Suburban Wildlife

Where we can watch and relate to wildlife in a suburban backyard.
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

The season is starting.

Mating season for raccoons is generally during the early winter. Kits (baby raccoons) are usually born between March and May. The male raccoons play no part in the raising of the kits, and in fact are banished by the females.

A raccoons fur can look quite ragged in the spring. Once the fur starts ‘cracking’ (the raccoon form of shedding), it can look very bad until the new, darker and softer fur comes in.

By April most of the litters will have been born. At this time of year the older raccoons will often be seen moving about during the day. This in no way reflects on the health of the animal. Mother raccoons will take a short break from her litter to feed herself. Later the baby raccoons will begin to explore during the day. They will revert to the night shift when they are about four months of age. Once the kits start moving about mom will bring them out to explore the neighborhood while mom eats. Later as they are weaned they will follow mom about while they learn what can be eaten and what dangers to avoid. The mother raccoon makes certain her brood behaves. Should one kit misbehave she will tell it off in no uncertain terms, and may even give it a ‘time out’ leaving the kit while she and the rest of her brood go elsewhere. And yes, sometimes she might give a misbehaving kit a swift swat!

Our northern raccoons are generally much larger in size than their southern cousins. An average weight for a fully grown animal is probably about 25 pounds, but some have been known to grow to about fifty pounds. That’s a very big raccoon!

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