Are you having issues with invading raccoons on your property? You have a few questions in your mind, like how long raccoons can live in the wild, what they eat, or where they live during the day?
In the wild, raccoons only live for 2-3 years. Fifty percent of raccoons die within their first year due to disease, starvation, predators, or human, and an adult raccoon only have a 70 – 90% chance of survival.
Raccoons are common in the wild. They are known to be tenacious; they have a strong sense of curiosity, and they are intelligent. However, you must be aware that they can cause plenty of damage to your property. This article is going to explain everything you need to know about wild raccoons.
What Is a Lifespan of Wild Raccoons?
The lifespan of wild raccoons is not very long. They have a lifespan of only 3-4 years. This is relatively short compared to other animals’ lifespans, especially domestic ones. The reason for this short lifespan is that raccoons are very active animals, and this often leads to injuries, poisoning, and other issues that lead to their death.
Why Do Wild Racoons Have a Shorter Life Span?
People often wonder why raccoons have short lifespans in the wild. A raccoon’s average lifespan in the wild is approximately only 1 to 2 years. Raccoons live 1.5 times longer in captivity, where they are fed and not exposed to the elements.
The lifespan of a raccoon in the wild is determined by many factors, including food, diseases, predators, etc. The leading cause of raccoon death are predators, starvation, and disease.
What Kills Raccoons in The Wild?
People often wonder why raccoons have short lifespans in the wild. A raccoon’s average lifespan in the wild is approximately only 1 to 2 years. Raccoons live 1.5 times longer in captivity, where they are fed and not exposed to the elements. The leading cause of raccoon death are predators, starvation, and disease.
It is believed that wild raccoons have the shortest lifespan of all mammals. This is mainly because raccoons in the wild face various threats that contribute to their short lifespan. The raccoons have many predators that pose a significant danger to them. The wild animals that prey on the raccoons include bobcats, coyotes, cougars, mountain lions, pumas, and wolves.
Even humans hunt raccoons for their fur. This is why many raccoons die due to being hunted or attacked.
Are Wild Raccoons Dangerous?
People often misunderstood raccoons as aggressive and dangerous because of their naturally masked bandit.
The raccoons in the wild are not afraid of humans, and they often approach them. Even though these animals are not aggressive, you still need to make sure that you protect yourself from the droppings, claws, and bites from these animals.
Where Do Raccoons Live in the Wild?
If a raccoon has been causing you trouble recently, and now you wonder where these little rascals live in the wild?
Raccoons are great climbers and live in the hollows of trees, in tree branches, caves, and holes in the rocks. They also build nests in the hollows of tree trunks or the stumps of old trees. However, they change their places frequently due to harsh weather conditions and breeding season.
Do Wild Raccoons Attack People?
No, raccoons do not attack humans unless they are being threatened. Raccoons are naturally curious and come closer to you out of curiosity, or a female raccoon usually hisses or growls in trying to protect her young.
Raccoons are wild animals; it’s in their nature to protect themselves from any danger and usually bite or scratch humans if they feel any threat. So, it’s best to leave them alone if you encounter one in the wild.
How To Protect Yourself If You Encounter a Raccoon in The Wild?
These cute little creatures can be pretty aggressive in defensive if they feel threatened. They only attack if they are injured, very sick, or dying.
If an angry raccoon is coming in your direction, then this is what you should do:
- Call the wildlife expert to handle the situation.
- Make sure your skin is fully covered because raccoons are at a high rate of transmitting and carrying rabies, and they can be easily transmitted to humans and kill them.
- Wear thick gloves, a mask and boots, and a thick dress while catching them, so the bites and scratches do not penetrate it and affect your skin.
- Never corner a raccoon because they will get as vicious as possible if you are blocking their only exit, they will attack you and fight until the death. So, try to take them to a place from where they can run away easily.
- Use a long-range weapon to push a raccoon away. We are not talking about a gun. Remember never to use a gun under any circumstances. We mean a stick or a broom by a long-range weapon to shoo them away.
What Do Raccoons Eat in The Wild?
Raccoons are omnivorous and can eat whatever they can catch. However, their diet can vary depending on the geographic location of the raccoon. In general, raccoons are opportunistic eaters and feed on whatever is easy to find.
A raccoon’s diet will vary depending on where they live, with the diet of most raccoons consisting of around 75% plant life and 25% small animals. They’re nocturnal animals and are active at night, which means they’re naturally attracted to human settlements because there’s a lot more food to be found in cities and towns than in the countryside, as well as a lot less competition for it.
Is It Okay to Trap a Wild Raccoon?
Many people wonder if it is okay to trap a raccoon as a pet. Is it illegal? Is it safe? They can be trained to use a litter box, play fetch, and even walk on a leash. They’re mischievous and fun to watch, and many people find them to be very entertaining.
But still, it’s illegal to trap a raccoon as a pet in most states, many people find loopholes in the laws and are able to trap them as pets anyway. However, it is important to note that they are still wild animals and should be treated as such.
Can You Befriend a Wild Raccoon?
Wild raccoons can be a lot friendlier than you think. There are tons of stories of people who have made incredible bonds with raccoons.
