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Raccoon Biology

      Raccoons are typically a grizzled gray with black and cinnamon color phases. The best identifying feature as far as color goes is the "mask". This is a wide band of typically solid black fur going from cheek to cheek going across the eyes and nose.

      Raccoons are a heavily built animal and a very formidable foe to anything willing enough to fight one. They average 15-18 lb.. with weights over 40 pounds being recorded. A normal coon is 18-28 inches long from the nose to the base of the tail with the tail adding an additional 12-18 inches. Its defenses when forced to fight is a mouthful of 40 teeth with four, well-pronounced canine teeth and four, fully clawed feet with the front feet being dexterous.

Feeding Habits

      To most urban dwellers, the feeding habits of a raccoon appears to be just raiding the garbage cans for anything close to being edible and then washing it, they do not wash their food to wash it but to moisten their paws to allow for better feeling of their food, and then trying to catch a fish out of the goldfish pond. But in the forests and farms of North America, their habits are about as destructive as is in the methods of attaining it.

      Raccoons will eat anything that is available and edible. In most areas where the coat of the raccoon is of exceptional quality, their preferred food is as follows: acorns, rose hips, paw paws, parsimmons, and any other types of fruit, the occasional ground squirrel, and even wild turkeys when they are available. It seems that the majority of raccoons are found in the lower lands where the farms and streams are and seem to not have the fur quality of those in the higher ridges and forests. The food these coons seem to eat includes the list mentioned above but with less frequency due to the lack of availability in these areas. The preferred foods in these areas are: corn, soybeans, where available, fish, frogs and tadpoles, mussels, muskrats, yearling mink and their mothers, eggs, insects, mice, crayfish and an assortment of miscellaneous foods, to name a few.

      As for methods, the raccoon is not very sophisticated. For the most part they are very opportunistic and rarely hunt intensely unless food supply is very low. During the spring and summer the raccoons spend a most of of their feeding forays in the the berry patches and in or below the trees gathering their prizes. In the late summer and through the fall the raccoons are busy eating more food as the winter fast approaches. Now most of the berries are dried up and some of the late ripening fruits are starting to turn and the corn is at its best. The raccoons spend a lot of time amidst the trees, for the highlanders, and the farm dwelling coon eat and sleep in the corn fields with an occasional trip down to the stream or pond to fish or wet their paws and their sweet tooth is starting to go numb. In late fall, the raccoons go to the water and start feeding on fish and mussels and and a misshapen muskrat or two and an over-adventurous mink that went to far from mom. In winter the raccoons start to den up and come out during warm spells to scavenge up what it can before making a retreat back to its den.