One raccoon fact to tell kids is that they are mammals that are 24 to 38 inches long and weigh 14 to 40 pounds. They have grayish-brown fur with a black "mask" around their eyes and five to eight light and dark alternating rings on their tails. Males, also called boars, are a bit larger than the females, or sows. The young are referred to as kits.Continue Reading
Originally, raccoons only inhabited North America, but they were later introduced to Europe and Japan. Historically, raccoons lived only in wooded areas, but they have adapted to living in mountainous and wetter areas. In the wild, raccoons live 2 or 3 years, but they can live up to 20 years in captivity.
Raccoons eat almost anything, but they prefer marine animals, such as clams, fish, crayfish, snails and frogs. Insects, dead animals, nuts, seeds, birds and bird eggs are also on the menu for raccoons, and they sometimes catch and eat rodents. When living near humans, raccoons eat pet food and trash.
Raccoons can run as fast as 15 mph, and they are good swimmers. Although they do not hibernate during the winter, they can spend weeks sleeping in their dens.
Raccoons mate between January and June. A litter of two or three kits is born after a 65-day gestation period. The kits stay in the den for the first 7 weeks, then they begin accompanying their mother as she leaves the den and teaches them to forage for food. The kits remain in their mother's territory during the winter and strike out in the spring to establish their own territories.Learn more about Mammals