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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Raccoon

ETYMOLOGY

The English word "raccoon" is an adaptation of a native Powhatan word meaning "one who rubs and scratches with its hands".


The collective noun for raccoons is a gaze.

DISTRIBUTION 

Raccoons are common throughout North America from Canada to Panama, where the subspecies Procyon lotor pumilus coexists with the crab-eating raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus).

There are wild populations in Germany, France and Spain.

The population of raccoons on Hispaniola was exterminated as early as 1513 by Spanish colonists who hunted them for their meat.

Raccoons were also exterminated in Cuba and Jamaica, where the last sightings were reported in 1687.

The common Raccoon did not inhabit Japan until 1977, the year when a popular anime caused many people to import them as pets, allowing many to escape into the wild.

ANATOMY

They can grow to 52in long with an 18in tail, weigh up to 60lb and live for 20 years in captivity.


Raccoons have bad eyesight and are color blind, but have great hearing and a great sense of smell.

The distinctive ‘bandit mask’ around the eyes is thought to help night vision by reducing glare.

BEHAVIOR

Raccoons are omnivores, eating birds, eggs, frogs, toads, fruit, insects and worms.


Raccoons have nimble paws and sometimes wash their food before eating it.

They run at up to 15mph and rotate their hind feet through 180 degrees, allowing them to climb down trees head first.

Raccoons are very agile tree climbers and do not mind climbing or falling from elevations as high as 40 feet (12 meters).

Studies found that raccoons were able to remember solutions to tasks for three years.

Raccoons do not hibernate, but they do sleep for days during cold winters.

In the mating season, males roam in search of females, who can conceive over only a three to four-day period.


FUN RACCOON FACTS

If you bring a raccoon's head to the Henniker, New Hampshire town hall, you are entitled to receive $0.10 from the town.

Two raccoons – Bandit and Turpin – broke out of Drusillas Park in East Sussex, England in 2012 but broke back in a week later.

Sources Daily Express, Daily Mail

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