Skip to main content
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

place holder

  Carnivora · Procyonidae · Procyon lotor

Search the Archive
 • Species Name
 • Family Tree
 • Conservaton Status
 • Skulls
 • Bones and Teeth
Field Guide
 • Map Search
   Including search by
     • Location
     • Ecoregion
     • Species
     • National Park
 • About Maps
dotted line
   Teacher Resources
   About the Site
dotted line
Smithsonian Institution
Copyright Notice
Privacy Notice

Procyon lotor


Order: Carnivora
Family: Procyonidae

Click to see adaptations.    Click to see a 3-D view.
Image of Procyon lotor
Click to enlarge. (83 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Raccoons are among the most adaptable of the Carnivora, able to live comfortably in cities and suburbs as well as rural and wilderness areas. They use small home ranges, as small as 1—3 square km, and show flexibility in selecting denning sites, from tree hollows to chimneys to sewers. A varied diet is at the root of their adaptability. Raccoons eat just about anything, finding food on the ground, in trees, streams, ponds, and other wet environments, and from unsecured trash cans, which they open adroitly by hand. They can live anywhere water is available, from the deep tropics well into southern Canada. Even in the suburbs, Raccoons can occur at densities of almost 70 per square km. Females can breed when they are not yet a year old, and typically have litters of four young, which they raise themselves. The female nurses her cubs for about 70 days. The cubs' eyes open at 18—24 days and they begin exploring the world outside the den when they are 9—10 weeks old. By 20 weeks of age they can forage on their own.

Also known as:
Coon, Northern Raccoon

Sexual Dimorphism:
Males are 10%-30% larger than females.

Range: 603-950 mm

Range: 1.8-10.4 kg


Linnaeus, C., 1758.  Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classis, ordines, genera, species cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, Tenth Edition, Vol. 1. Laurentii Salvii, Uppsala, 1:48, 823 pp.


Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account *
* PDF reader available here (opens in a new window).

Distribution of Procyon lotor

Image of Procyon lotor
Click to enlarge. (83kb)

Skull of Procyon lotor
Click to enlarge. (17kb)

Image of Procyon lotor
Click to enlarge. (94kb)

Image of Procyon lotor
Procyon lotor (Raccoon), Okaloosa
Click to enlarge. (69kb)

Image of Procyon lotor
Procyon lotor (Raccoon), Okaloosa
Click to enlarge. (261kb)

Bones and Teeth

Procyon lotor
Left lower first and second molars (right to left). Click to enlarge. (14kb)

Procyon lotor
Right upper premolar and first molar (right to left). Click to enlarge. (19kb)