Sunday fun Facts
This post is sponsored by SAASA and Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary
Fun Facts about Raccoons
Raccoon Latin name: Procyon lotor
DID YOU KNOW?
Raccoons have very nimble fingers on their front feet that enable them to untie knots, turn doorknobs and even open jars.
Raccoons are known for their unique habit of washing their food when they are close to water, however raccoons will not pass up a tasty treat if there is no water around to wash it in.
The front feet of the raccoon are similar to the hands of a human in both appearance and dexterity to allow to the raccoon to easily hold onto things.
The raccoon's scientific name, Procyon lotor , means "washer dog" although it is a closer relative to the bear family.
Population densities of raccoons in urban areas can be 20 times higher than for raccoons in rural environments.
Raccoons have a large array of vocalizations. They purr, whistle, growl, hiss, scream and even whinny.
In the wild raccoons live in a variety of places from tropical areas to busy cities. Raccoons are native to North America. Toronto, Canada has one of the biggest city raccoon populations.
Raccoons often live in busy cities as it provides a good, substantial food source for them.
A raccoon has extremely sensitive front paws, which only get more sensitive if they put them in water.
They have five fingers on each front paw. They can climb down trees head first by rotating their hind feet one hundred and eighty degrees.
A raccoon eats whatever it can find in its environment from bugs to plants. They catch a lot of their food by snaring it out of the water, such as crayfish and frogs although they also don’t mind eating fruit.
In the wild car accidents are a big killer of raccoons. The raccoon does not have many natural predators, although cougars, bob cats, and coyotes have been known to attack them.
Disease in cities is often another major killer of raccoons.
The English name for “raccoon” is derived from the Proto Algonquian language and it translates as “one who rubs, scrubs and scratches with his hands.” There is no relation between dogs and raccoons, so the English terminology seems to be more accurate.
There are seven different species of raccoon, but there is currently only one species of raccoon that is endangered the pygmy raccoon.
A group of raccoons is called a nursery or a gaze. Some dens contain up to thirty raccoons, although it is more common for them to contain around four.
Raccoons score a very high mammal IQ above cats and just below monkeys. They can open bins by using their paws to lift the lids. One study showed that raccoons can remember solutions to tasks for up to three years.
They have bushy ringed tails and a black mask across their eyes. It is not known why they have the black mask across their faces, but one thesis is that is enhances their ability to see at night.
They have very thick grayish brown fur, of which 90% is underfur to keep them warm.
In winter, they stay inside their dens, but they do not hibernate. Raccoons enter a state known as torpor this allows them to stay asleep and wrapped up in their dens for the winter period.
Males mate with many partners throughout one year, while females only have one. The female then raises the offspring alone and the male will continue to do the same every year.
Raccoons can run quite fast and they can fall from a height of 131 foot (40 meters) and be unharmed. Raccoons are also able to swim very quickly; these are all great abilities that help them to escape after stealing food!
Raccoon poo is tube shaped and generally two to three inches in length. People have compared it to looking like dog feces . It will often contain bits of undigested food. They often defecate in the same spot and then it builds up this is called a raccoon latrine.
Come back next week for more exciting fun facts from SAASA and Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary here on Lets Go Big Tunes blog page