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Wonderful And Interesting Facts About Raccoons

Wonderful and interesting facts about raccoons. The raccoon got its name for the characteristic movements it makes when extracting a frog from under the snag, or washing the delicious spine from the mud.

Wonderful And Interesting Facts About Raccoons
Wonderful And Interesting Facts About Raccoons

The word raccoon comes from the Indian word "Arakan" which means "he scratches with his hands. American colonists began to lower the sound of "a", referring to this animal, and it began to be called "raccoon".

With its general appearance, movements, and curiosity, the raccoon is very similar to a bear. It is not without reason that the Indians, natives of North America, called it 'the bear's little brother'. In Azerbaijan, where raccoons were brought in the early 20th century, this similarity was also noticed, hence the local name - "Balaji ai" - the little bear.

People have been hunting raccoons for furs - one of the most expensive furs of wild animals in North America. Back in the 19th century, the raccoon skin as a means of payment in America. But intensive hunting did not lead to a serious reduction in the number of animals.

Nowadays, in their homeland, in America, raccoons get along well with people: in search of food often go to villages and the outskirts of cities. This cute animal with a sly, pointy face has become the hero of many comics and cartoons.

Facts about raccoons area of distribution and habitats

  • The natural range of the raccoon is Central and North America, from the Panama Isthmus to the St. Lawrence River, which includes the southern provinces of Canada and the U.S. territory except Utah, Nevada, Rocky Mountains.
  • In the early 20th century, raccoons started to be bred on animal farms in some European countries and in Russia.
  •  In 1936, the first experiments on the acclimatization of this animal began in several regions of the Soviet Union: in Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kirgizia, Primorsky Krai, and Central Asia. 
  • Within a few years, about one and a half thousand animals were released. The raccoons adapted most successfully to the new conditions in Belarus and Azerbaijan. At present, specially released, as well as escaped from the animal farms raccoons have settled in many European countries.
  • Raccoon-poloskun is found in a wide variety of biotopes. The most important condition is the presence of a nearby reservoir - a river or lake. It prefers lowland or plain areas. Often found on the outskirts of fields, in gardens, other wooded areas enter the suburbs.

Facts about raccoons appearance and morphology

A small, stocky beast the size of an average dog: the length of the body of a raccoon is on average 65 cm, tail - 25, height in the crest 30-35 cm. The weight of the animal is from 5.4 to 15.8 kg, on average 6 kg. Males are heavier than females by about 10-30%. The head is wide, muzzle sharp and short. The ears are small and blunted at the end. The legs are relatively short, the soles of the legs are bare. Toes long, mobile, almost as dexterous as monkeys. The claws are not retracted.

Wonderful And Interesting Facts About Raccoons

The color of this beast is yellowish-gray, with an admixture of black. On the muzzle is a very characteristic "mask": from the forehead to the tip of the nose stretches a black and brown stripe, and from the eyes down and on the cheeks are two wide black stripes, fringed with white wool above the eyes and at the end of the muzzle. On the sides of the head, the wool is slightly elongated, forming sideburns. There are 5-7 wide rings of grey yellow and black-brown in the tail. The fur of the raccoon is long and fluffy.

The raccoons have excellent night vision and sharp hearing. Despite the apparent clumsiness, the raccoons are excellent at climbing the trees, and downhill, thanks to the movable feet, which can rotate almost 180 degrees. Raccoons are able to climb horizontal branches just like monkeys or sloths, hanging on them with his back down.

Facts about raccoons lifestyle and social organization

The lifestyle of the raccoon is dusky-night: during the day this animal sleeps somewhere in the hollow, which can be located quite high above the ground - at a height of 20-30 meters. Normals do not dig, they use ready-made ones, evicting their owners (foxes, badgers), or occupy the abandoned ones. Dwelling can be in a crevice of rock or just a pile of deadwood. At twilight, the raccoons leave the shelter and roam in search of food in their area. Hurriedly moving, the animals can walk up to 2.5 km at night.

The size of the individual site of the raccoon depends on many factors and can vary from 0.1 sq. km in the suburbs to 50 sq. km in the steppes. In the agricultural areas of North America, the area of the raccoon habitat is 1-4 square kilometers. Males live alone, young raccoons stay with their mother during the first year of life on her plot. As they grow older, the youths settle, and the males leave the mother's lot for much longer distances than females, who usually stay nearby.

During the meetings, male neighbors begin to growl with their heads down and teeth shining, and the hair on the neck is ruffled - animals in all its forms make it clear that they are not happy to meet. After such a ritual, they usually split up, not bringing it to a fight. However, if there is an abundance of food, for example, in a dump, the animals are much more loyal to each other and can feed at a distance of several meters.

Raccoon-poloskun is the only representative of the family of raccoons, which with the onset of winter plunges into a long sleep. In Canada, it lasts 4 months. The raccoon sleep is shallow and intermittent. In warm weather, a raccoon sometimes wakes up and can wander for several hours near the den. In cold weather, the raccoon climbs into his home again and falls asleep.

Facts about raccoons nutrition and feed behavior

Raccoons feed mainly on the ground, coming down from the trees where they rest. These animals are omnivores, and the diet is expressed in a seasonal change of feed. In spring and early summer, the diet is based on animal feed, in the second half of summer and autumn, he prefers plant food.

Wonderful And Interesting Facts About Raccoons

Raccoons eat a variety of insects and their larvae, earthworms, snails, frogs, crayfish, fish, and rodents. Sometimes they catch and eat muskrat, squirrels, rabbits, and bird eggs. In summer, they gladly eat a variety of berries and nuts, visit vegetable gardens and feed on the growing cultures there, including potatoes. From time to time raccoons raid insect nests, including hornets, bumblebees, termites, and ants, mostly because of the larvae. Thick fur and a layer of fat protect these animals from the stings of angry insects. Coon-crawlers swim well, although they are reluctant to do so. In the water, the raccoons extract water animals, while using their sensitive fingers. Living near people, raccoons willingly dig in the garbage, looking for food, often climb into the poultry houses.

In the northern areas of the range for the raccoon is an extremely important high-calorie diet, because the animals must accumulate enough fat to spend during winter sleep. Fat accumulates throughout the body, even in the tail, and its layer, especially on the back, reaches a thickness of 2.5 cm.

Facts about raccoons reproduction and raising offspring

In the northern areas, the breeding season of the striped raccoon begins in February-March, while in the south of the range raccoons can breed all year round. Males mate, as a rule, with several females. The female has only one chosen one, who soon leaves her and does not take any part in the breeding of the offspring.

The cubs are born in 9-10 weeks in a cozy hollow, they can be from 1 to 7. They are edentulous, blind, weighing 60-75 g, and covered with short light brown wool, the characteristic coloring of the muzzle is absent. Black and white stripes on the head and tail begin to appear only after 10 days of life. Babies' eyes open for 15-20 days, and ears - for 18-24 days. The mother feeds them with milk for 3 months, at the age of 4-5 months young animals become independent. As a rule, the brood stays with the mother until winter, but many young animals stay with her until the next breeding season. Some young females become mothers themselves as early as a year old, their male peers are allowed to breed as older brothers much later.

  •  Life expectancy

Raccoons in nature can live up to 12-14 years, in captivity a little longer.