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Let Me In There
These four raccoons, posed for another picture. The little guy in the back was trying to get in, but he couldn't make it in on time before the shutter clicked. They are pretty funny raccoons. All the animals love this stump!The raccoon (Procyon lotor) is a native mammal, measuring about 3 feet long, including its 12-inch, bushy, ringed tail. Because their hind legs are longer than the front legs, raccoons have a hunched appearance when they walk or run. Each of their front feet has five dexterous toes, allowing raccoons to grasp and manipulate food and other items .Raccoons prefer forest areas near a stream or water source, but have adapted to various environments throughout Washington. Raccoon populations can get quite large in urban areas, owing to hunting and trapping restrictions, few predators, and human-supplied food. Adult raccoons weigh 15 to 40 pounds, their weight being a result of genetics, age, available food, and habitat location. Males have weighed in at over 60 pounds. A raccoon in the wild will probably weigh less than the urbanized raccoon that has learned to live on handouts, pet food, and garbage-can leftovers. As long as raccoons are kept out of human homes, not cornered, and not treated as pets, they are not dangerous. Facts about Washington Raccoons Food and Feeding Habitats
•Raccoons will eat almost anything, but are particularly fond of creatures found in water—clams, crayfish, frogs, fish, and snails.
•Raccoons also eat insects, slugs, dead animals, birds and bird eggs, as well as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Around humans, raccoons often eat garbage and pet food.
•Although not great hunters, raccoons can catch young gophers, squirrels, mice, and rats.
•Except during the breeding season and for females with young, raccoons are solitary. Individuals will eat together if a large amount of food is available in an area. Den Sites and Resting Sites
•Dens are used for shelter and raising young. They include abandoned burrows dug by other mammals, areas in or under large rock piles and brush piles, hollow logs, and holes in trees.
•Den sites also include wood duck nest-boxes, attics, crawl spaces, chimneys, and abandoned vehicles.
•In urban areas, raccoons normally use den sites as daytime rest sites. In wooded areas, they often rest in trees.
•Raccoons generally move to different den or daytime rest site every few days and do not follow a predictable pattern. Only a female with young or an animal “holed up” during a cold spell will use the same den for any length of time. Several raccoons may den together during winter storms. Reproduction and Home Range
•Raccoons pair up only during the breeding season, and mating occurs as early as January to as late as June. The peak mating period is March to April.
•After a 65-day gestation period, two to three kits are born.
•The kits remain in the den until they are about seven weeks old, at which time they can walk, run, climb, and begin to occupy alternate dens.
•At eight to ten weeks of age, the young regularly accompany their mother outside the den and forage for them selves. By 12 weeks, the kits roam on their own for several nights before returning to their mother.
•The kits remain with their mother in her home range through winter, and in early spring seek out their own territories.
•The size of a raccoon’s home range as well as its nightly hunting area varies greatly depending on the habitat and food supply. Home range diameters of 1 mile are known to occur in urban areas. Mortality and Longevity
•Raccoons die from encounters with vehicles, hunters, and trappers, and from disease, starvation, and predation.
•Young raccoons are the main victims of starvation, since they have very little fat reserves to draw from during food shortages in late winter and early spring.
•Raccoon predators include cougars, bobcats, coyotes, and domestic dogs. Large owls and eagles will prey on young raccoons.
•The average life span of a raccoon in the wild is 2 to 3 years; captive raccoons have lived .Viewing Raccoons Raccoons can be seen throughout the year, except during extremely cold periods. Usually observed at night, they are occasionally seen during the day eating or napping in a tree or searching elsewhere for food. Coastal raccoons take advantage of low tides and are seen foraging on shellfish and other food by day. Trails Raccoons use trails made by other wildlife or humans next to creeks, ravines, ponds, and other water sources. Raccoons often use culverts as a safe way to cross under roads. With a marsh on one side of the road and woods on the other, a culvert becomes their chief route back and forth. Look for raccoon tracks in sand, mud, or soft soil at either end of the culvert. In developed areas, raccoon travel along fences, next to buildings, and near food sources.
July 11th, 2012
Viewed 307 Times - Last Visitor from Raymore, MO on 12/11/2014 at 10:32 AM
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