Raccoons are fascinating animals: smart, fast, skilled… and cute in appearance! But surely for more than one person, they are also great unknown. So today we want you to get to know them a little better. Don’t miss out on these raccoon curiosities!
The most surprising raccoon curiosities
These animals, native to America, are found today almost all over the world. However, they are still great unknown to many. Therefore, let’s discover the most interesting and curious facts about this animal.
1. They are very fast animals
Although their robust appearance may make you think otherwise, raccoons are quite agile and fast. They go up and down trees quickly and can run in open expanses at 15 mph.
2. They produce more than 50 vocalizations
Another of the most unknown raccoon curiosities is that this animal emits more than 50 vocalizations (complex sounds) in its communication with others of its species.
Among these vocalizations are whispers, grunts, hisses, and yells. Hopefully, understand them!
3. They adapt to many environments
Unlike other species, raccoons can adapt to different environments very easily.
It is true that forests are their natural habitat, but due to human hands (with deforestation and the export of these animals), they have become used to surviving in urban areas without problems.
They know how to make a living easily since they feed on whatever food is within their reach and they enter chimneys, roofs, abandoned houses, etc.
So much so, that it is estimated that raccoon populations are already 20% higher in cities than in fields.
4. They are omnivorous
Another interesting raccoon curiosity is that they are omnivores. They do not usually disgust anything: they eat worms, herbs, eggs, fruits, turtles, frogs, birds, small mammals and they can even take advantage of the meat of a dead animal.
5. They have amazing legs!
Without a doubt, this is one of the most surprising characteristics of this animal.
They can rotate their legs 180º, which helps them a lot when climbing trees. In addition, each leg has 5 toes and their claws are very strong. This allows them to grasp objects.
On the other hand, while other animals rely on their sight or hearing to hunt, raccoons rely on their sense of touch to find what they need.
Their front legs contain approximately four times more sensory receptors than their back legs. This allows them to do different things without seeing them (an interesting ability, being nocturnal).
6. They are born during the spring
Raccoon pups are usually born in litters of 3 to 5 individuals in the spring, just 2 months after mating has occurred.
The mother is very protective of her young, showing great aggressiveness to anyone who tries to get close to them.
Little raccoons open their eyes at 20 days of being born and it will be their mother who will teach them to hunt and climb.
7. At birth they do not have two of their main physical characteristics
Another of the curiosities of the raccoon to mention is that, at birth, this animal does not have the characteristic mask that they have on their face, nor with the rings on their tail.
8. A very important black mask
And speaking of that mask, don’t think that this is just an aesthetic feature.
Thanks to those black spots that form a kind of mask, they have been considered the thieves par excellence of the animal world for a long time.
However, and although they are petty thieves, that mask fulfills a very relevant mission. This helps them improve their vision a lot. How? Well, because it suppresses reflections since the black color absorbs light.
At night, when these animals are most active, perceiving less peripheral light helps them to observe the contrast between objects, essential for seeing in the dark.
9. Some people have them as pets
Considering having a raccoon as a pet for many is a great idea. In fact, they have one at home as a pet!
However, this is not advisable for several reasons. Raccoons can be very aggressive animals, they are not easily trained and have nocturnal habits.
All this can greatly complicate living together. Not to mention that in many places it is illegal to have a raccoon as a pet.
10. Invasive animals
In addition to being illegal in many places to have this animal at home as a pet, its entry is also prohibited in many countries of the world, as it is considered an invasive species.
In Spain, for example, it is. Due to illegal trafficking, many raccoons have entered the country in order to be someone’s exotic pet. Many of those people, seeing that the raccoon is not an animal to keep in captivity, have released it in fields or parks, where it has wreaked havoc on local crops, fauna, and flora.
To this day, raccoons continue to spread across the planet.
11. They are not as lonely as they may seem
Another of the curiosities of the raccoon is that a priori, it can seem a solitary animal. However, it is not or not always.
Males gather in groups to defend their territory and females often gather around rivers to share food.
12. They are very smart
Recent studies have shown that raccoons are capable of solving some simple problems.
In addition, the virality of social networks makes it very easy to find videos of these raccoons dazzling with their intelligence.
13. They have an ancestral name
Raccoon in English is a raccoon, a word that comes from Powhatan arounghcun, which means “animal that scratches itself with its hands.”
The native Aztecs were the first to notice the curious legs that these animals had. Therefore, the raccoon is considered to have the most skilled hands in nature.
14. They are nocturnal
As mentioned above, raccoons are animals that carry out their normal activities at night. This is one of the curiosities of the raccoon that usually surprises the most since it is quite normal to see them during the day.
15. There are many varieties of raccoons
Six species of raccoons are known to be native to North America and South America.
The most famous is the common raccoon ( Procyon lotor ), which lives in the United States. Other species are easy to find further south, especially on tropical islands.
16. Rebecca, the raccoon who lived in the White House
Rebecca was a raccoon who lived with Calvin Coolidge in the White House for part of his tenure.
Raccoon meat was pretty common on American tables for Thanksgiving. However, instead of having her for dinner, the Coolidge family decided to adopt her.
17. They can improve their sense of touch through “dousing”
This behavior involves the use of water. For example, in nature, they often dive into waters close to shore to look for food.
There, they take the food with their hands, examine it, and rub it. They even remove unwanted parts from it. This might give the impression that the raccoon is washing food, but what it really does is wet its paws to stimulate its nerve endings.
As with humans, light provides us with more sensory information, water does with raccoons.