ll look for places where they won’t be disturbed, like under homes, low clearance decks, and sheds.
Because she’s about to give birth to kits, she’ll be even more careful about her choice.
4. You can prevent raccoons.
Raccoons rely on their immediate surroundings. If you make your home inhospitable to raccoons, they won’t stay! These are the best and simplest ways to make sure you can prevent raccoons:
- Don’t feed raccoons
- Seal all sources of garbage
- Feed pets indoors
- Keep pet food away from pet door
- Close pet door at night
- Don’t put food in compost piles
- Instead secure in compost containers to prevent access
- Clean up outdoor food areas, such as barbecue areas or picnic tables
- Eliminate access to potential dens by filling or blocking all holes
- Talk to your neighbors
- If an entire area takes these prevention steps, your yard has a better chance of remaining raccoon-free
5. Raccoon relocation is illegal in Oregon and Washington.
We know it might be tempting to trap and relocate raccoons, but it’s illegal. Relocation has several serious consequences for both the raccoons and the surrounding environments, including the death of the raccoons, the spread of disease, and ecological collapse.
If you have a mother and kits under your porch or in another space on your property, don’t attempt to remove them physically. It’s always best to call a wildlife removal specialist as soon as possible, so the animals can be removed safely and you can minimize any structural damage caused by the animals.
What can I do about the raccoons on my property?
If these prevention steps aren’t working, or you’re concerned about the raccoons on your property, give Pioneer Pest Management a call. We can perform an inspection to make sure all of the available prevention steps are complete, and we can spot any particular areas that raccoons might take advantage of.
Raccoon Mating Season
Around Christmas we posted a blog concerning Raccoon Activity in the Winter.
In that post we noted:
Most mating among Ohio raccoons occurs in February and March. As the days lengthen (despite the cold) male raccoons sense the breeding season is just around the corner. When hormones dictate their activity, it seems they don’t mind the weather so much.
Biologists agree that breeding season can begin as early as late January here in Ohio. So even now, the male raccoons are starting to undergo the hormonal changes that dictates the breeding season.
Scouting forays to locate nearby females are common and account for some of the raccoon activity we are called to help solve this time of year.
Well, now that it is Valentine’s Day and mid-February, the anticipated breeding season activity of that post is here.
Raccoon Removal Strategies | Video
From a trapping perspective, raccoon movement = the ability to trap them efficiently & successfully.
Despite the lingering cold and snow, we are motivated to set raccoon traps because we know that they will be on the move. Males raccoons, especially, are covering ground trying to find receptive female raccoons.
In this video, Ryan demonstrates:
A month ago, Ryan probably would have advised to wait a while before traps were set. But, with movement in and out of denning sites regularly necessitated for breeding activity, trap setting is productive.
The set-up for this raccoon is very typical and all depends on raccoon movement.
From the inspection, Ryan knew where the raccoon was entering/exiting the home. He was able to capture the animal quickly by putting a trap right in its travel path.
The box trap Ryan used in the video is triggered by wires that hang down in the middle of the trap. The raccoon passes through the trap and brushes/pushes these pieces of wire. There is no bait.
The wire around the trap connected to the home ensures the raccoon doesn’t slip around the trap.
If the raccoon enters or exits at that spot, it will be captured.
Akron, Canton, Kent OH | Raccoon Control and Removal
Are amorous raccoons freeloading in your home this winter? If you think so, give us a call.
Their signs can be intermittent as the weather changes but, because of mating season, they are on the move and trappable.
The benefit of removing a pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant female from your attic now, before she gives birth, is significant.
For more on raccoons and raccoon removal here in the Canton, Akron, Kent area take a look at our other pages: