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Wildlife Raccoon Page


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 Raccoon
 Procyon lotor

Habitat: The raccoon is adaptable and occupies habitats ranging from hardwood swamps, marshlands, and upland mixed or deciduous forests in the East to riparian gallery forests, montane parks, and semidesert shrublands in the West. It is typically found near water. Raccoons need suitable den sites, which may be hollow trees, logs, rock crevices, caves, culverts, burrows excavated by other mammals, brush piles, muskrat houses, or buildings (usually abandoned but sometimes even while occupied by humans). They are opportunistic, and make much use of abandoned burrows (Berner and Gysel 1967, Shirer and Fitch 1970).

Diet: Raccoons are omnivorous opportunists, feeding on berries, garden and field crops, mast (acorns), and fruits including wild plums, cherries, and grapes. Animal food consists mostly of arthropods, especially crayfish, but birds, eggs, small mammals, fish, snakes, lizards, and amphibians are also eaten. Carrion from such large mammals as horses, cattle, and deer are consumed occasionally.

Description: Raccoons are stocky carnivores with bushy tails and relatively long legs. The forepaws have elongated digits adapted for searching, grasping, and manipulating food. The dorsal color is blackish to brownish gray and the underparts are paler grayish brown. The tail has four to seven dark bands separated by lighter bands of hair. The dark bands are usually complete ventrally. A blackish mask extends across the area of the eyes. The ears are conspicuous and rounded. Measurements are: total length 600-950 mm; length of tail 190-405 mm; length of hindfoot 80-140 mm; weight 1.5-22 kg.

Range in Colorado: Raccoons occur throughout Colorado along riparian corridors, to elevations of about 3,050 m (10,000 ft). Raccoons are reported from Trappers Lake at an elevation of about 3,050 m (10,000 ft) in northeastern Garfield County (McKean and Burkhardt 1978).


Status: CDOW Furbearer


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Raccoon Specific Links
  GAP Habitat Map


General Wildlife Links
  Colorado Audubon
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