Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Racoon

Erika took this photo at the the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on 26 July 2012. Raccoons are usually nocturnal. When seen in the day, they are often sick. This young Raccoon, however, appeared to be in good health.

Raccoons can be pests. They are fond of corn, though they also eat "crayfish, frogs, insects, fruits, and bird eggs" (Minnesota DNR). They can be especially destructive to loon and duck nests. Add earthworms to that list--look closely--this individual rather dexterously fished worms from the roadside leaf litter. In Northfield, Raccoons live in the storm sewers and often damage local bird feeders. I have also seen them high in trees during the daytime. They partially hibernate during the winter and often form communal dens (once under our porch). Raccoons can be found across all of Minnesota except in the far northeast. Each year hunters harvest up to 150,000 Raccoons, while trappers take an additional 100,000 (MN DNR).

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