live in North and Central America. They like to live by water and
they swim well. They will also wash their food if they live by
water. Raccoons have been moving north because the climate
is better. They are not afraid of humans and look for food in
gardens and garbage cans.
The raccoon is grayish-brown, about 31-39 inches long,
and from 15-30 pounds. This animal looks like a robber because it
has black patches on its face that look like a mask. There are six
or seven black stripes on its tail.
Raccoons find their food on the ground or in the
water. They will catch food and roll it around on the ground.
They like insects, earthworms, crabs, mussels, snails, frogs, and bird
eggs. They also like berries, fruit, leaves, and corn.
Raccoons are nocturnal.
During the fall, raccoons fatten up for the winter on
acorns. They will lose almost half of their weight by the end of hibernation.
When it gets really cold [below 25 degrees Fahrenheit], the raccoon will
go to its den to sleep. Dens are usually in hollow trees and
logs. Raccoons have lots of different trees where they like to sleep
and they go to a different one every night. Sometimes they use the
ground burrows of other animals
to sleep in during winter. They do not usually hibernate alone, but
have others with them. In warmer climates, raccoons stay active all
Raccoon hibernation is more like torpor.
This torpor is like bears do. They
wake up from time to time during winter and might even go out to hunt a
little. They eat and then go back to sleep. Their heartbeats
and breathing slow down, but not as much as hibernator bodies do.
Raccoons mate in January and February. The female
raccoon is pregnant around 65
days and gives birth to 1-6 babies each time. The babies have the
'face mask' when they are born. They stay with their mother for 4-10
months and then leave. They will find someplace farther away for their
The enemies of raccoons are people, pumas and
jaguars. Most raccoons live until they are six years old.
This is a smart animal. Scientists say that
raccoons are as smart as primates.
They use their paws to tell what something is, just like we use our hands.
Back to Hibernation