Raccoon Facts
Raccoon Facts

22 Amazing Raccoon Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published March 15, 2023
  • Raccoons live between 2–3 years in the wild.[3]
  • In 1926, U.S. President Calvin Coolidge refused to kill a raccoon meant for dinner and instead adopted her as a pet. Named Rebecca, the raccoon attended White House functions and even wore a collar with the words "White House Raccoon."[3]
  • Pygmy raccoons can only be found on Cozumel in Mexico. With only 250–300 pygmy raccoons left, they are nearly extinct.[2]
  • The word "raccoon" is from the Powhatan, meaning "he scratches with the hands."[5]
  • A raccoon's closest relatives are the cacomistle and the ringtail cat.[3]
  • Raccoon Trivia
    Raccoons are city-dwelling specialists
  • Raccoons that live in the city are smarter than those who live in the country.[3]
  • Raccoons carry several diseases, such as rabies, canine distemper, and leptospirosis. Raccoon feces can also carry roundworms that are transferable to humans.[3]
  • In German, the name for a raccoon is waschbar, meaning "wash-bear."[3]
  • The scientific name for the raccoon is Procyon lotor, meaning "washing."[5]
  • Raccoons have such sensitive hearing that they can hear worms crawling in the earth.[1]
  • Raccoons are mainly crepuscular, which means they are active at dawn and dusk.[3]
  • Gaze of Raccoons Fact
    Raccoons are caring and sensitive
  • A group of raccoons is called a nursery or a gaze.[3]
  • Raccoons are highly intelligent, which led to their nickname "sly coon."[3]
  • The Aztecs named the raccoon mapachitli, or "one who takes with his hands."[7]
  • Raccoon masks reduce glare, which allows raccoons to see more clearly at night. Some raccoons that live in coastal areas have white masks, which is a genetic mutation.[6]
  • Raccoons can make over 200 different sounds.[7]
  • In Europe, raccoons are considered an invasive species.[4]
  • Businesses first brought raccoons to Germany in the 1930s to sell their fur. Since then, raccoons have spread over much of Europe.[4]
  • Raccoon Paw Facts
    A raccoon's front paws contain over 4 times more sensory receptors than their back paws
  • A raccoon's most advanced sense is touch. They even have whiskers near the tops of their paws. While humans rely primarily on vision to make sense of the world, raccoons rely on touch.[3]
  • Prompted by a child's cartoon, Japan started importing raccoons in the 1960s. They quickly became an invasive species and are now banned in that country.[4]
  • Global warming is expected to allow raccoons to spread farther north and into delicate boreal forests.[7]
  • The only American state where raccoons don't live is Alaska.[3]

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