However, you should never try to befriend a wild raccoon if you don’t have experience. The fact is, raccoons can be dangerous. They have sharp teeth, and they aren’t afraid to use them. They’re also carriers of diseases. So, if you’re thinking of befriending a raccoon, make sure you know everything you can about them.
Behavior And Temperament of Wild Raccoons?
Raccoons are among the most intelligent, adaptable, and successful mammals in North America today. They are very clever and curious, and they have unsurpassed dexterity in their paws. They also exhibit many human-like behaviors, including washing food, playing with water, opening various locks, using tools, and even sleeping on their backs with their feet in the air!
What Challenges Do Wild Raccoons Face as Compared to Captive Raccoons?
The life of raccoons in captivity is far better than raccoons in the wild. There are a bunch of things that wild raccoons have to worry about, such as getting shot by someone’s gun, getting hit by a car, getting caught by a trapper, predators, climate changes, and whatnot.
But what about captive raccoons? They seem to be living a life of luxury: no predators, unlimited food, no fights for mates, no natural limitations, and no need to move around.
Where Do Raccoons Have Their Babies in The Wild?
Raccoon’s mating season starts in the late winter and early spring. The gestational period lasts for 2 months. Their babies are born without eyesight, teeth, and fur pattern.
Mothers of raccoons are very loving and protective towards their young and provide them the food for about 1 and a half years until they learn how to find food for themselves.
What Are the Factors That Affect the Lifespan of Raccoons in The Wild?
There are many factors that affect the life of raccoons in the wild and it is important that we get to know them.
- Food and water availability
- Climate changes
1. Food And Water Availability
The main factors affecting raccoons’ life in the wild are food and water availability in different weather conditions. The raccoons have to struggle to find food to eat during the winter season. They feed on various fruits and on small animals and birds.
During this time, they lose a lot of weight and the fat reserve that they have built up is used up. This is also the main factor responsible for their death.
Wild raccoons are facing a lot of problems. One of the most crucial ones is the risk of injuries. In fact, wild raccoons are often exposed to numerous life-threatening issues. The main threat comes from urbanization, which has changed their natural habitat and significantly increased the risk of injuries. By contrast, raccoons in their natural environment are exposed to fewer risks:
- They are hated by most humans due to their trouble-causing nature and many of them also kill them.
- Humans trap them and kill them for their fur to make coats. But they are protected under state hunting law, and according to the law, you cannot trap or kill raccoons.
- Animals like skunks, deer, and raccoons are hit mainly by a car while crossing a road.
In the wild live many animals that would love to get the raccoon as a meal. They also keep the raccoon’s population in check by hunting them. These natural predators are killing more raccoons compared to humans. Raccoons mostly stay in their dens to avoid them during the daytime.
Just like other animals in the wild, raccoons have predators that can pose a threat to them. Here are some of the most common predators of raccoons in the wild:
- great horned owls
- mountain lions
4. Climate Changes
A study published this month in the journal Global Change Biology found that raccoons could lose a significant amount of their habitat because of climate change. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, used a “climate envelope model,” which maps the areas in which a species is likely to live based on temperature and precipitation data. The researchers found that raccoons could lose more than 80 percent of their suitable habitat, which according to the study, is more than any other carnivore in North America.
Climate change has been affecting wildlife in significant ways. This is mainly because it changes their habitats and food sources. For example, it can cause a reduction in the number of available food sources like the number of insects and other small animals.
The changing weather can also affect the availability of water in the wild, which is a problem for animals who drink water. Raccoons are no exception to the effects of climate change and are facing a number of challenges and changes.
How Can We Help Wild Raccoons to Live Longer?
If you want to help raccoons to live a long and peaceful life; then you should follow the few steps given below:
- Prevent them from getting injured by your pet dogs.
- Don’t feed them the food not intended for them.
- Do not kill or trap a raccoon.
- Never relocate a raccoon.
- If you have found a raccoon, then contact a wildlife rehabilitation center give it to them.
Do People Eat Wild Raccoons?
As nasty as it sounds, but yes, it’s true in many parts of the world, people find raccoons an attractive meal and hunt them in order to eat them. If you are thinking about giving it a try, then there are a few things you should know first:
Why Do Humans Eat Raccoons?
Though killing wildlife without a permit or a license is illegal, many people still kill raccoons illegally. Raccoon meat tastes just like beef but much cheaper, so they are being shot, trapped, and cooked in many countries.
Do humans get rabies after eating a raccoon?
- According to the WHO 2018 position paper on rabies, no case has been reported by eating raw meat of an animal.
- virus does not stand the acids secreted by our stomach
Even though these animals are not aggressive, there is a reason that raccoons are not domesticated; they are unpredictable. You need to make sure that you protect yourself from the droppings, claws, and bites from these animals.
Raccoons are incredibly intelligent animals. This is why these animals can survive in any environment, even in urban areas, raccoons can be found around structures easily, but they have a very short lifespan as compared to other wild animals due to food unavailability, harsh weather, predators, and much more factors that impact their survival rate.
- Global Change Biology ROBERT J. HIJMANS, CATHERINE H. GRAHAM
- Common Infectious Diseases of Raccoons, Jim Raymond, DVM
- Trypanosoma cruzi from wild raccoons in Oklahoma. DT John, KL Hoppe