Where Do Raccoons Like To Live

Where do raccoons live ?

Wiki User
October 12, 2015 9:42PM

Raccoons are quite adaptable and live in a variety of habitats

in North and South America — including forests, swamps, deserts and

even do quite well living in towns and cities. Click on

target=»_blank»>this link for a range map of the raccoon. They

are found in all states except Alaska and Hawaii. They have also

been introduced to parts of Asia and Europe.


Where Do Raccoons Like To Live

Life and Habitat

Raccoons are found across most of North America, and their numbers and range have grown considerably over the course of the last 50 years, as raccoon hunting has abated, and farm and suburban habitat has expanded into once densely forested areas.

Raccoons have adapted well to urban life and are among the most common species found in cities and towns. The ideal raccoon habitat is an area with small stands of timber bordering corn and vegetable fields, and with water close by.

Raccoons are omnivorous and will eat everything: crayfish, grasshoppers, grapes, corn, worms, beetles, walnuts, cherries, mice, bird eggs, small snakes, acorns, berries, garden vegetables, and soybeans.

It’s common to find raccoons raiding garbage cans and dumps, and many urban raccoons «commute» to their food sources via storm sewers, sometimes traveling miles underground from denning woods to restaurant dumpster banquets.

A large number of raccoons are struck by cars as they are feeding on other road-killed animals such as snakes, turtles and possums.

Like groundhogs, raccoons are eating machines that need to put on thick reserves of fat in order to supply them with energy and warmth through the winter months. Though raccoons do not hibernate, they may lay up in their dens for a month at a time during severe weather, and are capable of going through winter without eating at all.

Raccoons do not construct their own den sites and are quite flexible and eclectic in their housing choices. While hollow trees are a common nesting location, so too are barns, attics, old squirrel nests, large forks in tree limbs, crawl spaces under houses and sheds, abandoned cars, brush piles, rock clefts, and groundhog holes.

A study of over 300 raccoon dens found 89 in hollow trees, 29 in tree nests, 99 in tree roosts, 24 in rock dens, 66 in ground dens, and 2 in barns.

Though normally solitary, it is not unusual to find several raccoons using the same denning hole or barn loft. In most cases this will be one large male raccoon with several young female raccoons — a kind of harem.

Outside of the breeding season, raccoons will change holes and denning locations on an almost nightly basis.

Raccoon skull side, and from top.

Like red fox and groundhogs, raccoon weights can vary considerably, depending on the age and sex of the animal and how far north it lives. Raccoons as large as 48 pounds have been reported in Maine, Minnesota and Wisconsin, while most raccoons tip the scales at between 12 and 22 pounds.

Raccoons are the most common carriers of rabies in the United States, especially in the east. While your dog is immunized against rabies, you are probably not, and every precaution should be taken to avoid being bitten. Above all, stay away from animals that are walking around in daylight and that seem either fearless or lethargic — rabies shots are expensive and painful!

Raccoons mate in January through March, and litters of 3 to 6 are born between April and May after a gestation period of about 63 days. Baby raccoons weigh just 2 oz at birth, but add weight quickly.

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At seven or eight weeks of age, baby raccoons will begin clamoring out of the den mouth in order to play, and shortly afterwards they will begin to follow their mother on her foraging expeditions.

Young raccoons are weaned by mid summer, and have generally dispersed to live their own soliatary lives by autumn.

Females reach sexual maturity at age one, and males at age two.

Raccoons can live up to 15 years in the wild, but few make it past their second year due to a combination of disease, malnutrition, feral farm dogs, coyotes, conflicts with automobiles and the occasional hunter and trapper.

Raccoons are very tactile animals, and use their hands to pick grapes and berries very much like a human would.

Raccoons have excellent hearing and night vision — both very useful for locating small quarry such as beetles, grasshoppers and crickets.

Raccoons are excellent climbers, and are one of the few animals that can descend a tree head-first — a feat accomplished by turning their paws 180 degrees.

Though raccoons can swim, they are reluctant to do so, and will rarely enter a garden pond if they cannot feel the bottom with their feet.

Raccoons rarely travel more than a quarter mile from their dens, though during breeding season males may travel up to four or five miles looking for a suitable mate.

Adult raccoons can be savage fighters if cornered. Few dogs can kill an adult raccoon without suffering great damage from ripping teeth and claws. If the raccoon is attacked in water, it will try to hold the dog’s head underwater until it drowns.

Raccoons have a variety of calls. These include hissing, barks and snorts which are uttered to express fear or as threat. In addition to these calls, raccoons may growl, snarl and squeal. To hear some typical raccoon sounds, go to http://terrierman.com/soundspage.htm

The home range and population densities of raccoon vary, depending on sex, age, season, food availability, and population density. A home range of 75 acres for males and 20 acres for females is about average, and in suitable edge habitat you can expect to find one raccoon every 40 acres or so.

Along with rabies — and the usual fleas, ticks and mange mites — dogs can also get Coonhound Paralysis. Coonhound paralysis is an auto immune sickness triggered by the dog’s body reacting violently to a protein found in raccoon saliva. Symptoms will show up a few days after you return from the field. The most common reaction is for the dog to get weak in the hind legs and gradually become more paralyzed. The dog may also lose control of its bladder and experience some difficulty breathing. If you have any of these symptoms, get your dog to a vet, and have the vet run a blood test to rule out rabies.

If it’s coonhoun paralysis, there’s not much the vet can do, as antibiotics do not work since there is no pathogen associated with the disease — it is simply the dog’s immune system reacting to a protein in the raccoon’s saliva. Keep your dog bedded down inside with plenty of water, food and rest, and it will probably get better within the month.


Where Do Raccoons Sleep? Where Do Raccoons Go During the Day?

Raccoons normally prefer living in wooded areas so that as soon as they feel any danger, they may climb up the trees. Therefore, open terrain is not one of their favorite places to thrive. During winter, they seek warm shelters and spend most of their time in their dens, going into a deep sleep (called Torpor), which is not true hibernation. Because raccoons are rarely visible in daylight, this makes most of us to wonder where do raccoons go during the day or perhaps more importantly, where do raccoons sleep or nest?

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Since raccoons are nocturnal mammals, they are mostly active after dawn and dusk. Even though they spend most of their daytime in sleeping, some female raccoons may occasionally come out during the day in search of more food.

Where Do Raccoons Live During the Day? Where Do Raccoons Sleep and Nest?

As far as raccoon habitat his concerned, this mammal usually occupies both mixed and deciduous forests. However, raccoons are highly adaptable mammals and they can adjust to almost any kind of environment. This explains why these animals are now present over an extensive range like in coastal marshes, mountains and urban settlements.

You will often find a sleeping raccoon within cracks of old trees. This is because hollows within old oaks and under the rocks are some of the preferred places where raccoons go during the day and sleep. They also use these old trees and rock crevices for winter denning. If a raccoon cannot find a place to den, it may use dense vegetation and burrows of other animals. Thus forests, woody plants and shrubbery are the places where raccoons go during the day.

Image copyright Sugata Banerji

Some of the common places where raccoons sleep and nest are rock clefts, small spaces under decks, homes or buildings that are no longer in use, barns, woods and abandoned nests and burrows of other animals (like squirrels). As weather becomes more pleasant and less harsh, these mammals mostly sleep on tree forks. In warmer days, they find it convenient to sleep on open shelters.

As winter sets in, raccoons seek out warm and cozy places for sleeping and denning. This is why they usually find their way into the attics, garage, walls because they are perfect winter denning sites for them. As a result, you will often spot a raccoon rummaging through trash cans in your backyard, garage or crawl spaces under the deck.

Where Do Raccoons Nest?

Normally, raccoons like to use dens or burrows of other animals. Due to their adaptable nature, they do not find it hard to settle in burrows or holes dug by other animals. For that reason, you will often see a raccoon using holes for denning as well as nesting purposes. Generally, however, they nest in hollows of old oak trees and take up spring or summer residence on ground. To avoid harsh cold winter, they may occasionally share their dens with other animals, like skunks.

Do Raccoons Live in Trees?

