Procyon lotor lotor

Common Names: Eastern raccoon, coon, trash panda
Category: Mammals
Sub-category: Raccoons

A small mammal that is well known in Connecticut and can often be found in urban areas, picking thru trash at night.

A medium-sized mammal and the largest of the procyonid family, having a body length of 16 to 28 inches and a body weight of 8 to 20 pounds. It has a grayish coat, of which almost 90% is dense underfur, which insulates against cold weather. Two of its most distinctive features are its extremely dexterous front paws and its facial mask. Raccoons are noted for their intelligence, with studies showing that they are able to remember the solution to tasks up to three years later.

The original habitats of the raccoon are deciduous and mixed forests of North America, but due to their adaptability they have extended their range to mountainous areas, coastal marshes, and urban areas, where many homeowners consider them to be pests. They are also a common form of roadkill in Connecticut.

Edible Notes: While primarily hunted for their fur, raccoons were a food source for Native Americas, and barbecued raccoon was a traditional food on American farms. The first edition of The Joy of Cooking, released in 1931, contained a recipe for preparing raccoon. Overall not recommended due to the risk of rabies and other diseases.
Warnings: While not typically aggressive, raccoons are known to carry rabies, which can be transmitted by its bite. Other than rabies, there are at least a dozen other pathogens carried by raccoons, including distemper.