Raccoons are animals we generally know very little about. The raccoon (Procyon lotor) comes in 6 species. These are some raccoon facts that may delight or scare us. Raccoons are omnivorous and they eat whatever they find available in their environment. The diet of these furry animals depends on the habitat they find themselves in. If there are more sources of meat available, their diets are meat-based. Others find themselves in environments with more plants than animals to eat.
Nuts, fruits, and corn are staples in their plant-based diets. Insects, rodents, frogs, fish, crayfish, and bird eggs mostly comprise their meat preferences. Raccoons have a taste for invertebrates more than vertebrates. However, they eat practically everything and do not make much distinction between live or decaying and rotten animals. This may be one of the more disgusting of raccoon facts we do not know. Ingesting parasites and bacteria from animal carcasses make them carriers of disease. Add to that, raccoons can also eat trash. Thus, raccoons carry quite a number of diseases. One of the worst kinds is parasite-borne and known as raccoon roundworm that can inflict blindness, even death, in humans.
However, and this is one of the more uncanny raccoon facts, raccoons are known to “wash” their food by quickly plunging it in water before putting it in their mouths with the help of their front paws.
Coming close to the ape, raccoons have proven to be highly intelligent. They are also amazingly manually dexterous with their long fingers capable of quickly prying clams, doors, and garbage cans open.
Due to their propensity to eat anything, raccoons can store up a body mass comprised of 50 percent body fat. Their tails can grow to 405 millimeters or approximately 52 percent of their entire length. Their physical structure seems to be built for climbing. One of the most incredible raccoon facts is that they can easily drop from a height of 40 feet and land unscathed and unaffected.
Raccoons are also champion swimmers but would rather not go into the water because their fur, not being waterproof, weighs them down. When sold, their fur can pass as imitation seal, mink, or otter fur. They can sleep for extended periods especially during harsh winters. However, hibernation is not part of their life cycle. Other astonishing raccoon facts include their life expectancy that can reach till 16 years if they live in the wild. There was one raccoon that lived in captivity for 21 years. Yet, most of these critters only live up to two years.