Procyon lotor - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Other English Common Names: Northern Raccoon, raccoon
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Procyon lotor (Linnaeus, 1758) (TSN 180575)
French Common Names: raton laveur
Spanish Common Names: Mapache, Zorra Manglera
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.798324
Element Code: AMAJE02010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Carnivores
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Carnivora Procyonidae Procyon
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 2005. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. Two volumes. 2,142 pp. Available online at:
Concept Reference Code: B05WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Procyon lotor
Taxonomic Comments: Clearwater et al. (1989) studied cranial variation and concluded that P. l. maritimus should be regarded as a synonym of P. l. lotor. See Ritke and Kennedy (1988) for study of geographic variation in cranial characteristics. See Decker and Wozencraft (1991) for a phylogenetic analysis on procyonid genera (analysis based on skeletal and soft morphological characters). The following comments were obtained from Wilson and Reeder (2005): Includes the Caribbean introduced populations of gloveralleni, minor, and maynardi after Helgen and Wilson (2003); includes insularis after Helgen and Wilson (2005). Synonyms allocated according to Cabrera (1957), Lotze and Anderson (1979), and Helgen and Wilson (2003; 2005).
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 18Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Sep1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (01Jan2012)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (S5), Arizona (S4), Arkansas (S5), California (SNR), Colorado (S5), Connecticut (S5), Delaware (S5), District of Columbia (S5), Florida (S5), Georgia (S5), Idaho (S4), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4), Iowa (S5), Kansas (S5), Kentucky (S5), Louisiana (S5), Maine (S5), Maryland (S5), Massachusetts (S5), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNR), Mississippi (S5), Missouri (S5), Montana (S5), Navajo Nation (S5), Nebraska (S5), Nevada (S5), New Hampshire (S5), New Jersey (S5), New Mexico (S4), New York (S5), North Carolina (S5), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (SNR), Oklahoma (S5), Oregon (S5), Pennsylvania (S5), Rhode Island (S5), South Carolina (SNR), South Dakota (S5), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5), Utah (S5), Vermont (S5), Virginia (S5), Washington (S5), West Virginia (S5), Wisconsin (S5), Wyoming (S5)
Canada Alberta (S4), British Columbia (S5), Manitoba (S5), New Brunswick (S5), Nova Scotia (S5), Ontario (S5), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (S5), Saskatchewan (S5)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Southern Canada, United States (except parts of the Rocky Mountains and desert southwest), Mexico, and Central America south to Panama; introduced in parts of Europe and Asia (Wozencraft, in Wilson and Reeder 2005).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: Southern Canada, United States (except parts of the Rocky Mountains and desert southwest), Mexico, and Central America south to Panama; introduced in parts of Europe and Asia (Wozencraft, in Wilson and Reeder 2005).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BCnative and exotic, MB, NB, NS, ON, PEexotic, QC, SK

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Monroe (12087)
ID Ada (16001), Blaine (16013), Boise (16015)*, Cassia (16031)*, Clearwater (16035), Franklin (16041), Gem (16045)*, Gooding (16047)*, Idaho (16049)*, Kootenai (16055)*, Latah (16057)*, Lemhi (16059), Nez Perce (16069)*, Owyhee (16073)*, Shoshone (16079)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Florida Bay-Florida Keys (03090203)+
16 Middle Bear (16010202)+
17 Pend Oreille Lake (17010214)+*, Coeur D'alene Lake (17010303)+*, St. Joe (17010304)+*, Hangman (17010306)+*, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, Goose (17040211)+*, Big Wood (17040219)+*, C. J. Idaho (17050101)+*, Lower Boise (17050114)+, Payette (17050122)+*, Palouse (17060108)+*, Middle Salmon-Panther (17060203)+, Lower Selway (17060302)+*, Clearwater (17060306)+*, Upper North Fork Clearwater (17060307)+, Lower North Fork Clearwater (17060308)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Reproduction Comments: Breeds late winter (late January to mid-March). Gestation lasts 63 days. One litter of 3-7 (average 3-4) is produced late April to early May. Young are weaned at 10-12 weeks. Young stay with mother through winter or until next litter born. Sexually mature in 1-2 years; % of yearlings breeding varies annually and/or regionally. Males mate promiscuously.
Ecology Comments: Average home range is 90-150 acres (Baker 1983). Population density was reported as l individual per 10-16 acres by Baker (1983). Winter density was 1/70.4 ha and 1/34.5 ha at two locations in Tennessee (Kissell and Kennedy 1992). Typically solitary except female with young.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Cropland/hedgerow, Desert, Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Shrubland/chaparral, Suburban/orchard, Urban/edificarian, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris, Standing snag/hollow tree
Habitat Comments: Various habitats; usually in moist situations, often along streams and shorelines. Dens under logs or rock, in tree hole, ground burrow, or in bank den (Armstrong 1975).
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Frugivore, Granivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Frugivore, Granivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Opportunistic omnivore; eats fruits, nuts, insects, small mammals, bird eggs and nestlings, reptile eggs, frogs, fishes, aquatic invertebrates, worms, garbage, etc.--whatever is available. Often forages along streams. Obtains most food on or near ground near water.
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Primarily nocturnal and crepuscular. May become dormant when foraging trail is covered by deep snow. Young may be active in colder subfreezing weather than are adults. Activity may be reduced on nights of full moonlight.
Length: 95 centimeters
Weight: 21600 grams
Economic Attributes
Economic Comments: Commonly hunted for sport and trapped for pelt (made into coats, collars, muffs, trimmings). Sometimes regarded as a pest due to destruction of waterfowl nests, killing of poultry, or damage to corn. Raccoon roundworms have caused human fatalities as a result of eosinophilic meningoencephalitis; infection occurs through ingestion of eggs (e.g., from raccoon feces) (Kazacos 1983, Kidder et al. 1989).
Management Summary
Species Impacts: Raccoon latrines contain infective eggs of the roundworm Baylisascaris procyonis, and these sites may be important in the transmission of this parasite to mammals and birds (Page et al. 1998). This parasite is associated with declines in certain populations of Neotoma magister.
Management Requirements: See Conover (1990) for information on the use of emetine dihydrochloride to reduce predation on chicken eggs.

In northern New York, relocated raccoons returned to original capture area from distances of up to 17.8 km; most studies indicate apparent random dispersal from release sites, though another study documented homing from a distance of 20-25 km (Belant 1992).

See Taulman and Williamson (1993) for information on a simple apparatus and technique for anesthetization.

Population/Occurrence Delineation
Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Water bodies greater than 1 kilometer across that do not freeze.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 15 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 15 km
Separation Justification: Raccoons are highly mobile and may have home ranges that average as large as 2,560 ha (range 670-4,946 ha) in males in North Dakota (Fritzell 1978). In other areas, movements may be more limited: mean home range sizes for males was 204 hectares in Michigan (Stuewer 1943), 65 hectares on St. Catherine's Island, Georgia (Lotze 1979) (see also Lotze and Anderson 1981). Raccoons have been reported moving distances of up to at least 254 km (see Lotze and Anderson 1981).

Separation distances are arbitrary but attempt to balance the high mobility of these mammals against the need for occurrences of practical size for conservation purposes.

Because raccoons are highly adaptable and traverse many kinds of habitats, it is difficult to distinguish suitable from unsuitable habitat. Hence separation distance is the same regardless of habitat.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on a conservatively small average male home range size of just under 100 hectares.
Date: 22Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 31Jan1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

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