Raccoons


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Raccoons

 

animals of the genus Procyon, predatory mammals of the family Procyonidae; there are two species: the common (or North American) raccoon and the crab-eating raccoon.

The common raccoon (P. lotor) is distributed in North America (Mexico and the United States). Its body length is about 75 cm, and its tail length reaches 25 cm. The fur is thick, yellowish gray mixed with black with dark brown rings on the tail. The body is compact and the head is broad with a short muzzle, large, close-set eyes, and rounded ears. The animal inhabits forests and leads a nocturnal life, spending the daylight hours in its den located in a tree hollow or some-times in a rock crevice. The raccoon spends the winter in sleep. It feeds on various forms of animal and vegetable life. Sometimes it rinses food in the water before eating (thus acquiring the name “washer”). Mating takes place in January or February, and the gestation period lasts nine weeks. The raccoon is a valued fur-bearing animal. In the USSR, it has become acclimatized in Azerbaijan, Kirghizia, and Byelorussia.

The crab-eating raccoon (P. cancrivorus) is distributed in South and Central America.

REFERENCE

Mlekopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 2, part 1. Edited by V. G. Geptner and N. P. Naumov. Moscow, 1967.

V. G. GEPTNER

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