To Our Ojai Community:

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we recover from the damage from the Thomas Fire on our trails. In the coming months trails will likely open and close depending on rain and changing trail conditions. Click here for current information and trail notifications »


Procyon lotor


Physical Characteristics

The raccoon has gray to brown fur. It is a stocky mammal about 2 to 3 feet long and weighs 10 to 30 pounds. It has a black mask around its eyes with white fur around the mask. It has a stripe that runs from its forehead to its nose and white fur around its nose. It has a bushy, ringed tail and black paws with 5 toes. The raccoon’s paws look a little like human hands. The raccoon’s toes are flexible and it is very good at grabbing, pulling things apart and holding things. The raccoon is a very good climber and can go down a tree backwards or face first!


The raccoon lives in wooded areas near water. It is very adaptable though and is also found in suburbs and cities. It usually makes its den in a tree, but it may make its home in an abandoned woodchuck burrow, a cave, barn, sewer, or even a house!


The raccoon is omnivorous and opportunistic. Common foods include fruits, nuts, berries, insects, rodents, frogs, eggs and crayfish. In some rural areas, corn is a large part of the raccoon’s diet. In suburban and urban areas it often forages through trash cans for food. If water is near, the raccoon will sometimes put its food in the water and roll it around. It looks like it is washing its food, but it is not. The raccoon is softening the food and looking for foreign objects on the food.


The raccoon is mostly nocturnal. It is also solitary, except for mothers and their young. In the winter the raccoon may sleep in its den for a few weeks but it does not hibernate. The raccoons usually walks, but it can run at speeds of up to 15 mph. It is also a good swimmer and often hunts for food in the water. The raccoon makes a variety of vocalizations including hisses, whistles, screams, growls and snarls.



Mating season runs January through March. A little over 2 months after mating, the female gives birth to a litter of between 4 to 6 young. The babies are able to stand when they are about 4 to 6 weeks old. They are weaned at 70 days and start to hunt when they are between 9-12 weeks old. When they first come out of the den, the mother may carry them around by the neck, like a cat carries a kitten. The mother also teaches them how to hunt for food and climb trees. The mother raccoon is very protective of her young and will attack predators that come too close. Young raccoons have darker coats then mature raccoons. The babies may stay with their mother for up to a year.

The life expectancy of a raccoon in the wild is only 1.8 to 3.1 years, depending on the local conditions in terms of traffic volume, hunting, and weather severity.

Predators and survival techniques

The most important natural predators of the raccoon are bobcats, coyotes, and great horned owls, the latter mainly preying on young raccoons.


Raccoon, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia