Raccoons are very adorable in their looks and you might want to keep one as a pet. But raccoons are far from being just adorable. They can cause a nuisance as well. They are better known as wild animals but have adapted to human settlements as well.
They are popular in fictional and children’s stories especially for their masks and the kids adore them as well. We have listed some mind-blowing raccoon facts for kids here for you and your little ones. Hope you have a fun time reading it.
11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Raccoons for Kids
Raccoons are nocturnal mammals that are majorly found in North America. They have fox-like faces and tails. They are medium-sized animals that can be found lurking around in human habitats as well.
They get mischievous as well and cause troubles in human spaces. Let us get some more information about these cute yet mischievous animals.
1. The masks of the raccoons
The dark patches around their eyes, popularly known as masks that make them look like thieves have made them popular in fictional stories. But apart from being just a body feature, these masks have a specific role to play for them.
These patches help them have a clear vision in the darker hours of nighttime. The dark colored fur absorbs any kind of incoming light and reduces the glare so that it does not bounce into their eyes, hampering their vision.
2. They do not hibernate in the real sense
Raccoons do rest for some part of the winter season but they can not sleep the entire season. On average, they can go to sleep for a month that is called entering the stage of “torpor”. Meanwhile, their bodies depend on their stored fat for survival.
They lose some 50 percent of their body weight during this time. They are nocturnal animals which means they are more active during the night time and rest during the day. But they come out during the daytime occasionally to hunt for food.
3. They are omnivorous animals
Raccoons are omnivorous animals. They feed on both meat and vegetation. Their vegetarian diet includes acorns, apples, cherries, berries, peaches, other citrus fruits, plums, wild grapes, beechnuts, walnuts, watermelons.
They prefer invertebrates more than vertebrates though they are known to consume both. Their carnivorous diet includes frogs, fishes, crayfish, insects, rodents, reptiles, mammals, and bird eggs.
4. Habitats of raccoons
Raccoons are very adaptable animals. They can live in both wilds and human habitats, though they like to keep their distance from humans. They are found in North and Central America, Japan, and Europe. They make dens in caves and trees in the wilds.
They also inhabit the abandoned spaces by humans such as buildings and old vehicles. Humans should keep their distance from them as they are not good pets and carry diseases such as roundworms and leptospirosis. They are one of the primary carriers of the rabies virus.
5. They wash their food before eating
Raccoons are very clean animals. They have a habit of dipping their food in water before they eat them. They have a strong sense of touch and they inspect their food properly before eating them. They use their hands for this purpose.
In the wilds, they search for their food in water using their hands only. Even in captivity, they show this behavior of dipping the food in water before eating. If they do not find water nearby, they will rub the food to remove any debris.
6. They have hands like humans
Raccoons have hands that are almost like humans in looks. These hands help them in searching for food and other things. They have an enhanced sense of touch because of these hands. They have got their name because of their paws only.
The name raccoon comes from a Powhatan term “Arocoun” which means “one who scratches with its hands”. They can even open containers because of their dexterous hands which have thumbs as well.
7. They have excellent night vision
The raccoons have got excellent senses that include their vision as well. They can see very well during the darker hours. They have a reflective layer in the lenses of their eyes which is known as tapetum lucidum and is similar to those of cats.
This helps them in enhancing their vision of nearby objects. However, they have poor eyesight for faraway objects. Also, they are mostly color blind and are sensitive mostly to the green color.
8. They are more cunning than the foxes
Raccoons are intelligent animals. They are even considered more cunning than the foxes according to some experts. Their cerebral cortex can be compared to those of primates. The urban raccoons however have proved to be smarter than the rural ones.
This is because, in human habitats, they are presented with more obstacles that lead them to become more cunning and intelligent to live there. As a result, they have become bolder and adapted to urban habitats.
9. They also have a good smell and hearing senses
Raccoons are nocturnal animals and depend on their sense of smell for communicating with other raccoons at night and to find food. They even mark their territories with urine and faeces. They are solitary animals and do not like intrusion by other animals, not even their own kind.
