Raccoons Meeting In Zoo

Raccoons Meeting In Zoo


Sporting a black mask and ringed tail, the raccoon is among the most common mammals in North America. Both vilified as a nuisance and loved for its fascinating behavior, the raccoon in an intelligent, clever animal that gets up to trouble with surprising enthusiasm and alacrity. A true survivor of the animal kingdom, it has thrived in the midst of human activity when so many other species have declined.

The scientific name of the raccoon is Procyon lotor. Procyon is a Greek term that roughly means “before the dog” or “dog-like” (it also happens to be the name of a very bright star in the constellation Canis Minor). The species scientific name lotor roughly translates from Latin to the washer, referring to the raccoon’s unusual behavior of dipping its food in the water.

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To most people in North America, the word raccoon brings to mind only a single species, the common or northern raccoon, but there are two other species in the genus: the South American raccoon and the Cozumel raccoon. Although similar in appearance, they do exhibit some subtle differences. The Cozumel raccoon (also known as the pygmy raccoon, due to its smaller size) has a black throat band and a golden yellow tail. For the sake of identification, it’s sufficient to know that the common raccoon is the only species endemic to North America. 

There are more than 20 recognized subspecies of the common raccoon, including specific Florida, Texas, Baja California, and Snake River Valley variants. Many other subspecies are island specific and don’t interbreed with other populations. Each one varies slightly in skull structure, teeth formula, and fur.

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