Raccoons have always attracted attention of humans. This wild animal is probably best known for its mask on the face and specific tracks. This creature is also intelligent and very curious. The species name originated from an Algonquian word “arakun” that translated as “he scratches with his hands.” The Sioux Indians also had a name for this animal. They called it “wica,” which means “little man.” Later, the first part of the word was dropped and the name “raccoon” appeared.
Raccoons – Description
Raccoons are best known for their black mask on the face. It stretches across the eyes of the animal through the tail. The Raccoon has slender human-like hands that provide for a great agility and adroitness. Raccoons have a variety of coat colors, depending on the habitat. Overall, the species is gray to reddish and buff. Albino Raccoons also occur. The species molts regularly. Usually, shedding occurs during the spring months.
The Raccoon is a medium-sized animal. It has a stocky body with a broad head and a bushy tail. The ears are short and rounded. The eyes are usually black in color. Male Raccoons are usually larger than females. The weight of an individual depends on the season and availability of food. In fall, Raccoons are known to weigh more. Some species have been reported to weigh about 28 kg.
Raccoons – Quick Facts
Scientific Name: Procyon lotor
Weight: males – 6-8 kg; females – 4 kg.
Total Length: about 80 cm
Life Span: 3-5 years in the wild. However, Raccoons have been known to live more than 15 years.
Raccoons – Economic Importance
Raccoons have always been hunted for the fur. Their pelts were a valuable fur and were used in fur industry. Nowadays, Raccoon pelts are in lower demand. Yet, their coats can be used as an imitation of mink and other furs. Raccoons are also kept as pets. Although it is not recommended to keep the species as a pet due to its wild nature, some pet owners claim that Raccoons make wonderful pets once they are dealt with correctly.