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The Raccoon

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The Raccoon

Post by Guest on Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:12 pm

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Raccoon
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Adult

Baby

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General Information;

Type: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 60 to 95 cm
Weight: 1.8 to 10.4 kg
Conservation status:

Scientific Classification: Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Mammalia, Order: Carnivora, Family: Procyonidae, Genus: Procyon, Species: P. lotor
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:

Raccoon Range


These creatures are a familiar sight just about anywhere really, because they are able to eat just about anything. Raccoons can be found within forests, marshes, pariries, and in cities. They are very adaptable animals and use their dexterous front paws and long fingers in to find and east on a wide variety of fare. Raccoons who are found within the northern parts of their range gorge themselves within the spring and summer in order to store up body fat. They then spend the majority of the time aseep within a den. There are six other species of raccoons, familiar to northern (North American) raccoons. Most other species live on tropical islands.
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Physical Features;
Head to hindquarters, raccoons measure between 40 and 70 cm (16 and 28 in), not including the bushy tail which can measure between 20 and 40 cm (8 and 16 in), but is usually not much longer than 25 cm (10 in). The most characteristic physical feature of the raccoon is the area of black fur around the eyes, which contrasts sharply with the surrounding white face coloring. This is reminiscent of a "bandit's mask" and has thus enhanced the animal's reputation for mischief. The slightly rounded ears are also bordered by white fur. Raccoons are assumed to recognize the facial expression and posture of other members of their species more quickly because of the conspicuous facial coloration and the alternating light and dark rings on the tail. The rings resemble those of a ringtail lemur. The dark mask may also reduce glare and thus enhance night vision. On other parts of the body, the long and stiff guard hairs, which shed moisture, are usually colored in shades of gray and, to a lesser extent, brown. Raccoons with a very dark coat are more common in the German population because individuals with such coloring were among those initially released to the wild.
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Mental Features;
Studies in the 1990s by the ethologists Stanley D. Gehrt and Ulf Hohmann indicated raccoons engage in gender-specific social behaviors and are not typically solitary, as was previously thought. Unrelated males often form loose male social groups to maintain their position against foreign males during the mating season—or against other potential invaders. Such a group does not usually consist of more than four individuals. Since some males show aggressive behavior towards unrelated kits, mothers will isolate themselves from other raccoons until their kits are big enough to defend themselves. With respect to these three different modes of life prevalent among raccoons, Hohmann called their social structure a "three class society". Concerning the general behavior patterns of raccoons, Gehrt points out, "typically you'll find 10 to 15 percent that will do the opposite" of what is expected.
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Diet;
Though usually nocturnal, the raccoon is sometimes active in daylight to take advantage of available food sources. Its diet consists of about 40% invertebrates, 33% plant material and 27% vertebrates. Since its diet consists of such a variety of different foods, Zeveloff argues the raccoon "may well be one of the world's most omnivorous animals". While its diet in spring and early summer consists mostly of insects, worms, and other animals already available early in the year, it prefers fruits and nuts, such as acorns and walnuts, which emerge in late summer and autumn, and represent a rich calorie source for building up fat needed for winter. They eat active or large prey, such as birds and mammals, only occasionally, since they prefer prey that is easier to catch, specifically fish and amphibians. Bird nests (eggs and hatchlings) are frequently preyed on, and small birds are often helpless to defend against the attacking raccoon. When food is plentiful, raccoons can develop strong individual preferences for specific foods.
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Threats towards this animal;
The threats towards this animal excluding wolves are:

Humans, large owls, foxes, badgers, coyotes, dogs, and bobcats.
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Credits (c);

Images:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlequeen/491727233/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7326810@N08/2513123054/

Information:
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/raccoon/?source=A-to-Z
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raccoon
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