Procyon lotor 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Procyonidae

Scientific Name: Procyon lotor (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Northern Raccoon
French Raton laveur
Spanish Mapache, Mapachín, Zorra Manglera
Procyon gloveralleni Nelson & Goldman, 1930
Procyon insularis Merriam, 1898
Procyon maynardi Bangs, 1898
Procyon minor Miller, 1911
Ursus lotor Linnaeus, 1758
Taxonomic Notes: Includes the Caribbean introduced populations of gloveralleni, minor, and maynardi after Helgen and Wilson (2003); includes insularis after Helgen and Wilson (2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-03-01
Assessor(s): Timm, R., Cuarón, A.D., Reid, F., Helgen, K. & González-Maya, J.F.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W.
Contributor(s): Winter, M.
This species is listed as Least Concern because it is broadly distributed across North and Central America in a variety of habitats, is fairly common, and is present in many protected areas. It is not undergoing any significant decline and is adaptable to human conversion of habitat - thus its population may be increasing in some areas.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Originally a North and Central American species, occurring from the Canadian prairies southwards across the United States of America (except for parts of the Rocky Mountains and the deserts) through all Central America down to northern Panama (Helgen and Wilson 2003, 2005). Southern limits for the species are still not clear with the current most comprehensive revision considering Panama as the limit (Helgen and Wilson 2003, 2005). More recent craniometric evidence suggests is also present in Colombia (Marín et al. 2012), but there has been no comparison directly with North American individuals,  so some  uncertainty persists (González-Maya et al. 2011). Introductions since the 1930s of animals into Germany, the Russian Federation, and many subsequent escapes by farmed animals in various parts of Europe, have resulted in expanding European and Central Asian populations of this species (Mitchell-Jones et al. 1999, Winter 2006, Beltrán-Beck et al. 2012, García et al. 2012, M. Winter pers. comm. 2015). Individuals have also been recorded from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and U.K. although populations are yet to be established in these countries (M. Winter pers. comm. 2015). It has also been introduced to Japan where it is expanding rapidly (Ikeda et al. 2004).
Countries occurrence:
Belize; Canada; Costa Rica; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; United States
Austria; Azerbaijan; Belgium; Czech Republic; Estonia; France; Georgia; Germany; Hungary; Italy; Japan; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Switzerland; Ukraine; Uzbekistan
Present - origin uncertain:
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The Northern Raccoon is generally quite common and very adaptable to the human environment and populations are likely to be increasing in size in suburban areas (Gehrt 2004).
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is very adaptable and is found almost anywhere water is available, along streams and shorelines. Dens under logs or rock, in tree hole, ground burrow, or in bank den (Armstrong 1975). In some areas it has adapted to city life and is commensal with the human population. However, raccoons are most abundant in hardwood swamps, mangroves, flood forests, and marshes. Average home range is 90-150 acres (Baker 1983). Population density was reported as one individual per 10-16 acres by Baker (1983). Typically solitary except female with young. This raccoon is nocturnal, foraging either singly or in groups. It is an opportunistic omnivore, eating fruits, nuts, insects, small mammals, birds' eggs and nestlings, reptile eggs, frogs, fishes, aquatic invertebrates, worms, and garbage. It obtains most food on or near ground near water.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: For information on use and trade, see under Threats.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Few major threats exist to the species as a whole. Regional potential threats do exist, however, and include hunting, trapping and poisoning. Commonly hunted for sport and trapped for pelt (made into coats, collars, muffs, and trimmings). It is also one of the more common victims of road kill, especially about suburban areas and water bodies.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species occurs in numerous protected areas throughout its range.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.7. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.8. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Swamp
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.5. Artificial/Terrestrial - Urban Areas

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
4. Transportation & service corridors -> 4.1. Roads & railroads
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.2. Unintentional effects (species is not the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends

Bibliography [top]

Armstrong, D.M. 1975. Rocky Mountain Mammals. Rocky Mountain Nature Assoc, Inc.

Baker, R.H. 1983. Michigan mammals. Michigan State University Press.

Beltrán-Beck, B., García, F.J. and Gortázar, C. 2012. Raccoons in Europe: disease hazards due to the establishment of an invasive species. European Journal of Wildlife Research 58: 5–15.

Bozek, C., Prange, S. and Gehrt, S. 2007. The influence of anthropogenic resources on multi-scale habitat selection by raccoons.

García, J.T., García, F.J., Alda, F., González, J.L., Aramburu, M.J., Cortés, Y., Prieto, B., Pliego, B., Pérez, M., Herrera, J. and García-Román, L. 2012. Recent invasion and status of the Raccoon (Procyon lotor) in Spain. Biological Invasions 14: 1305-1310.

Gehrt, S.D. 2004. Ecology and management of Striped Skunks, Raccoons, and Coyotes in urban landcscapes. In: N. Fascionem, A. Delach and M. Smith (eds), People and Predators: from Conflict to Conservation, pp. 81-104. Island Press, New York, USA.

González-Maya, J.F., Cepeda, A.A., Belant, J.L., Zárrate-Charry, D.A., Balaguera-Reina, S.A. and Rodríguez-Bolaños, A. 2011. Research priorities for the small carnivores of Colombia. Small Carnivore Conservation 44: 7-13.

Helgen, K.M. and Wilson, D.E. 2003. Taxonomic status and conservation relevance of the raccoons (Procyon spp.) of the West Indies. Journal of Zoology (London) 259: 69-76.

Helgen, K.M. and Wilson, D.E. 2005. A systematic and zoogeographic overview of the raccoons of Mexico and Central America. In: V. Sanchez-Cordero and R.A. Medellin (eds), Contribuciones Mastozoologicas: en Homenaje a Bernardo Villa, pp. 221-236. Instituto de Biología e Instituto de Ecología, UNAM, Mexico.

Ikeda, T., Asano, M., Matoba, Y. and Abe, G. 2004. Present status of invasive alien Raccoon and its impact in Japan. Global Environmental Research 8: 125-131.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-1. Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2016).

Marín, D., Ramírez-Chaves, H. & Suárez-Castro A. 2012. Revisión cráneo-dentaria de Procyon (Carnivora: Procyonidae) en Colombia y Ecuador, con notas sobre su taxonomía y distribución. Mastozoología Neotropical 19(2): 259-270.

Mitchell-Jones, A.J., Amori, G., Bogdanowicz, W., Kryštufek, B., Reijnders, P.J.H., Spitzenberger, F., Stubbe, M., Thissen, J.B.M., Vohralik, V. and Zima, J. 1999. The Atlas of European Mammals. Academic Press, London, UK.

Winter, M. 2006. Procyon lotor. Available at: (Accessed: 21 February 2015).

Citation: Timm, R., Cuarón, A.D., Reid, F., Helgen, K. & González-Maya, J.F. 2016. Procyon lotor. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41686A45216638. . Downloaded on 22 November 2017.
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