Why Do Raccoons Have Masks?

According to PBS, raccoons' masks might help the animals see better at night by reducing glare. The Adirondack Ecological Center suggests that the dark-contrasted facial fur and ringed tails help raccoons identify other members of their species.

The AEC also proposes that the mask emphasizes the animals' eyes during display behaviors, such as mating rituals and aggressive acts. PBS indicates that raccoons' bodies are primarily covered in gray-brown fur, and most of that is used for insulation. Their tails typically have five to eight rings. The animals have long back legs and front legs with extremely nimble and sensitive fingers. Their sense of touch is enhanced when used underwater.