Raccoon

Height/Weight: Size: The Raccoon is a mammal of medium size, measuring 0.65 to 0.96 meter in length. It weighs between 6.5 and 16 kg. The male is usually larger than females.

Life Span: Raccoons usually survive for only 2 or 3 years in the wild, though they are also known to live for 13 years. The longest living record for raccoons is 22 years in captivity.

Habitat: It’s an animal found mainly in forests near fresh water streams and rivers. It is also found in small wooded countryside, suburbs and cities where it accommodates well to human presence. It is found throughout the United States, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

Raccoon - MapachiRaccoons are mammals native found throughout Costa Rica. The average raccoon is 16 to 28 inches in length and 8 to 20 lbs in weight which makes them the largest member of the procyonid family. Also males are perceived to be about 20 % much heavier than the females. Most raccoons sport a grayish coat, which insulates them during winters. They possess extremely adept front paws that are utilized for scrutinizing their food. They have a fur like mask on the skin surrounding their eyes often making them looks like bandits. They can be spotted at some national parks across the country.

This mask helps decreases the glare and thus improve their vision during nocturnal hours. Raccoons are generally nocturnal creatures and as such they hunt for food and are active during night hours. Their eye sight is not very well developed though their powerful sense of smell however makes up for it and helps them track their movements and communicate with other raccoons. Their auditory power is also extremely developed. They can hear the slightest sounds including insects moving underground. Like other members of the canines and feline family, raccoons use their urine and feces for the purpose of marking their territory.

The habitat of the raccoons is mostly in mixed forests of North America. They can be found in tree hollows and rocks. During winter they generally use burrows abandoned by other mammals. Raccoons are extremely adaptive mammals and can survive in a variety of habitats including mountainous regions, coastal areas and even some urban land.

Raccoon / mapacheThe raccoon’s diet during spring comprises mainly of insects, and other animals. They also feed on small birds and other mammals but usually prefer eating fish and amphibious creatures since they are easier to find. Raccoon’s incorporate plenty of calories to gain body fat to help them sustain the winters. Owing to the stored body fats, they can tackle the biting winters with ease. Come spring/summer and they can quickly shed their weight to accommodate the new weather.

Raccoons are omnivorous and as such their diet is extremely varied. They can virtually consume everything that they can lay their eyes on. Raccoon consume a huge variety of small aquatic creatures such as water crayfish, oysters, clams and insect larvae. On land they feast on insects, invertebrates, frogs, salamanders, turtles, snakes, birds, small muskrats and rabbits. An important part of their diet is vegetation. It also likes to feed on corn and berries.  With such a wide range of diet, it puts on a lot of weight during the winter season and weights about twice its original size. Though their sounds can be terrifying for a first timer, they are virtually harmless creatures who generally do not resort to aggression unless provoked.

Raccoons are known to be highly intelligent and perceptive creatures with research pointing out to the fact that they can recall things and task solutions going back up to three years. Though they are primarily terrestrial mammals, raccoons are also good swimmers and can survive in water for several hours.

The greatest challenge for the raccoon in the wild comes in the form of human encroachment, habitat destruction owing to modernization. Raccoon hunting and fur for fashion are some of the major reasons for the raccoons declining numbers. Some species of raccoons such as the Bahaman Raccoon have been listed in 1996 by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as endangered.

Know More About Raccoons

http://www.centralamerica.com/cr/moon/momammal.htm
http://www.costaricajourneys.com/raccoons-of-costa-rica/
http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/41686/0

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