3 Different Types of Raccoons

Different Types of Raccoons
Photo by Pete Nuij

This article will teach you some crucial information about different types of raccoons and how to cope with them.

Raccoons are adorable, intelligent, and entertaining to watch, yet they pose health hazards to humans. These fuzzy creatures could arrive out of nowhere, depending on where you reside.

Procyon cancrivorus, Procyon pygmaeus, and Procyon lotor are the three species of raccoons you can find in North America.

They all have a “black mask” on their faces, but other distinct features are their sizes, body fur, and diet.

Contrary to popular belief, the raccoon is not a rodent. As a result, they are unrelated to rats and mice. Raccoons are not marsupials; hence they are not related to bandicoots, koalas, or opossums.

Raccoons are members of the Procyonidae family of mammals, including cacomistles, coatis, kinkajous, olingos, olinguitos, and ringtails. Experts claimed their ancestors to have come from Central America.

Raccoons, on the other hand, are native to North America and have expanded to other regions of the world, including Europe.

During the 17th century, English naturalist and botanist John Ray thought raccoons were related to foxes. He then published the raccoon’s scientific name as “Vulpi affinis Americana.”

However, it was named Procyon by Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus, well known as the inventor of modern taxonomy, in 1758.

Raccoons were once categorized as bears and were known as “long-tailed bears” and “washer bears.” The English name “raccoon” was derived from the root word “aroughcun” (ahrah-koon-em), a term that means “an animal that scrapes, scrubs, and scratches with its hands.”

You can identify raccoons by the black fur that covers their eyes. As a result, they appear to be wearing black masks, earning them the moniker “masked bandits.”

Raccoons use their black masks as nocturnal robbers to reduce glare and improve their ability to see clearly at night.

Raccoons have pear-shaped bodies with fur that is black, light gray, or brown with white stripes. They have four feet, the front pair being shorter than the back pair.

Each foot has five toes, and the front legs look like human hands. This is why raccoons can grab various objects like food, jars, and doors.

Although different types of raccoons reside in the Wild, some inhabit cities, roaming the streets and in your neighborhood.

How Many Different Types of Raccoons Are There?

There are around 18 species of procyonids, all of which belong to the family Procyonidae; however, there are only seven different types of raccoons.

Only one of them is located in the continent of North America, while the other six are in South America.

The Procyon lotor, sometimes known as the North American raccoon, is the most common species of the raccoon.

In Spanish, they are referred to by the common term mapache. In this article, we will explore the three most prevalent species of raccoons.

Different Types of Raccoons

1. Procyon Cancrivorus

Procyon cancrivorus thrive in Costa Rica, Northern Argentina, Uruguay, and Eastern and Western Paraguay areas. They are also known as crab-eating raccoons.

This type of raccoon can range in length from 54 to 65 centimeters, and their tails can be anywhere from 25 to 38 centimeters in length.

Adults weigh between 3 and 7 kilograms (6.6 and 15.4 pounds), with females typically being lighter than males.

The crab-eating raccoon has a similar appearance to the North American raccoon. Still, it is noticeably leaner due to the absence of bottom fur, and the black mask that covers its face is less distinct behind the eyes.

Mollusks and other crustaceans, in addition to crabs, are among their favorite foods. Because of this, their teeth are far more robust than those of raccoons in North America.

2. Procyon Pygmaeus

The second mention on this list of different types of raccoons is the Procyon pygmaeus. It is the smallest species of raccoon, at an average of 99.9 centimeters in length.

It is also known as the Cozumel raccoon (39.33 in). As of the month of November 2017, this species of raccoon got the Guinness World Records as the most miniature raccoon in the world.

The length of the entire Procyon pygmaeus, including its tail, ranges from 58 to 82 centimeters.

Cozumel raccoons are endemic to the island of Cozumel, located in Mexico. This so-called dwarf raccoon is designated as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

As of 2016, there were only 192 adults left in the wild. Unfortunately, the number of people living there continues to fall.

3. Procyon Lotor

Among the different types of raccoons, the Procyon lotor is by far the most common.

You can discover raccoons native to North America in virtually every region of the United States, Canada, and South America.

They can grow up to three to four feet in length (including the tail) and stand nine to ten inches tall. Adults have a weight range of 4.5-13.5 kilograms (10-30 pounds) with 40 pointy teeth.

The Procyon lotor, like other different types of raccoons, has five long, pointed claws on each finger, and these claws do not retract. Additionally, the Procyon lotor’s hind feet can rotate 180 degrees.

Raccoons are also capable of swimming well, making excellent climbers, and reaching top speeds of up to 15 miles per hour when they run.

Raccoons are excellent swimmers, even though their bodies are somewhat heavy.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like