Raccoons are seen as a nuisance animal much of the time. It’s easy to see why when they damage property but they’ve also learned to live with and near humans because they thrive with the food sources. They’re just trying to live and eat so maybe we should cut them some slack. Here are 5 interesting facts about what are commonly known today as ‘trash pandas’.
- Raccoons have a very large habitat range. They stretch from Panama in Central America all the way to central Canada. This includes in forests, prairies, marshes, crop fields, and cities. They have learned to live with and around humans and have learned humans leave food in a lot of places. It’s grown on farms, it’s left out for pets, it’s even in garbage cans.
- Raccoons are omnivores and will eat a wide variety of food. This is part of the reason they thrive around humans. This also makes them capable of living in a variety of different habitats. This is why they can thrive in habitats such as rainforests or deserts. They find food no matter where they are. They dig up insects, they eat bird eggs, they may even eat small rodents, or rabbits or chickens.
- Raccoons have two to five babies, called kits. They are raised by their mothers and will stay with her until they’re 13 or 14 months old. They are born with their little black masks so they will be recognizable to anyone who sees them. Female raccoons like to make a den in chimneys and tree hollows but will continue to return to favorite spots year after year.
- Raccoons can make a variety of vocalizations. Unlike cats, they use their vocalizations to communicate with one another. During mating season, males will make a harsh screeching sound but they also make chatters, squeaks and grunts. They also hiss and have been said to purr like cats.
- Raccoons don’t hibernate like other animals. During the warmer months, they eat so much so they can put on the extra fat to survive through the winter. They use this extra layer for warmth and energy. During the winter they reduce their activity to help save energy. Human developments and garbage also help them during the winter. It’s a source of food that wouldn’t be there in the wild. This is another reason they thrive around human activity.
Raccoons can be a nuisance but they are also just living in a way they thrive. Nuisance animals are only seen this way because they damage property or because a person doesn’t want them around. But, I would like to encourage you to think about why these animals are where they are and why they thrive where they thrive. And maybe cut them some slack as they lose their natural habitat.