Common Raccoon

Scientific Name
Procyon lotor
Also Known As
Raccoon, Trash Panda, American Raccoon
Most of Florida, Except Panhandle
Insects, Crayfish, Fish, Eggs, Fruits, Trash
Life Expectancy
16 Years
The Common Raccoon
Rount-tailed muskrat conservation status - endangered

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Common Raccoons in Central Florida

The Common Raccoon (Procyon lotor) is an intelligent and adaptable mammal that thrives in urban and rural environments of central Florida. Often drawn to human dwellings for food sources, raccoons can become nuisance pests and vectors of disease. This guide provides identification tips, biology facts, and prevention and control methods for raccoons in central Florida. Read on to learn about raccoon habits, reproduction, diet, health risks, signs of infestation, and professional removal options if you suspect raccoon activity on your property.

Raccoon Subspecies in Central Florida

Eastern Raccoon

Eastern Raccoon (Procyon lotor ssp. lotor)

The eastern raccoon is a medium-sized mammal found throughout much of North America. Its range centers on deciduous hardwood forests, wetlands, and urban areas across the central and eastern United States.

Compared to other raccoon species, the eastern raccoon is larger in size and has more variable color fur. Within its widespread range, the eastern raccoon has adapted to many habitats from forests to cities. Research shows eastern raccoon populations have diverse genetics across different parts of their range.

Due to its wide distribution and high genetic diversity, the eastern raccoon is considered a highly adaptable, generalist species. Its ability to thrive in many areas makes the eastern raccoon one of the most recognizable mammal species in North America.

Florida Raccoon Procyon lotor

Florida Raccoon (Procyon lotor ssp. elucus)

The Florida raccoon is a subspecies of the common raccoon found in tropical and subtropical areas of southern Florida. Its range centers on mangrove swamps, cypress forests, and freshwater marshes in the southern half of the state.

Compared to other raccoons, the Florida raccoon is smaller in size and has darker, shaggier fur. Within Florida, it is one of the smaller raccoon species. Research shows the Florida population has some unique genetics adapted to the tropical ecosystems found in its range.

Due to its limited subtropical area in Florida and distinct traits, the Florida raccoon is an important subspecies to study and conserve in the state.

Appearance and Identification

Raccoons can be identified by their distinctive markings and physical characteristics

Adult Common Raccoon

Adult Florida Water Rat

  • Size: Adults measure 30-38 inches (76-97 cm) long including the tail. They weigh 10-30 pounds (4.5-14 kg).

  • Fur: Coarse, shaggy fur that is grey interspersed with brown and black hairs. The tail has 5-7 brownish rings.
  • Mask: Distinctive black facial fur around the eyes creates a “bandit mask” look.
  • Paws: Dexterous front paws adapted for grasping food. The hind feet are suitable for walking.
Juvenile Common Raccoon

Juvenile Raccoons

  • Size: Newborn kits weigh around 3 ounces (85 grams) and are about 3 inches (8 cm) long. By 3 months old, they reach 10 pounds (4.5 kg) and 10 inches (25 cm) long.
  • Fur: Juvenile fur is gray to brown. The tail has faint rings which become more defined as they mature.
  • Mask: The facial mask is present but faint on kits under 3 months old.
  • Features: Proportionally large paws, erect ears, and a long ringed tail.

Maturation Rate

Raccoon kits grow rapidly with their eyes opening after 3 weeks and they start walking at 5 weeks old. They are weaned and eat solid food at 12-16 weeks of age. The kits follow their mother closely through their first autumn and winter to learn survival skills.

Most leave the parent between 9-12 months old to establish their own territories. They reach sexual maturity after their first winter around 1 year old.