American Public University
SCIN 130 – K001 SUM 14
A well know bandit to the Northern United States, the Raccoon, can be found climbing a tree or roaming the forest at night. The raccoon can be easily identified by the black mask on the face and human like actions. The raccoon can be found in the Animal Kingdom. While the life cycle of a raccoon is shorter the life span can range upwards of 16 years. Flexibility and good vison make the animal adaptive to many geographical areas. Fossils date back thousands of years, while disease is a problem in today’s species. The research paper will cover not only the life cycle, but the evolution of the raccoon including additional interests.
The Raccoon, known as the Procyon lotor, can be found mainly in the Northern United States. While in Japan and Europe the raccoon can be considered an alien species brought over for sale and ownership. The raccoon belongs to the Chordata Phylum in the Animal Kingdom. The mammal class contains the raccoon and other carnivores. The scientific family that the raccoon belongs in is Procyoniade Family. The temperate deciduous forest of the United States proves to be a well verse home to the raccoon. The raccoon has never been on the endangered species list, while a relative the Panda has been. There are geographical variations of the raccoon due to habit resources and the availability of those resources. As an omnivore the raccoon can be found along a stream eating fruits, fish and insects.
The life cycle of the raccoon can range from a year to two years. The typical cycle can produce a litter of kits or cubs in early April or May, with a short breading period starting in January or February. Those kits are cared for closely in the first few months. If the mother loses the litter early this can give her the opportunity to produce a second litter that year. Males are not sexually active throughout the year. (Common, 2000(D)) This makes having a second litter uncommon. Males are active when the female breeding season starts allowing for reproduction. The litter can be between two and five kits or cubs. The litter size can be affected by the availability of resources and nutrition. They are born deaf and blind. It takes just shy of a month for the kit to be able to hear and see things. As the kit grows the senses become keen in adaptive perspective. Between six and seven weeks, the kit will roam around the nest and will forge with their mother. Kits should be weaned from their mother at the end of the summer. Late litters have a low survival rate. Wild raccoons rarely live more than five years, although some may survive 13-16 years. (Common, 2000(D)) Raccoons in captive have a longer life span. They also have a lower morality rate. The morality rate of the raccoon within the first two years is high, due to hunting, predation and disease.
Raccoons have two important major systems that aid in their survival. The muscular-skeletal system and their sensory system. The muscular-skeletal system is extremely important. The raccoon has a range of motion similar to humans. They can pronate and supinate their forearms. They are able to rotate their heads and hind legs at 180 degrees at the subtalar joint allowing them to climb forwards and backwards. Raccoons have four paws. The front paws are hand-like and able to grasp food and elements more easily. The underneath of the feet or the raccoon are bare-soled and flat which makes the raccoon waddle rather than walk. (Raccoon, 2008) Because of the dexterous phalanges the raccoon has adaptive eating habits. The raccoons sensory system can be just as important in their survival. Raccoons have good visual acuity, with strong night vision. (Common, 2000, (L)) Although they are known to be color week, or even color blind, they can focus on objects better than humans. The sense of touch can be well developed in their paws and nose. This allows them to better manipulate food