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Raccoon

Overview

Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are found in all parts of Ohio. For many years our raccoon population has been growing. They have moved into towns and cities and can live almost any place where there is food for them to eat and a den to serve as shelter. Many of them live, temporarily at least, in drain tiles and sewer systems. There is little wonder why they are plump, as raccoons will sample anything that even remotely resembles food.

Description

Raccoons are normally gray or black in color with pale gray coloring underneath. They can also be red or blonde in color, although not as common. Their black mask is rimmed on top and bottom with white. The raccoon’s tail has four to six black or dark brown rings.

Reproduction

Raccoons mate from February through March in Ohio. Males will mate with several females during the breeding season. Typically only one litter is produced each year, but there can be more. Litter sizes consist of 3 to 7 young, 4 on average. Gestation lasts 63-65 days. Newborn raccoons are well furred with their eyes opening around 19 days. By the sixth or seventh week, the young are weaned and weigh about 1.5 pounds. The young raccoons will stay with the mother through the fall with some staying with her during the winter as well.

Habitat and Behavior

The raccoon prefers to live in wooded areas with big trees and lots of water close by. During the daytime, raccoons sleep in hollow trees or logs and other animals' abandoned dens. They are nocturnal and are up and about during the dark hours of the night. Even though the raccoon does not really hibernate, it can sleep for days and even weeks at a time during the cold winter months.

Raccoons are omnivorous and prefer to eat berries, acorns, baby birds, frogs and fish.