There are three distinct species of raccoon: the common raccoon, the Crab-Eating Raccoon, and the Cozumel Raccoon, which is a miniature version that only weighs 5 pounds when fully grown! The Cozumel raccoon is critically endangered and lives only on one small island off the coast of Mexico. The common raccoon is found throughout North and Central America. In parts of Central American its territory overlaps with the Crab-Eating Raccoon, but the common raccoon lives in forested areas, where the Crab Eating Raccoons lives on the beaches, on river edges, and around lakes. The Crab eating Raccoon's territory extends as far south as Argentina!
Raccoons are one of the most recognizable mammals in the United States. With their black masks and striped tails, we see them in wilderness areas, in farmlands, and yes, in our own cities and towns. They belong to a category of animals called "urban wildlife", which means they can live in the forests or in the city. Other examples of urban wildlife are animals such as squirrels, deer, opossums, and skunks. So, seeing one of these animals in the city does not mean that they are lost, or need to go "back to the wild" - just like people, some animals prefer to live in the city, and some live in the wild. An urban raccoon would not be happy in the forest, just as a person brought up in a city would have a hard time living in the forest!
These raccons are not lost. The family on the sidewalk is looking for dropped human food. The one in the storm drain is using the drains to get from place to place.
Florence Pache under CC unlimited use.
Brian Gatwicke under Cc unlinted use