Raccoons mostly occur in places where vertical structures are abundant. For a raccoon, climbing up trees is a piece of cake since they are one of the best climbers. They can quickly climb up trees to make dens inside abandoned hollows or tree crotches. These animals prefer living in trees that have long branches. Actually, a mother raccoon will often live in a tree hole high enough to avoid predators and raise her young out of harm’s way. Moreover, one of the benefits for living on treetops is that it would be quite convenient for raccoon to attack the prey from above. Thus, trees provide them shelter as well as place to hide from predators.


Where Do Raccoons Live?

Generally speaking, raccoons tend to favor wooded areas close to water, often making their dens in trees and logs. However, they can also be found in a variety of other habitats, from prairies to marshes and even cities, wherever there is a ready source of food.

Raccoons are common throughout the United States, although they are rare in the desert regions of Nevada, Utah and Arizona as well as some parts of the Rocky Mountains. They can also be found in Mexico, Central America and southern parts of Canada.

Unless the mother raccoon is caring for her young, raccoons tend to be solitary creatures, living and hunting alone.


Where Do Raccoons Live? Raccoon Range and Raccoon Habitat

Raccoons are found throughout most parts of the United States and southern Canada. They also occur in South America i.e. from Mexico to its northern areas. Apart from the U.S., they were also introduced in various other continents i.e. Europe and Asia. Now let’s take a deep dive into the animal’s range and habitat and find out where do raccoons live in United States, Canada, Europe and other parts of the world.

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Where Do Raccoons Live in the World – Raccoon Range

Raccoons are native to the United States. They are normally found throughout the continent, except for few states. Apart from Procyon lotor (North American or Common raccoon), the remaining six species occur all over Central, South and North America. Besides, they are also found in the Caribbean Islands. The common raccoon is found from Canada to Panama.

Raccoons in Europe

Outside the United States, raccoons were introduced in various countries across the world. In the 1930s, the Soviet Union and Germany imported these mammals. Some of the other European countries where they occur today include West Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Today, the largest number of raccoons in the world (outside the U.S.) exists in Germany. In Europe, the German city called Kassel (at the northern Hasse) holds the densest population of raccoons i.e. every square kilometer hosts 50 to 150 raccoons. Likewise, they are also present in good numbers in northern France.

In Asia, they were successfully introduced in Japan as well.

Image copyright Wayne Wetherbee

Where Do Raccoons Live in Canada

In Canada, raccoons live throughout the country, except Labrador and Newfoundland. With time, as more and more area is cleared, the range of these mammals expand toward the north.

Raccoon Habitat

Raccoons do not restrict themselves to any specific habitat. Instead, they often occupy variety of habitats thanks to their ability to adapt perfectly to the surroundings. Since raccoons are extremely adaptable animals, they tend to occur in grasslands as well as tropical areas. Moreover, they are one of the few animals that also thrive on urban settings, including farmlands and suburbans.

These mammals inhabit swamps, forested areas and agricultural lands. Normally, they den in abandoned holes of trees and attic of urban houses. But they are mostly found living near ponds in moist woodlands.

Like us, they also require water, shelter and food sources to occupy any habitat. However, they usually prefer living in floodplain forests, marshes and hardwood swamps. They can also thrive on prairies and farmlands.

The range of these animals expands with the availability of food as well as growing number of people in a particular area. In winter when the food is in short supply, they move back to their dens and sleep for longer periods to conserve energy.

Image copyright Richard T.

The specific kind of habitat also determines raccoon population in a certain area. In agricultural areas, there are almost 5 to 10 raccoons in every square kilometer. On the contrary, each square kilometer in urban areas holds up to 100 raccoons.

Generally, raccoons do not prefer living in the open terrain. The winter denning of these mammals occurs mostly on hollow trees and logs. In places where such dens are unavailable, raccoons live in abandoned burrows of other mammals.

They seem to have little fear of humans which is why they usually settle in urban areas. In Canada and the U.S., they are present in suburbs like Toronto, Washington and Chicago. They are also found in Albuquerque, a city in the state of New Mexico. In the cities, the denning sites of raccoons occur in the nearby forested areas.

Since raccoons are nocturnal animals, they are rarely visible in daytime. For that reason, most people are curious about where do raccoons go during the day? Do they go to sleep in daylight hours or remain active and search for food all day long?


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