The raccoon (Procyon lotor) is one of the most common medium-sized in . Originally, the raccoon occupied in hardwood forests with close proximity to a water source. Today, the raccoon is found in a wide variety of habitats and is commonly found in suburban and urban environments. This adaptability has led to an increase in the raccoon population, which has created conflicts between people and . The spread of is a serious concern in the northeast, which increases the chance of its transmission to humans. As a furbearer, the raccoon is trapped for its coat. and help manage its population to control the spread of diseases.

Vermont Fact Sheet

Physical Description . However, if a cavity is not mother for one year, by which readily available, she may find an time the young female will reach The raccoon is larger than alternative den, such as a , sexual maturity. A young male a house , but smaller than most to give birth to her young. raccoon does not reach sexual domestic . It can grow to a After a gestation period of maturity until it is two years of length of 23 to 28 inches, half of 60 to 73 days, the is born in age. A raccoon has one litter a which is its bushy , and weigh late April or May. The young, year. between 12 and 36 pounds. Its typically numbering four to five coat is a mixture of gray and but sometimes as many as eight, black, which gives the raccoon a are helpless and completely salt and pepper appearance. Its dependent on their mother for two most distinguishing features survival. The male raccoon plays Food Items are the black mask around its no role in raising the young. The eyes and the bands, or rings on its female is very protective of her Raccoons are , tail. Looking like thin , its young and will carry them around which means they eat both front have five digits each by the nape of the neck, as would and . However, a better and are extremely dexterous as a a mother cat with her . term may be optivoires, as the result. These features have added The young develop raccoons are opportunistic and to the viewpoint that the raccoon quickly. They are able to open will eat whatever is readily reputation that it is a bandit of the their eyes after 18 days and soon available. Examples of wild food wild. after gain the ability to hear. By items include waterfowl, , the time they are four-to-six mammals, insects, , wild Life Cycle weeks old, they are strong grains, fruit, and carrion (dead enough to stand on their own. animals). Raccoons will also take The raccoon breeds from They are weaned from their human food sources including January to mid March. After mother's and begin to hunt , , and garbage. This , the female will find a independently by the time they varied diet has led to an increase suitable den site, generally the are about three-months old. The in the raccoon population, which cavity of a tree such as a maple or young will remain with their Raccoon Fact Sheet 1 is the source of the conflict with a unit. In , raccoons increased. In spite of their humans. do not hibernate but do sleep vulnerability to disease outbreaks The raccoon is well more than during summer. and other limiting factors, their known for its tendency to "wash" During extremely cold weather, population is strong throughout its its food before eating it. raccoons occasionally den range. Although it appears to be washing together to conserve body heat the object, it is believed that it is but will part once the temperature Resource Utilization actually inspecting it for any rises. portions that should be rejected. Raccoons are very The raccoon plays an A raccoon's of touch is intelligent and are known for their important role in the ecosystem. enhanced when its paws are wet ability to outwit human and They are beneficial to humans and by feel, it will tear and predators alike. Raccoons because they feed on many discard any unwanted portions of are excellent climbers and potential , such as food. The raccoon only performs swimmers, which allow them a insects, and on carrion, assisting this ritual if water is close by. If variety of escape routes. They in eliminating decomposing no water is available, then it will have keen eyesight and a animal matter. They are also simply eat its food without further heightened sense of . hunted and trapped for food and inspection. They can also be very aggressive, for their valuable pelt. which aids in their ability to Habits & escape . Management Efforts

Raccoons were originally Abundance The of raccoons can be animals of the forest. However, used to produce items ranging since European colonization, Raccoons are common from coats to . In certain parts raccoons have become common throughout their range and of the United States, the raccoon everywhere. Today, raccoons are preferred habitat. They can be is also hunted for food. Presently, found in almost any area that has found throughout , but the spread of rabies throughout access to water. They can most are more common in mixed the raccoon population has often be seen along streams, in woodlands or agricultural fields brought added concerns in terms open forests, or wetlands but are near water. They are of hunting and trapping. Hunters inhabit urban, suburban and extremely adaptable to human and trappers should be very farming areas as well. Raccoons influence and can be found in careful when handling animals, as live in hollow trees, ground dens, both urban and rural areas. the can be spread to brush or rubbish piles, humans. Hunting and trapping lumberyards, haylofts, attics and seasons allow for control of the chimneys. They use a variety of History raccoon population and will slow sites for rearing their young as the spread and occurrence of well as for wintering dens. The raccoon has long been diseases like rabies. An Raccoons are nocturnal. harvested by humans for its fur experimental rabies is Like the rest of their habits, they and meat. Its pelt was in greatest being field tested in Vermont to often modify their behavior when demand during the 1920s, when slow the spread of rabies. If you searching for food or water. raccoon coats were extremely see a raccoon acting strange in Raccoons are curious animals, popular. Unlimited harvesting any way, stay away from it and which, at times, can cause placed enormous pressures on the contact your local warden problems with humans. This has raccoon population at this time by calling the nearest State Police led to some people labeling them and, as a result, their numbers Office. as mischievous and as bandits or plummeted. However, robbers. conservation efforts helped to Illustration: U. S. and Wildlife Raccoons are solitary and revive the raccoon population and Service/Bob Savannah are seldom seen together unless in their numbers have steadily Raccoon Fact Sheet 2