Raccoon – Masked Bandit
The raccoon is a smart and curious mammal of the Americas. They have a pattern of dark fur around their eyes that looks like a mask. There are seven species of raccoon. Several species are found on various islands in the Caribbean.
They are 75 to 90 centimeters long from the nose to the tip of the tail and weigh about 10 kilograms. Raccoons have “hands” rather than paws on their front feet. Their flexible fingers are able to make delicate manipulations.
They are nocturnal animals, sleeping in the daytime. They eat many different kinds of foods (crabs, frogs, fishes, rodents, birds’ eggs, nuts, fruit, and plants, including crops) and often search in shallow water for frogs and crayfish. So, people believe that raccoons washed their food.
They swim and climb, and they often live together high in hollow trees, in openings in rocks, in tree stumps, or in other animals’ burrows.
They sleep in winter and may lose as much as 50% of their body weight. In the southern parts raccoons are active throughout the year.
They are solitary animals.
A female usually has three or four babies and they stay with their mother for about a year. Females feed their offspring to 24 times a day.
In captivity raccoons can live up to 20 years.
Raccoons are resistant to the majority of infectious diseases, although they may be their carriers.
If raccoon cannot hide or escape from a predator, it pretends to be dead.
Legend says that once a raccoon was cunning and resourceful person. His predilection for stealing angered the Supreme spirit and he turned him into an animal. Later, however, the spirit returned him human hands.