Eastern Raccoon, natures bandit, is a stocky, medium sized mammal. The black mask over their eyes is only part of the reason they are called bandits. Another reason is the sneaky manner in which they steal food and wander.
They are heavily furred with a ringed tail. Adults vary in size from 21 inches up to 38 inches long. Their tail is about half the length of the body. They have a pointed muzzle and short pointy ears. Males and females are similar in appearance, with the male typically heavier set. They can weigh up to 25 pounds.
Raccoons like timbered land that is near water, and are abundant along Table Rock Lake. They frequent neighborhoods as well as woods. Hollow trees, caves, rocky crevices and many other places make perfect dens. Typically their home range is 2-5 square miles depending on available resources and the juvenile raccoons stay less than one square mile. Raccoons are most active at night and are usually solitary. They can climb and swim very well and are extremely clever and curious.
Raccoons diet consists of plant and animal matter, and they are good foragers and hunters. Breeding occurs in January to March, and most litters are born in summer. On average they have a litter of 3 to 5 young in April and May. By August most of the young are weaned but will stay with their mothers until the next spring. They do not hibernate in the winter but they get less active when it is extremely cold.
The life span of Raccoons is generally short with the majority of all populations under one year of age.
Rural areas can have problems with Raccoons ravaging their chickens, poulty houses, gardens and orchards. Raccoons also lost their fear of humans which is unhealthy for both. Raccoons are protected furbearers in Missouri, with seasons designated for hunting and trapping.