Raccoon

Raccoon

Raccoon

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Raccoon

Photo of raccoon
Procyon lotor
Family: 
Procyonidae (raccoons) in the order Carnivora
Description: 

Raccoons are medium-sized, stocky mammals with a prominent black mask over the eyes and a heavily furred, ringed tail about half the length of head and body, a pointed muzzle and short, pointed ears. The feet are rather long and slender, with naked soles. The upperparts of adults are grizzled brown and black, strongly washed with yellow. Males and females look alike, although males are heavier.

Size: 
Total length: 21½–38 inches; tail length: 5–12 inches; weight: 6–25 pounds.
Habitat and conservation: 
Raccoons prefer timbered habitat near water. They also may be found in urban and suburban areas. Dens are made in hollow trees, in caves, rocky crevices, abandoned woodchuck burrows and many other places. Hunters and trappers may pursue raccoons during furbearer season. In addition, the Wildlife Code of Missouri allows landowners to control raccoons that have become a nuisance. Check Hunting Regulations and Raccoon Control below for regulations and control details.
Foods: 
Raccoons eat both plant and animal matter, including persimmons, grapes, Osage oranges, blackberries, grasses, corn, acorns, pecans, and other nuts, as well as crayfish, clams, fish, snails, a wide range of insects, frogs, snakes, bird eggs, mice, squirrels, rabbits and more.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Common throughout the state, but most common in prairies and less abundant in the Ozarks and Bootheel.
Status: 
The state’s raccoon population reached a low point in the 1940s and has been rebounding ever since, in part due to regulated hunting and trapping as well as an increase in suitable habitat.
Life cycle: 
Raccoons have a home range of 1 to 10 square miles depending on habitat quality. Most active at night, they are usually solitary. Expert climbers and good swimmers, raccoons are curious, clever, and cunning. Most breeding occurs in February, and most litters are born in April or early May, though some litters are born as late as August. The young are usually weaned by August but stay with their mothers until the next spring.
Human connections: 
Raccoons are a valuable fur species; their fur is used for coats, collars, muffs and trimmings. Also, many hunters enjoy pursuing them with hounds, and the meat is delicious when roasted. Raccoons eat insects and mice and only rarely cause extensive damage to corn, gardens or chickens.
Ecosystem connections: 
Raccoons are valuable members of the ecosystem, functioning as herbivores, as carnivores, and as prey themselves. They help disperse seeds of the numerous fruits they consume.
Shortened URL
http://mdc.mo.gov/node/985