Baby Raccoons: 5 Unbelievable Facts and 5 Pictures

Published: December 27, 2021

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Raccoons are very intelligent social animals. If you've ever wondered how such a small animal could end up in the trash, we have the answer! Read on to find out five cool facts about raccoons, and see some adorable pictures along the way!

#1: Raccoons are called kits!

baby raccoon peeking
Baby raccoons are called kits!

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Did you know that raccoons are called kits? Multiple raccoons from the same family are called a litter. Raccoon mothers give birth to only one litter per year, with an average litter size of three to six pups. However, a raccoon can have up to 8 kits at a time.

Baby raccoons aren't the only land animals known as pups! Other animals with the same name include:

  • skunk
  • weasel
  • fox
  • squirrel

Adult male raccoons are called boars, and adult female raccoons are called sows, the same name as pigs!

#2: The Raccoon Kit Is Very Smart

Little raccoon close-up
Raccoon cubs are some of the smartest babies in the world.

©Heiko Kiera/Shutterstock.com

Dolphins, monkeys and dogs are often the first things that come to mind when people think of the smartest animals in the world. You might be surprised to learn that scientists say raccoons belong to the same category! In fact, some of the skills they possess resemble the benchmarks humans need to pass the test.

Their intelligence isn't their most remarkable feature, though. Studies have shown that this small mammal has 438 million neurons in its brain. So, what does this mean for raccoon intelligence? These adorable animals can learn from past mistakes, scientists say. They can even engage in problem solving and critical thinking!

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#3: Baby Raccoons Born Without Famous Masks

little raccoon on the tree
The raccoon's famous mask is very light on newborns, but darkens as they age.

©Heiko Kiera/Shutterstock.com

Perhaps one of the most distinctive features of raccoons is the natural mask that makes them look like little robbers. However, the baby raccoons are born without their iconic masks!

Baby raccoons are born with light fur that develops markings later in life. However, the mask doesn't appear until the baby is about two and a half months old. Their mask-like features start out lighter in color but continue to darken as the raccoon ages.

#4: Raccoons have fingers!

little raccoon siblings
Raccoon pups can pick up objects with their hands and even open the lid of a trash can!

©Becky Sheridan/Shutterstock.com

If you're wondering how raccoon suits ended up in your trash can, the answer is simple: they have five fingers! They do not have opposing thumbs, which distinguishes them from humans and primates. This means they have to grasp objects with both hands.

The mechanoreceptor cells in the raccoon's hands also make them unique. Baby raccoons have about four to five times as many of these cells in their hands as other mammals, the scientists said. The only other animals in the world with similar numbers are humans and primates. This means that raccoon pups possess a unique sense of handedness that most other mammals lack!

#5: Baby Raccoons in a Line

little raccoon sleeping
Baby raccoons follow their mother in a single file.

© sinagrafie/Shutterstock.com

Few people are not familiar with the sight of a row of ducklings following their mother. But did you know that raccoons follow them in the same formation?

Once the baby raccoon is about eight weeks old, it's time to leave the den. It is at this time that mother raccoons take their babies to a new location. During this journey, raccoon mothers take the opportunity to teach their cubs about finding food and how to spot threats around them. Raccoon cubs will remain with their mothers until they are about ten months old.

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little raccoon sleeping

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the name of the little raccoon?

Small raccoons are called kits, and multiple kits are called a litter. Kits are more likely to be born in the litter of 3 to 6 babies. Male raccoons are called boars, while female raccoons are called sows. Mother raccoon and her babies are called the nursery.

How much does a baby raccoon weigh?

Newborn raccoon babies weigh between 2 and 7 ounces and are only about half a foot long. By 3 months of age, they weigh approximately 33 ounces and should be eating adult food. A wild boar, a full-grown male raccoon, can weigh up to 35 pounds—three times the weight of an average house cat!

What do little raccoons eat?

Baby raccoons are mammals, so they are suckled by their mother and are very dependent on her. By two and a half months to three months old, they are fully weaned and more independent. Raccoon pups love an omnivorous diet including bugs, small fish, nuts, berries, and even frogs!

Where does the baby raccoon live?

Mother raccoons and their babies build nests in hollowed out trees. They can also nest inside to hide from predators. Raccoon dens are also often found in attics, which are great places to shelter from the cold!

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