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  • Dallas Educational Article of the Month - About Raccoons: Appearance, biology, life cycle, habitat, diet, behavior

About Raccoons: Appearance, biology, life cycle, habitat, diet, behavior

About Raccoons: Appearance, biology, life cycle, habitat, diet, behavior

Raccoons and their relatives belong to family of mammals called Procyonide. These are small and adaptable Dallas animals that even feed on carcass. Many members of this family live on trees, but most successful ones-raccoons-generally live on ground. They are primarily located in America, where they can be found from north woods of Canada to moist, tropical swamps of Amazon.

Common raccoon-Procyon lotor
Common Texas raccoon has brown fur and is recognizable for his black "eye mask"-black mask-like fur around eyes as well as paw with 5 fingers that resembles human palm print. Raccoon weighs approximately 12-15 pounds. He has sharp small nose and round small ears, and most distinctive trait is long, thick tail with approximately 10 black-brown alternately arranged circles.

Raccoons are more active during the night then in daylight. They spend periods of rest in their dens, tree holes or in other secluded Dallas spots. When they are on the go, Texas raccoons can easily swim over streams and rivers and climb on trees and elsewhere in search for food. Sensitive legs are used to grab pray and then bite off large chunks. Raccoons are omnivorous and have quite versatile nutrition. They search for pray in ponds and streams, hunting on crabs, fish and frogs. They collect wild berries and nuts, dig for worms, larvae and bugs; they will eat crickets, wasps and majority of other bugs they find. They will raid bird nests for their eggs and baby birds and corn fields for corn. They will even eat small rodents and ravage through garbage cans in residential Dallas quarters. Their persistency in search for food often brings them in trouble with people.

Raccoons live in forest areas are rarely move away from water. They will find shelter in hollow tree trunks, underground holes or caves. They often rest in trees during day or use other Texas shelters before they start their night activities. Raccoons are excellent climbers with ability to go down trees either way-head first of back first. They are also good swimmers and don't have any problem to hunt for food underwater. One of their greatest adjustments are very mobile front legs. With their precise finger-like paws they can open door handles and bolts. These skills along with their persistency to get to food enable them to survive almost any conditions. If they live in colder regions they sleep during winter, but those living in warmer climates, don't. This winter sleep is actually only half-sleep, because they occasionally go out when Dallas weather gets nicer.

Males usually live alone although they tolerate presence of females on their territory or near them. Mating happens in the Texas spring and offspring is born few months later. Babies stay with mother till next spring.

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