Easily recognized by the black mask worn across their eyes, raccoons (Procyon lotor) are a common mammal found throughout the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Although some may consider these nocturnal creatures a nuisance, they serve an important function in a healthy and thriving ecosystem. Read on to learn five interesting facts about raccoons!
- Raccoons are known as omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. Some of their favorite foods include fruit such as apples and berries, as well as frogs, rodents and insects.
- A baby racoon is a called a kit or cub. Offspring are typically born in early summer and will remain in their den until about 12 weeks before heading out to explore on their own.
- Raccoons will make their dens in hollow trees and in the ground.
- Both a raccoon’s front and rear paws resemble a human hand, featuring five slender, finger-like toes that enable them to easily manipulate food and objects.
- Raccoons have extremely sensitive front paws with specialized hairs, allowing them to easily locate and identify objects by touching them. This sensitivity is increased when their paws are wet.
Want to learn more about raccoons and other local wildlife? Visit one of the Forest Preserves’ six nature education centers to talk to a naturalist!
If you have trouble with wildlife showing up places you’d rather not see them, this website is a great resource: https://wildlifeillinois.org