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(Procyon lotor lotor)


The body is stocky, with a broad head, pointed snout, and bushy tail with 5-7 blackish rings and a black tip. The fur is long, coarse, grizzled brown-grayish or blackish. The face has a black mask across the forehead, eyes and cheeks. The adults weigh 10-25 pounds and are about 28 inches in length. The breeding season is from January to March, and the litter size is 2-8 born in a den in April or May with ears and eyes closed. They may be dormant in winter dens, but there is no true hibernation. They are primarily nocturnal, with peak feeding before midnight, but there is much seasonal and individual variation. Longevity in the wild is up to 16 years, although most die by 2-5 years. They may use the burrows of muskrats, red and gray fox, groundhog, skunk and opossum.


Raccoons are found throughout Virginia but are especially abundant in the Tidewater section. They are found in forests, parks, and sometimes cities proper. A close proximity to water is very important (swamps, marshes, along water courses). Raccoon are more abundant in upland hardwoods than pine areas.


For the raccoon fleshy fruits and insects are of the highest importance. The animal foods they take include frogs, turtles, mice, eggs and young birds, crayfish, clams, injured waterfowl, insects and garbage at campsites and in the city. Animal matter is major food source in the spring and summer, with fruits and seeds used in the summer, fall, and winter.