Raccoon Types: A Complete List of All Species

Leave a comment / / Updated on: 25th September 2023

Raccoon Close-up
Raccoon Close-up / toos via Istock

According to many households in North America, raccoons cause a lot of disturbance and are considered a nuisance.

However, these animals are also loved because of their intelligence and fascinating behavior.

The word “raccoon” became a part of the English language after it was derived from a native Powhatan term which means “animal that scratches with its hands.”

Since the beginning of human habitation in the Americas, people have interacted with these animals.

Although raccoons were revered as mythical creatures, Native Americans and European settlers used them as a source of food.

These animals are some of the most easily recognizable in North America because of their distinct features and popularity.

This article will shed more light on the two primary raccoon types and what makes them so different.

Gage Beasley's In-Demand Plush Toys
Gage Beasley’s In-Demand Plush Toys

2. The Common Raccoon

A Raccoon posing for the camera
A Raccoon posing for the camera | Trevor Rousselle via Getty Images

In most cases, the raccoon frequently mentioned in discussions about raccoons is the common raccoon.

Also called the Procyon lotor, the North American raccoon, or the northern raccoon, the common raccoon is primarily nocturnal, going out at night to find food.

These animals spend most of the day asleep and rarely leave their chosen habitats until the food is available.

The common raccoon is the largest member of the procyonid family.

Without considering their bushy tail, which typically has a length of 7.9 to 16 inches, these creatures can reach a maximum size of between 16 and 28 inches.

They also have a shoulder height between 9.2 and 12 inches.

A common raccoon’s weight is primarily determined by its habitat and the season, making them some of the mammals with the broadest range of sizes.

Raccoon | Ilona Seipp via Getty Images

Although the size ranges of common raccoons are between 4.4 and 57 pounds, the average weight of this animal is between 11 and 26 pounds, with males being larger than females.

Common raccoons have a pointed snout, a hunched back, and a bushy tail with 4-10 black rings.

One of the most distinctive features of this animal is the dark marking around its eyes which looks like a robber’s mask, but the reason for this marking is not known yet.

Dense gray underfur makes up a large portion of the animal’s coat, which protects it from the cold.

Most raccoons are the same color, but there are several all- or mostly-white albino varieties in the wild.

Common raccoons can thrive in different habitats, but they prefer habitats with a vertical structure they can climb to hide from danger.

However, they go closer to human settlements at night to forage.

1. The Crab-Eating Raccoon

A crab-eating raccoon walking on a log
A crab-eating raccoon walking on a log | Wirestock via Getty Images

The crab-eating raccoon is also called the Procyon cancrivorus.

As its name implies, this raccoon is found primarily in Southern and Central America.

Although it is called the crab-eating raccoon, it does not live exclusively off crabs.

Like the common raccoon, it is an omnivore that feeds on a lot of different foods.

Although the crab-eating raccoon shares many similarities with the common raccoon, this animal has certain distinct features.

Unlike the common raccoon, this animal has hair on the nape of its neck that faces forward rather than backward.

It has a full-body length of 16 to 31 inches and a tail length of 10 to 22 inches.

Crab-eating raccoon sneaking around the woods
Crab-eating raccoon sneaking around the woods / Patrick_Gijsbers via iStock

The weights of these animals can range from four to 26 pounds but are usually between 11 and 15 pounds, and males are larger than females.

Its ringed tail and “bandit mask” covering its eyes resemble the common raccoon, but it is more adapted to the arboreal lifestyle because of its sharper claws.

Like the common raccoon, the crab-eating raccoon is also primarily nocturnal, preferring to forage at night.

Despite its name, the crab-eating raccoon does not feed on just crabs.

However, this animal’s diet is more adapted to hard-shell food than the common raccoon and eats other animals like shellfish, oysters, crayfish, etc.

The crab-eating raccoon is also an omnivore, and it feeds on other smaller animals and plants, fruits, etc.


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