The raccoon, Procyon lotor, is one of the most common found throughout . Originally the raccoon occupied hardwood forests that were close to water sources. Today the raccoon is found in a wide variety of and is commonly found living in suburban and urban environments. This adaptability has led to an increase in the raccoon population which can create conflicts among and people. A current concern with raccoons in and the Northeast is , a disease that has spread through the raccoon population and can be transmitted to humans through bites. The raccoon is considered a furbearer and is trapped for its coat. of raccoons also helps to control the raccoon population and control the spread of diseases like rabies. Vermont Wildlife Fact Sheet

Physical Description four young, but the number may increase in the raccoon be as low as three and as high as population and is the source of The raccoon is a medium seven. Raccoons have only one their problems with humans. sized being larger than a litter a year. Raccoons become house and smaller than most sexually mature at the age of one Predators domestic . Raccoons can year. weigh between 12 to 36 pounds The most common predator and can be as large as 23 to 28 Food Items of raccoons is humans that trap inches in length. Their coat is a and hunt raccoons. The raccoon mixture of gray and black which The raccoon is considered an is considered a very intelligent gives the raccoon a ‘salt and , which means they eat animal and is known for its pepper’ appearance. The two and . However, a ability to outwit human and most distinguishing features are better term may be optivore as animal predators. Raccoons are the black mask around the eyes the raccoon is an opportunist excellent climbers and and the black bands or rings on and will eat what is readily swimmers which allows them a the tail. These features have available. Food items found in variety of escape routes. It is helped to foster the idea that the the wild include waterfowl, conceivable that larger natural raccoon is a bandit of the wild. , mammals, insects, predators such as the mountain , wild grains, fruit, and lion, , and may prey Life Cycle (dead animals). on them, but raccoons do not Raccoons will also take human make a significant percent of Raccoons breed between food sources including , their diets. Raccoons are also January and mid March. The , garbage, and most known to be very aggressive young are born in late April to anything humans eat. This which aids in their ability to mid May. The average litter is varied diet has led to the escape .

Vermont & Wildlife Department FW 1/2009 Raccoon Fact Sheet ♦ Current Management

As stated in the introduction, Raccoons throughout the raccoon was originally an Colonial times to the present animal of the forest. However, have been hunted and trapped. since European colonization, The of the raccoon has been raccoons have been common used for clothing items ranging throughout most environments. from coats to . In certain Raccoons today are found in parts of the United States, the most areas that have access to a raccoon is also hunted as a food water source. They are item. Presently the spread of commonly found in urban, rabies throughout the raccoon suburban, and farming areas. population has brought added Raccoons will live in hollow concerns in terms of trees, ground dens, brush or and trapping. Hunters and rubbish piles, lumber yards, hay trappers should be very careful lofts, attics, and chimneys. They with dealing with animals so the use a variety of sites for rearing can be spread to humans. their young and for dens. Hunting and trapping seasons Raccoons in colder environ- allow for control of the raccoon ments will often den together in population and will slow the groups to conserve body heat spread and occurrence of and stay warm. diseases like rabies. An experimental rabies is Behavior being field tested in Vermont in an effort to slow the spread of The raccoon is a nocturnal the disease. If you see a raccoon animal, being most active at acting strange, stay well clear of night. Like the rest of their it and contact your local habits, they will modify their Warden. behavior when in search of food or water. The raccoon is a curious animal which at times can cause problems with humans. This has led to some people labeling them as mischievous and as bandits or robbers. Raccoons are also known for their habit of washing their food — this is not due to cleanliness. They wash their food so that they can grasp it better with their -like .

Raccoon Fact Sheet ♦