Have you ever seen a raccoon in your backyard and wondered how long it lived? It’s natural to be curious about wildlife, especially those roaming our homes. Raccoons are a relatively common sight here in North America, but many people don’t know much about them beyond their appearance. Today, we will answer the question of “How long do raccoons live?” and shed some light on this mysterious creature’s habits.
Average Lifespan of a Raccoon
In the wild, raccoons typically live for around 2 to 3 years, although some individuals can live much longer, up to about 5 to 7 years. In captivity, raccoons can live for considerably longer, up to around 12 to 15 years. However, the average lifespan of a raccoon will depend on several factors, including its diet, habitat, and overall health. Raccoons are vulnerable to several diseases and parasites and may also face predation from other animals or accidental injury.
How Long have Raccoons Been Around?
Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are native to North America and have been on the continent for millions of years. Fossil evidence suggests that the ancestors of modern raccoons first appeared in North America as early as 20 million years ago. Since then, raccoons have adapted to a wide range of environments and are now found throughout much of the United States, Canada, and Central and South America.
How is a Raccoons Lifecycle?
The lifecycle of a raccoon typically involves the following stages:
- Birth: Raccoons are born blind, weigh just a few ounces, and depend on their mother. Weaning: Raccoons are weaned from their mother’s milk at around 2-3 months of age. At this point, they begin to eat solid food and learn to forage for themselves.
- Juvenile period: Raccoons continue to grow and mature during adolescence, which lasts until they are around one year old. At this point, they can breed and have their own young.
- Adulthood: Raccoons reach sexual maturity at about one year of age and can produce and have their own young. In the wild, raccoons typically live for 2-3 years, although some individuals may live longer. In captivity, raccoons may live for up to 8-10 years.
- Old age: As raccoons age, they may become less active and more susceptible to health problems. Eventually, they will die of old age.
How do Raccoons Die?
Raccoons can die from various causes, including predation, disease, accidents, and old age. In the wild, raccoons may be killed by predators such as larger carnivorous animals, birds of prey, or humans. They can also succumb to rabies, distemper, or other infections. Accidents such as falling from a high place can also cause death for raccoons. Raccoons in captivity may also die from old age or health problems related to inactivity or poor diet.
What are Some of the Health Concerns that Raccoons Face?
Raccoons can be affected by several health concerns, including infectious diseases, parasites, and injuries. Some common health concerns that raccoons may face include the following:
- Rabies: Rabies is a viral disease that affects the nervous system and is transmitted through bites or scratches from infected animals. Raccoons are one of the animals that are most commonly infected with rabies, and it is essential for people to avoid contact with raccoons, especially if the animal appears sick or aggressive.
- Distemper: Distemper is a viral disease affecting raccoons’ respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems.
- Parvovirus: Parvovirus is a viral disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract of raccoons and can cause severe diarrhea and dehydration. It is highly contagious and fatal, especially in young or immunocompromised animals.
- Injuries: Raccoons can suffer various injuries while fighting with other animals, including cuts, bruises, fractures, and abrasions.
- Parasites: Raccoons can be infested with internal and external parasites, including worms, mites, ticks, and fleas.
Are there any Ways to Extend a Raccoon’s Life?
You can do several things to help extend the life of a raccoon:
- Provide a healthy diet: A diet high in protein, fat, and other essential nutrients can help keep a raccoon healthy and boost its immune system. Should feed raccoons a diet appropriate for their age, size, and activity level.
- Keep the raccoon safe: Raccoons should be kept in a secure enclosure from predators and other potential hazards. It can help protect them from accidents and injuries.
- Practice good hygiene: Raccoons can be prone to infections and parasites, so it is essential to keep their living environment clean and free of dirt, debris, and other contaminants.
- Provide regular medical care: Raccoons should receive regular check-ups and necessary medical treatment from a veterinarian. This can help detect and treat any health problems early on, which can help extend the raccoon’s life.
- Providing toys, puzzles, and other activities can help prevent boredom and keep the raccoon active.
In the wild, raccoons are opportunistic feeders, meaning they will eat a variety of food sources depending on what is available. They are omnivores, and their diet typically consists of small animals, fruits, nuts, eggs, insects, worms, amphibians, and plants.
Raccoons can be dangerous if they are cornered or feel threatened. It would help if you kept your distance from them and did not approach them in any way. If a raccoon appears sick or aggressive, it is best to contact animal control or a wildlife rehabilitation center for assistance.
Yes, raccoons are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. They typically feed on small animals, such as rodents and insects, as well as fruits, nuts, eggs, and plants.
No, raccoons do not hibernate in the winter. However, they may become less active and spend more time in their den during cold weather. During this time, they will not eat or drink, and their body temperature will drop slightly. They do not enter an actual state of hibernation like some other animals.
You can take several steps to discourage raccoons from entering your property.
1. Keep garbage cans secured and covered and all other potential food sources around your home.
2. Trim trees and shrubs near the house so they cannot be used as access points for the roof.
3. Install motion-activated lights or sprinkle deterrents around the perimeter of your home.
Raccoons are fascinating animals that have adapted to living in various habitats. Keeping them safe and healthy is essential by providing an appropriate diet, a secure enclosure, regular medical care, and mental and physical stimulation. With the proper care, raccoons can live up to 16 years in captivity. Keeping these tips in mind can help you care for your raccoon and ensure it has a long, healthy life.