Myths About Raccoons
Raccoons Are Nocturnal
While it is true that raccoons are more active at night, many will venture out during the day as well. And the idea that raccoons seen in the day are suffering from rabies is another misconception. Many raccoons will forage well into the daytime, especially females foraging food for their babies back in the den. Just because you see a raccoon during the daytime does not mean that they are a rabies carrier. That said, raccoons are still wild animals so avoiding any contact is still the best decision.
Raccoons Hibernate During the Winter
This is actually a widely believed myth surrounding raccoons. Winter months mean freezing temperatures and scarce food, creating a difficult environment for any mammal. However, raccoons actually remain active throughout the year thanks to a couple of unique traits. First, Raccoons are omnivores and will eat nearly anything. Unlike many more specialized animal diets, raccoons can adapt to the more scarce weather. In addition, raccoons enter a state known as torpor. While similar to hibernation, in that the raccoon will lower its body temperature and sleep for weeks at a time. Torpor differs as raccoons will wake up on warmer days to forage before returning to their den. The temperature is the major factor in torpor habits. In warmer climates, raccoons may never enter torpor.
Raccoons Wash Their Food
Many people incorrectly believe that raccoons “wash” their food as many raccoons in captivity will dip their food into their water before consuming it. While it is true that raccoons will roll their food around in their hands and dip it in water, it has much less to do with any sort of cleanliness and more to do with raccoons incredible sense of touch. A raccoons front paws have many times more touch receptors than their feet and a large percentage of a raccoon’s brain is dedicated to the tactile sense in their hands. As such raccoons will “wash” and roll food in its hands to help recognize potential food sources.
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