The raccoon is among the most fascinating and intelligent wild animals. The raccoons are found in seven species. Previously it was believed that raccoons are solitary animals, but new evidence has revealed that raccoons do live in packs in male and female groups. Related female raccoons may share a common place where they meet to eat or sleep. The male raccoons can live in a group of four, and they come together to protect their positions against invaders and predators. This is especially so during the mating period. Raccoons mark their place with the use of glandular secretions, feces and urine. They are normally distributed using the anal glands.
The males tend to be solitary, but the matriarchal family group may be very social and they can den and feed together during the fall. The raccoons are considered to be nocturnal animals, but sometimes they end up foraging even during the day. This happens mostly with nursing mothers. The raccoons do not hibernate, but in the winter they will reduce their activity and will be in torpor. The winter also is their mating period. During the mating period, the raccoons may scream, whistle, mew or growl. The baby raccoons will also learn how to make noises while they are still young, and they can make over 200 sounds.
Raccoons like to inquire about things around them, and they will always take time to investigate their surroundings, especially a crevice or a smell. The raccoons will make their home in forests, plains and wetlands. As civilization destroys their habitat, they have learned how to live in urban places. They like to stay in places where it is heavily wooded with some mixture of hardwood and evergreens where there is a lake, stream or river.
Even if they are together, they will not make their dens themselves but will rely on the natural process or the burrows of other animals. The raccoons may live in tree cavities or round dens. However, the preferred den is a tree den for the raccoons that want to raise young ones. An active den tree may be identified by looking for claw marks and worn bark. Raccoons live in dens that have 4 to 10 inch openings, and they should be at least 15 inches above the ground sheltered away from wind and rain. The raccoons will often live in brush piles, rock crevices, hay stacks, car bodies and abandoned buildings.
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