Find the best places to hunt Raccons in Canada and discover the Racoons' Physical Description, Range, Habitat, Food Source, Breeding Habits, and Status. 

Provinces with Racoon Hunting

Province / Territory

Species

Season

Nunavut

Not Present

 

Northwest Territories

Not Present

 

Yukon

Not Present

 

British Columbia

Present

No Season

Alberta

Present

Season Available 

Saskatchewan

Present

 

Manitoba

Present

 

Ontario

Present

Season Available 

Quebec

Present

Season Available 

New Brunswick

Present

 

Nova Scotia

Present

Dogs Only 

Prince Edward Island

Present

Season Available 

Newfoundland

Not Present

 

 

Racoon - Procyon lotor

Range - Distribution and Habitat of the Racoon:

Racoon Range Map of Canada

 Racoon Range Map of Canada

Original map of canada: By Nzeemin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Modified By: Canada-Hunts.ca

 

The common Racoon (Procyon lotor) is a year round native resident of Canada that occurs in a southern section of British Columbia and Quebec, most of Alberta and Ontario, the southern half of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and all of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It does not have any representation in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Labrador, Newfoundland, nor Prince Edward Island.

A very adaptable mammal, the Racoon can seem to live almost anywhere that has a sustainable food supply, tree dens and a constant water supply to forage in and for drinking. You will find it in almost any residential town or city where they often raid garbage cans and garbage dumps. Aquatic habitats like hardwood swamps, bogs, mangroves, floodplain forests, and freshwater marshes are their natural home. It will also thrive in cultivated or abandoned farmlands causing havoc with grain crops as long as there is a good water supply. However southern pine forests, deserts, and mountains above 6,560 feet (2,000 m) show lower populations of this species.

They are so good at finding food that they don’t need much territory in that 1-3 Km² is all that is needed for a home range and they can have a population density of almost 70 individuals / km².

A denning site can be anything from a hollowed out tree, under a log or rock or an abandoned ground burrow. In urban environments they may use a chimney, a house, a deserted building, barn, garage, or rain sewer. The common factor is that den sites are usually located 220 to 460 feet (67-140 m) from a water source.

Description of Racoon:

Racoon

Racoon

Racoon - Tri Nguyen - Flickr

The racoon may be a member of the Carnivore family but evolution has taken away its canine teeth in favour of more efficient molars that used to crush and grind up tough foodstuffs. Its dental formula is I 3/3, C 1/1, Pm 4/4, M 2/2 X 2 = 40

This species is primarily nocturnal and can be active in twilight hours with activity being reduced on nights of full moonlight. It may also become inactive when its foraging trail is covered by deep snow.  And young racoons tend to be more active in colder subfreezing weather than do adults.

The racoon can vary in colour from a grey to reddish brown to buff colour is most recognizable by the black mask across its eyes and its long bushy tail that may have anywhere from four to ten black rings.

The racoon has an excellent sense of hearing. Also, the raccoons’ problem solving ability is considered to be quite high and couple that with its’ good night vision and a highly developed sense of touch you have a nigh time menace capable of opening any garbage can.

Both their and rear front paws have five toes that are skill full at performing tasks even when used in conjunction with each other. This gives it the ability to handle, open prey and climb with no problem. It has been said that racoons wash their food before eating it but the reality here is that the racoon is actually using its sense of touch to feel for food and is not washing it.

Male members of this species are generally 10 to 30% heavier than female members. Most members of this family are muscular in build and dependant upon its habitat and region. It will usually weigh about 13.2 lbs. (6.0 kg.) but its weight range can be 4.0 to 22.9 lbs. (1.8 to 10.4 Kg.) with some raccoons in the northern parts of its range being capable of attaining a body mass that is comprised of 50% body fat,

The length of its body will range from 23.7 to 37.4 ins. (60.3 to 95.0 cm.) and the tail that may be from 7.6 to 15.9 ins. (19.2 to 40.5 cm) in length will be about 42 to 52% of their overall length. It stands at the shoulder between 9 to 12 inches (23 and 30 cm) high.

The lifespan of a wild raccoons is about 5 years of age although some records of 16 year old wild racoons do exist. The reason for the low average is that not many racoons get to live past their second year.

Diet and Foraging Strategy of the Racoon:

This nocturnal non migrating mammal is considered to be an omnivore which eats plant and animal matter as opportunity arises. It generally gets most of its food on or near the ground near water and will forage either singly or in group. The key to their survival is the fact that it has a highly variable diet and will eat most anything that it finds. 

The raccoon is normally nocturnal and its highest period of feeding activity is normally midnight. It rarely begins to forage for food more than 1 hour before sunset. But it may occasionally return to its daytime resting site is several hours after sunrise.

Plant Matter may be made up of roots, tubers, seeds, grains, nuts, or fruit.  

