Tips on Feeding Raccoons
Raccoons are easily recognizable by their characteristic "bandit mask." They are usually gray-black or orange-brown, some rare ones are even albino and some are completely black. The typical raccoon's face has black mask outlined in white. The tail is bushy with 4-6 alternating black and white or brownish-gray rings. They grow to be about 16-26 inches with an 8-12 inch tail. The raccoon is usually nocturnal and solitary except when breeding or caring for its young. A skilled climber, it can ascend a tree of any size and is able to come down backwards or forwards. On the ground this animal usually walks, but it can run and is also a good swimmer. During very cold spells, the raccoon may sleep for several days or even a month or more at a time, but it does not hibernate. The raccoon uses its den for bearing young, winter sleep and temporary shelter. Communal denning is common; up to 23 raccoons have been reported in a single den, but usually only one adult male is present. During the day in summer, the raccoon may simply sleep on top of a log, in a nest, or on a clump of vegetation.
Though domesticated raccoons are adored pets in some places, raccoons in the wild often harbor a roundworm, which although harmless to the raccoon, is very dangerous and often fatal to woodrats and probably to many other mammals, including humans. Transmission is through the organism's very tiny eggs, found in soil and dung, which become much more infective with time. Also, in recent years, raccoons have been carriers of rabies, especially in the eastern US. For this reason, they should not be encouraged to feed on porches, and the animal's dung should not be left around buildings where humans and pets can come into contact with it.