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Common Raccoon (or Racoon)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Procyonidae
Genus: Procyon
Binomial name
Procyon lotor
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Raccoon, native range in red, feral range in blue.

The Raccoon (Procyon lotor, Common Raccoon, or Coon) is a mammal. They are curious, clever, and solitary. Orginally from North America, they have spread through Central America, and live in various habitats. They have escaped in some parts of Eurasia (see map), and now live there as well. They are omnivorous.[1]

The raccoon's most distinctive features are its multi-purpose front paws, its facial 'mask', and its striped tail. Raccoons are noted for their intelligence. Studies show they are able to remember the solution to tasks for up to three years.[2] Raccoons are usually nocturnal. Their food is about 40% invertebrates, 33% plant foods, and 27% vertebrates.

Most raccoons live in the wild. Being around humans does not bother them. They often nest in empty buildings, garages, sheds, and even the attics of houses. Raccoons do not hibernate in the winter. Those that live farther north, where it is colder, grow thick coats to keep them warm and spend long periods sleeping. Raccoons in captivity can live up to 20 years. In the wild, they usually live only 1-3 years.

Two other species of raccoon, the crab-eating raccoon (P. cancrivorus) and the Cozumel Island raccoon (P. pygmaeus) are extremely similar to the common raccoon. The crab-eating raccoon is quite widespread in eastern South America.


  1. MacClintock, Dorcas 1981. A natural history of raccoons. Caldwell, New Jersey: The Blackburn Press. ISBN 978-1-930665-67-5
  2. Hohmann, Ulf; Bartussek, Ingo & Böer, Bernhard 2001. Der Waschbär. Reutlingen, Germany: Oertel+Spörer, pp. 71–72. ISBN 978-3-88627-301-0

Other websites

Media related to Procyon lotor at Wikimedia Commons
Data related to Procyon lotor at Wikispecies