So You Think You Know About Raccoons
Did you know:
The raccoons’ name is actually spelled two different ways: racoon and raccoon. It seems that it depends on which side of the pond (A.K.A. the Atlantic Ocean) you are on. Americans spell the word as raccoon, whereas the United Kingdom spells it racoon.
Raccoons (I am American, no insult to my U.K. friends out there!) as seen from the above statement, can be found in Canada, United States, Mexico, Finland, Germany and Russia. In actuality they are also found in all of Europe, having been introduced by the Asians. They can also be located in all of the rest of the world, each country/continent boasting its own species and subspecies.
The food chain is wide and varied. Their natural enemies are foxes and bobcats. However, they have also been known to be carried off by larger prey seekers such as owls and eagles. Unfortunately, the biggest danger known to raccoons is the automobile.
In turn, raccoons feast on a variety of foods such as berries, acorns and leaves. Did you know that they are omnivorous? They also feast on dragonfly larvae, clams, salamanders, frogs, snakes, grasshoppers, crickets, turtles (and their eggs), bird eggs as well as nestlings (baby birds) and fish. If you live in the suburbs, you know their buffet also includes garbage out of trash cans! In effect, I believe I can safely say they eat anything they do not deem as poisonous!
Raccoons can make about 7 different sounds that at times can sound a bit like a dog, and other times more like a cat! Maybe those purring cat sounds you hear at night are in fact raccoons instead! This is possible as raccoons tend to be nocturnal.
They have hand-like paws that are good at tearing things apart, much like we can with our fingers-which is why they can partake in a meal of crawfish or crab. However, they have their limitations as well. My mom once watched a raccoon reach into a hole to catch his prey. He apparently caught it, but as he tried to pull his fist out of the hole, it got stuck. He fought for a while trying to get his fist out. Alas, he had to let his prey go in order to pull his hand out of the hole!
Raccoons are also sometimes seen as pets. They are fun to watch and very entertaining. But as a warning, they are still considered wild animals and are feisty and unpredictable. They are not recommended as pets for those with young children. Also, they are illegal in many areas as pets so before considering this option, check with the game wardens or pet control department in your area.
By: Sharon Cacho