Raccoons are fuzzy creatures that have bushy tails and black masks that have fur which covers the eye area. The animals are cute and they look cuddly, but they are bandits that may become dangerous if they are approached. The raccoons may be as big as small dogs. They can grow to reach between 23 to 37 inches and they weigh from 4 to 23lbs.
Raccoons are found mostly in Central and North America and in Japan and Europe. They easily adapt to different environments and they live in different habitats and climates. They can make their homes in caves, trees and dens. They may also make their homes in man-made locations, abandoned vehicles and barns.
Even though raccoons are often too happy to turn human areas into their home, they may be vicious if they are approached by humans. Humans should be cautious when it comes to approaching the raccoons since they can carry leptospirosis, roundworms and rabies. Many experts discourage people from having raccoons as pets.
Raccoons are not very social and they are also nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. In the winter, they do sleep more but do not hibernate. They live off of stored fat. They end up losing over 50 percent of their body weight in the winter. Even though raccoons may look as if they are outlaws, they are clean creatures. They have been known to wash their food in streams and they may even dig latrines in the places they frequent most.
Raccoons are omnivores, meaning they eat meat and vegetation. The vegetation in their diet includes watermelon, figs, wild grapes, plums, citrus fruits, peaches, berries, persimmons, acorns, apples and cherries. Others are walnuts, corn and beech nuts. When it comes to meat, the raccoons will mostly consume invertebrates. The favorite foods of raccoons include bird eggs, rodents, insects, crayfish, fish and frogs.
The baby raccoons are known as cubs or kits and they are born in early summer. The females may have one to seven offspring. The gestation period can be from 60 up to 73 days. The babies will stay in the den in the first two months, and then at 12 weeks they start to move around more. The raccoons are fully grown at 8 to 12 months and they can live up to 3 years while in the wildness. Animals and humans have coexisted since the dawn of time.
There has been increased interaction between wild animals and people in the more recent times due to humans’ extensive development and encroachment on the natural habitats of numerous animals. This means it is more common for people to find wild animals such as raccoons, opossums, and deer on their property. Wild animals are known to be quite destructive and can carry dangerous diseases that can pose a risk to humans.
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