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Raccoons and Relatives: Procyonidae

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Procyonids And People, Northern Raccoon (procyon Lotor): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS


Except for red pandas, procyonids are found throughout Central America (including Costa Rica and Panama), South America (including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela), the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany, and Russia. Red pandas live in Asia, including China, India, Nepal, and Tibet.

Some procyonids prefer forested areas close to streams and rivers where they can fish for food. Many inhabit a mixed coniferous-deciduous forest, with rich vegetation and canopies (uppermost forest layers made up of the spreading branches of trees) that provide sleeping and resting sites. Some have established residence in farmlands, cities, and suburban areas.

Procyonids are omnivorous, consuming both meat and plant food. However, ringtails prefer animal matter (rodents, insects, and birds), while red pandas eat mainly bamboo leaves. Fruits are the favorite food of kinkajous and olingos.

The IUCN lists the red panda as Endangered, facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild, due to habitat loss and fragmentation (division of a habitat into small areas, resulting in insufficient food sources and home range) as a result of forest clearing. They are hunted by humans for their fur and preyed on by domestic dogs. Seven other procyonid species are considered Endangered as well.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammals