The raccoon occurs throughout Tennessee and is the official state mammal. Generally a nocturnal animal, raccoons will den in hollow trees or hollow logs where it spends most of the daylight hours. They are good climbers and swimmers and are generally found in habitats associated with water such as hardwood swamps, marshes, and bottomland forests. Raccoons do most of their foraging near or in waterways.
All too often raccoons occur in urban areas where they scavenge for food during the night. In residential areas food is abundant and cover is readily available, raccoons become very plentiful in these locales.
Raccoons are medium sized carnivores with distinctive blackish face masks outlined in white. They have 4-7 dark rings on their thickly furred tails. The raccoons pelt is generally grayish sprinkled with blackish buff, giving the raccoons coat a grizzled appearance.
The average size of a raccoon is 12-30 pounds. The mating season begins in February and typically 2-3 cubs per litter are born in April or May. Raccoons are born with their eyes and ears closed, covered in dark fur with no rings on the tail. The mother alone cares for the young. The youngsters begin dispersing when all animals in family group have been weaned.
Raccoons eat fruit, nuts, frogs, insects, grains, crawfish, bird eggs, mice and berries.