A raccoon in a tree


Raccoons are adaptable, nocturnal animals that often live in urban environments in their native North America. They are great climbers and have slim, dexterous forepaws that aid agility. They also don’t mind a spot of swimming, but since their fur is not waterproof, it's by no means their preferred travelling mode. Raccoons never journey further than is absolutely necessary, preferring to live within the demands of their appetites, on a diet that includes urban waste and roadkill.

Scientific name: Procyon lotor

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Common Raccoon,
  • North American Raccoon,
  • Northern Raccoon

Watch video clips from past programmes (2 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


Map showing the distribution of the Raccoon taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Raccoon can be found in a number of locations including: North America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Raccoon distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Increasing

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1

BBC News about Raccoon

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.