Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Scott Root
Photo Copyright Scott Root

The northern raccoon, Procyon lotor, is commonly found near water in Utah's wooded areas. The species has not always been abundant in the state, however. Until the 1930s, raccoons were common in eastern North America, but rare in the west. The species has recently increased its range and abundance, however, and is now found throughout much of the continent.

Raccoons usually forage near water, and are extremely opportunistic feeders. Raccoons eat, for example, fruits, nuts, insects, crayfish, worms, reptile and amphibian eggs, small mammals, fishes, nestling birds, and even garbage. The species breeds in late winter, and gestation lasts about two months. Females produce one litter of three to seven young each year. Raccoons are primarily nocturnal, and some individuals become inactive during periods of heavy snow and extreme cold. Most raccoons are solitary, the exception being females with young.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider. 1980. A field guide to the mammals. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 289 pp.