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Simpson Street Free Press

How Raccoons Thrive in Cityscapes and Wilderness

Raccoons, also known as trash pandas, are adaptable mammals that live in both rural and urban areas. These furry bandits will do anything to survive harsh environments.

Raccoons are nocturnal animals that are usually three feet tall with an iconic bushy, striped tail that is about 12 inches long. They can weigh about 14-50 pounds, but urbanized raccoons may weigh more because food is easy to scavenge in the city. Raccoons might select a forest near a clean and fresh water source as a habitat, but they can also easily live in bustling cities. While living in their selected area, they will search for a safe, sheltered den to survive. Den sites can be abandoned burrows of other mammals, large brushes, hollow logs, or even attic and chimney spaces! In highly wooded regions, raccoons will rest in trees.

Raccoons will eat almost anything that is edible. They favor aquatic animals such as clams, fish, and crayfish but they will also eat other things including insects, birds, and small rodents.

Raccoons will mate from January to June; the climax of their mating period is March through April. They will have two to three kits, or babies, after a 65-day pregnancy. Kits will stay in the den until seven weeks old, when they can start walking, running, and climbing. At 12 weeks of age, kits can roam independently for several nights before returning to their dens. Raccoon populations can be large in urban areas due to low predation, hunting restrictions, and abundant human-supplied food.

Adaptable and intelligent, raccoons are almost everywhere. They are in the dark, waiting for their time to arrive.

[Source: Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife]

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