Apart from smell and touch, they have a heightened sense of hearing as well. They have such a sensitive hearing that they can even detect the movement of earthworms that are underground.
10. The red pandas are their distant cousins
Raccoons and Red pandas are not directly related but the red pandas can be considered the distant cousins of the raccoons. Both of them are known to share some habits such as food habits and of course looks.
The red panda’s body resembles more like that of a raccoon than that of a bear or the giant panda. The dark patches around the eyes along with the rings on its tail add to the similarity which is very much difficult to deny.
Both of them have fluffy striped tails and similar-looking faces. But the red pandas are not raccoons but belong to their own animal family called Ailuradae.
If you are interested in knowing some more amazing facts about the red panda, you can read our article – 11 Captivating Fun Facts about Red Pandas for Kids
11. Baby raccoons and their parents
A baby raccoon is known as a kit. A kit is born deaf and blind. The female raccoons, known as sows, give birth to a litter of 1 – 7 kits after a pregnancy of around two months. The baby raccoons are born during late spring or early summer.
The mothers are known for their devotion to their young ones. They give them regular lessons on survival skills. The baby raccoons stay with their mothers and siblings for around a year before drifting apart. The young ones even prefer to build their dens closer to their mothers.
Different Types of Raccoons
Raccoons are seen both in the urban and the rural areas including the wilds. There are three main species of raccoons known to the world that we have mentioned here:
- Procyon Lotor is the most common, most popular, and the largest species of raccoons. These can be found in urban human settlements as well. It is found in the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia, and Germany.
- Procyon Pygmaeus is also known as the Cozumel raccoon and is found on Cozumel Island. This is an endangered species.
- Procyon Cancrivorus is also known as the crab-eating raccoon. Its fur is not thick which makes it look skinnier and smaller. It is found in the Costa Rican regions and South America.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
They are known to hate bright lights and some smells such as hot pepper, onion, peppermint oil, garlic juice, and ammonia.
They are smarter than your cats and dogs and even toddlers. They are hard enough to get caught because of their intelligence.
It is not specified by the experts but theories suggest that they identify each other with the different patterns of their masks. Another one suggests that it helps to reduce the glare so they have a better vision at night.
The scientific name of Raccoon is Procyon Lotor.
The baby raccoons are known as Kit or Cub.
Raccoons are omnivores and eat nearly everything including fishes, frogs, snails, nuts, berries, insects, eggs, etc.
Raccoons love eating acorns and other tree nuts.
The raccoons can live without food and water for a week.
The raccoons prefer wooded forest areas with vegetation along with some easily accessible water bodies. In human habitats, they live in sewers, barns, sheds, and attics.
They sleep in barns, abandoned nests of other animals, abandoned human buildings, under decks, and rock clefts.
Raccoons are solitary animals and do not live in packs.
They can have a color shade of light blonde, reddish-rust, brown, dark grey, and black.
They communicate physically with their kind. They make hissing and snarling sounds while communicating with each other which includes body language such as lowering their heads.
They have a limited range of color vision. They can see a wide range of the color green but have a poor vision for other shades of colors.
They have excellent night vision as they are nocturnal animals but they are said to be having a poor long-distance vision or myopic.
They have amazing night vision because of their eye structure that contains tapetum lucidum which reflects light to give them better vision.
Their body weight can range between 6 – 26 pounds.
They can grow a height of 12 inches and the body length can vary from 24 – 38 inches.
They can live up to 3 years in the wild.
They can remain inside water for several hours. They can swim at a speed of 3.1 miles per hour.
They might seem cute but are dangerous for humans. They do not make good pets and should be avoided taken in captivity.
They sleep for like a month during the coldest days of winter. They can not hibernate for an entire season. They stay in their dens and might invade caves and burrows of other animals.
The Albino raccoon is the rarest type of raccoon that has been spotted in Ontario.
So these were some fascinating raccoon facts for kids. Hope we were able to give enough information and answered all your curious questions regarding this animal. Now you know how to keep away these animals from your property and whether to keep one as a pet or not.