Raccoons are introverted and territorial mammals, especially adult male raccoons. Plus, they are opportunistic eaters. They will eat anything they find. Recent research shows that raccoons can even eat the corpse. So, you must be wondering, do male raccoons eat their babies?
No. Male raccoons do not kill and eat their own babies. But they do kill and eat babies of other Female raccoons. The reason for killing infants is sexual dominance. They do it to mate with the mother raccoon. This brutal act is called infanticide.
To find more detail on raccoon killing and eating its own species Youngs, read the article.
Can Raccoons Eat Their Own Babies?
Raccoons participate in the act of infanticides, an act of eating infants of the same species. Male raccoons eat the babies of another female raccoon, not because they are hungry but to mate with the mother raccoon.
It is an act of displaying sexual dominance, and it is successful. A female raccoon will get in heat period as soon as her young dies.
However, remember a mother raccoon will fight to protect her babies. This fight can be brutal and usually ends with one raccoon dying, which will be a baby raccoon. As male raccoons are powerful enough to win.
Why Do Male Raccoons Kill Their Young?
Raccoons are killers and opportunistic by nature. They eat whatever they find and mate with any female they find.
Sometimes to mate with a mother raccoon, a male raccoon kills her kit. But it does not kill its own but the kittens of another raccoon.
The killing of a baby raccoon by another mature raccoon is considered violent. It is their reproductive strategy. Raccoons do not live in families, and minding kittens is solely the mother’s duty.
Typically, each female gives birth to one to seven kits. Even though the male raccoon does not stick around taking care of the kits, it does not kill its kittens.
Do Male Raccoons Help Raise Babies?
Male raccoon does not help raise babies. They leave when the mating season is over. Male raccoons are aggressive over their territories, especially during nursing months.
But female raccoons are aggressive over their kittens. Unlike a father raccoon, a mother raccoon stays with her kittens until they are mature.
The research of Paul D. Curtis and Kristi L. Sullivan in 2001 states that male raccoons can stay behind and help in raising kittens. However, this is not a common practice. A male raccoon not around for more than a few months.
Do Raccoons Eat Each Other?
Raccoon is vicious and brutal; they can kill and eat each other, Whether dead or alive. It is common for male raccoons to get in a violent fight over territory. That ends up with one injured or dead.
A male raccoon can also kill and eat the kits of another raccoon to mate with its mother. Plus, raccoons can also eat a dead raccoon.
How Long Do Raccoons Stay With Their Babies?
Male raccoons move out as soon as nesting season is over. But female raccoons stay with the kits till they become mature. Generally, it takes nine months for a baby raccoon to become mature.
Out of that nine months, two months of a kit is spent inside a nest without any outside exposure. The young raccoon is a vulnerable and potential target of predators.
Male raccoons are not social nor much of a father. They do not stick around for kits to grow up. Even though raccoons are involved in infanticide, a father raccoon does not kill its kits. It can attack and kill the kits of another raccoon.
Do Raccoon Families Stay Together?
Raccoons are solitary and territorial animals. They get very violent if someone invades their territory as they are not social until the mating time period.
Adult raccoons breed from late winter till the summer. During these months, you can find raccoons living in groups, but once the nursing months end, the male raccoon moves out.
Female raccoons alone take care of the kits. Plus, the young raccoons only stay for nine months with their mother and move out when they are mature and independent. Therefore, raccoon families do not stay together for a long time.
Can A Female Raccoon Kill Its Babies?
No. Female raccoons are strong, independent single mothers. They take care of the kits until they mature. Mother raccoon nurse kits for three months and feed them and trains them in the following months till they are independent.
A mother raccoon is aggressive with her kits and will fight predators to protect them. It will never harm its kits or the kits of another raccoon.
How Do Mother Raccoons Protect Their Babies?
Mother raccoons spend months taking of their babies. The Father raccoon moves out after the breeding season, and the protection of the young ones is dependent on the female raccoon.
A kit lives with a mother raccoon for six to eight months. After that, it moves out and lives an independent life. These are the methods through which mother raccoons will protect their babies.
Building Safe Nest
Mother raccoons are the ideal single mothers. They go to lengths to take care of their babies. Male raccoons are introverted and will not be sociable until its matting season. When the mating season is over, the male raccoons leave and probably never come back.
To protect her kits, the mother builds a nest in quite dark corners to protect her babies from potential threats of predators and climatic change.
Mother raccoons often hide their kits inside abandoned buildings, cars, attics, and roofs. The places with a human population around are considered safe for the kits. However, it is difficult for mother raccoons to get inside these places.
Paramount Protection Of The Kits
Raccoon kits are blind when they are born. They are tiny and vulnerable depending on the mother raccoon. After giving birth to the babies in a safe place, the mother raccoon nurses them for about three months.
The kids are not exposed to the surrounding environment till they are at least two months old.
After the kit is physically strong out, the mother raccoon carries them on her back and shows them the surrounding areas, gradually introducing them to the environment. A mother raccoon also teaches young one hunting and climbing.
Fighting for kits safety
Typically, male raccoons are more violent and fight more often. On the other hand, female raccoons avoid getting into brawls. But to protect their kits, female raccoons will get into fights. They might end up killing the predator.
Predators do not go near kits when the mother raccoon is around. However, when the kits’ are ungraded, they become an easy target.
Male raccoons can kill babies and are involved in infanticide. It is a part of their nature and common practice. It might seem violent, but this also keeps the raccoons’ population in control.
The main reason for infanticide in raccoons is matting. A male raccoon kills the kittens of another raccoon to mate with the mother. As soon as the kitten dies mother raccoon becomes available.
Female raccoons are ideal single mothers. They take care of their babies till they become mature. The mother raccoon feeds the kittens and trains them to become independent and strong.