  • In agricultural areas corn may make up a large part of the diet. In other areas Wild cherries, apples, grapes and other berries of various types may eaten whenever they become available. Occasionally cultivated fruits like peaches, plums, and watermelons are eaten. Nuts, like acorns, American beech nuts, hickory nuts, and walnuts are also important seasonal foods that are eaten by racoons.

Animal Matter

  • Insects, small mammals, aquatic crustaceans, bats, birds, bird eggs and nestlings, reptiles, reptile eggs, frogs, toads, fishes, aquatic invertebrates, worms, carrion, and garbage

Aquatic crustaceans may be comprised of mussels or crayfish,

Amphibians may be Western Chorus Frogs or Eastern Red-backed Salamanders

Bats  include Big brown bats and Evening bats,

Larger birds are mostly eaten as carrion during hunting season(s) or may be caught because they are cripples. But the raccoon will target the eggs and young of nesting birds.

  • Green herons, Gadwall ducks, Northern pintail ducks, Cinnamon teals, Wood ducks, Redhead ducks, Osprey, American coots, California gulls, Eastern screech owls, Barred owls, Belted kingfishers, Northern flickers, Yellow warblers, Red-winged blackbirds, House finches, House sparrows, North-western crows, Hermit thrushes, Horned larks, Western screech owls, Woodpeckers, ring-necked pheasants, northern bobwhite, American coots, shorebirds, wild turkey

Insects may consists of grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, and true bugs

Small mammals will include gophers, ground squirrels, tree squirrels, muskrat, rabbits, shrews, moles, small northern raccoons, mink, American shrew moles, Southern flying squirrels, Muskrats and Western jumping mice

Reptiles that it will take include the Common Snapping Turtle, Painted Turtle, Five-lined Skink, Redbelly Snake, Common Garter Snake, Butler's Garter Snakes, and Scarlet kingsnake.


In spite of the vast selection of foods that it will forage on the raccoon does tend to follow a shift in its diet seasonally. For example: Most raccoons eat more animal matter than plant matter during the spring. It is during this time that Crayfish followed by insects and small vertebrates are the stable of their diet. Also, acorns can prove to be an important food supply early in the spring if they are readily available.

Breeding and Reproduction of the Racoon:

Raccon

Racoon

Racoon - GoToVan - Flickr

Raccoons only breed once a year and the mating season occurs anywhere from the months of February to June with the peak period being in March. It is during this period that male raccoons often temporarily extend their home range. It is thought that this expansion is an effort to include the home ranges of more females and in turn increase the number of potential mates.

During this mating period females are at times found to be denning with males. This is a temporary arrangement and after  mating is over there is no association between males and females.

The female has a gestation period is usually 63 to 65 days long. Following which she will produce a litter 3 to 7 babies in late April to early May but the average litter size is 4 youngsters. The female will choose a new natal den in which she will deliver her litter of blind and helpless babies that will only weight about 2.82 oz. (80 g.).

The natal dens could consist of a hollow tree, underground burrow, rock crevices, caves, abandoned mine shaft, brush or pile, sawdust pile, muskrat lodge, wood duck box, or magpie nest.

The female exclusively raises her young and during the first few weeks of their care she will limit the youngster’s movements about the den. At about days 18 to 24 their eyes will open and they begin to walk in 4 to 6 weeks following their birth. Once they are 7 weeks old they can usually walk, run, and climb.

By day 70 the babies are fully weaned from their mother. And by the time the youngsters are 20 weeks old they will forage on their own with their mother at night on a regular basis. The juveniles continue to stay in the den with their mother until the next spring when she mates again.

It is at this time that the young disperse out on their own. And the juveniles will share their mother’s home range for a few months after leaving what was their home.

Female racoons reach sexual maturity at 8.0 to 12.0 months of age while males are generally 24.0 months of age before they are ready to mate. . 

Status of Racoon

The Racoon was listed on the Red List as a species of least concern (2008). Justification for this listing status is because it has a large stable population, a wide distribution, is present in several protected areas, and has few major threats.

Looking at the overall picture few major threats exist for this species. Threats that do exist come from the hunting, trapping and poisoning of the species. It is commonly hunted for food, sport and trapped for pelt that are made into coats, collars, muffs, and other fur trimmings. However, it is more likely to become the victim of an automotive road kill.

It is often regarded as a pest because of its destruction of waterfowl nests, the killing of poultry, and agricultural damage to orchards, vineyards, melon patches, cornfields, peanut fields, and chicken yards.


Raccoons evade potential predators by staying inactive during the day in their den. While nocturnally active they do remain alert and can be quite aggressive when confronted. Adult racoons may be taken by predators like the Coyote, gray wolf, large hawks, great horned owl, mountain lion, bobcat, Lynx, red fox, and fisher. Snakes will prey upon young racoons if found.  

References

http://www.hww.ca/en/wildlife/mammals/raccoon.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raccoon

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mammals_of_Canada

http://eol.org/pages/328501/details

Background Images

  • Racoon – Cliff Hanks – Flickr
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