Raccoons are highly adaptable animals that are classified in the Procyonidae family. Within North America, there are seven species of raccoon.1 They can be found all over North America.2

In the wild, these animals prefer forests, wetlands, and places near water sources. However, because of their adaptability, they’ve found ways to thrive in major cities and suburbs. They are opportunistic eaters and will go after animals like crabs, frogs, and insects, but also enjoy fruit and nuts. They also will happily eat what they find in the garbage we throw out and any pet food they may find.2

They are very skilled in getting into the garbage because of their front feet. They are dextrous and extremely sensitive. Their sense of touch is thought to be better than any other mammal that isn’t a primate. Getting into trash cans is easy work for them.1&3  They are also very good at swimming and climbing.1

Although many people think raccoons hibernate, they actually don’t.1 They will, however, eat more in the fall to gain weight and prepare themselves for scarcer food supplies. They also will go dormant when needed, and this can last from a few days to a few months.3

In the wild, raccoons usually live up to five years, but can live four times longer than that in captivity. They face threats of predation from bobcats, coyotes, and mountain lions. Another huge threat is disease – especially canine distemper and rabies.1&3

What are other carnivores you’d like to learn about? Reply to this email or shoot us a message on social media! You can find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

All the best,
Chris & the WERC Team


  1. https://www.wildliferescueleague.org/animals/raccoons-facts-and-fancies/

  2. https://www.paws.org/resources/raccoons/

  3. https://www.britannica.com/animal/raccoon