Raccoons (Procyon lotor) belong to the Procyonidae (those who came before the dogs' family). This highly intelligent mammal has a rounded head with a short nose, small ears, and a sturdy body with minimum-length, thick, grayish brown fur. Raccoons are easily identified by a distinctive pattern of alternating black and yellowish white rings around a large bushy tail. They are also identified by a unique narrow black face mask with two white patches above the eyes. The average length is 2 to 3 feet long (including the tail) and 12 inches high, weigh 8 to 22 pounds (heaviest in autumn), and live for 10 to 13 years. Females produce one litter per year, numbering from one to six kilts and averaging four to five. SPECIAL FEATURES AND ADAPTATIONS
Raccoons have had a long time to adjust and adapt to different surroundings. Raccoons have keen senses of smell and hearing. (Blashfield, 2004) They are strong and agile, hence good tree and fence climbers. Each foot has five long and slender digits, which operate with remarkable dexterity. This was an adaptation developed for living in dense forests and heavy tree populated areas. In the wild, they use their front feet for finding food in water, opening shellfish, and conveying food to the mouth. In urban areas the raccoon has learned to dig through human garbage as a significant food source. In adapting to human habitat, they often apply this dexterity to opening garbage cans and pet food storage containers. GATHERING FOOD AND EATING
Raccoons will eat just about anything. Although this statement is generally true, raccoons do have definite preferences. Generally speaking, when fed by humans, they like peanuts, sweets, fruits, bread, peanut butter, and especially cat and dog food. Like feeding humans, though, don't overload them with treats -- make those for special occasions, and leave the healthier stuff for most of the time. In the wild the raccoon...
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