are raccoons cats or dogs

Many people assume that raccoons are rodents, but they’re from the procyonid genus. These small mammalian carnivores have powerful jaws and teeth. Distantly related to cats and dogs, they share a common evolutionary ancestor with bears. Endlessly adaptive, raccoons are among the more intelligent mammal species.

General attributes edit

Raccoons are unique because they can open a lot of closed containers, like doors and garbage cans, with their thumbs, even though they are not opposable. Being omnivores with a reputation for cunning and mischievous, they are one of the few medium-to-large-sized animals that have expanded their range since human encroachment (the coyote is another). Their intelligence and dexterity enable them to survive in a variety of environments. The plantigrade hindfeet of raccoons resemble those of humans and bears. Raccoons are sometimes considered vermin or a nuisance. [5] Scavenging trash cans and other food sources, they have easily adapted to urban settings (compare urban opossums, skunks, and foxes).

Raccoons range in length (including the tail) from 20 to 40 inches (51 to 102 cm), with some species-specific variation. They also weigh between 10 and 35 lb (4 5 and 15. 9 kg). The length of a raccoon’s tail varies from 8 to 16 inches (20 to 41 cm). Male raccoons are generally larger than females. A baby raccoon is called a kit. [6].

In the wild, raccoons can live up to 16 years, but the majority do not survive past their second year. After reaching adulthood, raccoons typically live for five years. Human activity (such as driving, hunting, and trapping) and malnutrition are the main causes of death. [7].

Nomenclature edit

The Algonquian word aroughcoune, which means “he who scratches with his hands,” is the source of the English word “raccoon.” Similar to this, Spanish-speaking colonists borrowed the term “mapache” from the Nahuatl word mapachtli, which roughly translates to “that which has hands.”

The word “before the dog” (Greek for “before the genus Procyon”) is also applied to the star Procyon in the constellation Canis Minor.

Although early taxonomists considered the raccoon’s relatively loose evolutionary relationship with bears to be significant, Carl Linnaeus initially classified the raccoon in the genus Ursus. The term “washing bear” is used to refer to the raccoon in many languages, including Waschbär in German, mosómedve in Hungarian, vaskebjørn in Danish and Norwegian, tvättbjörn in Swedish, wasbeer in Dutch, pesukaru in Estonian and pesukarhu in Finnish, araiguma (アライグマ) in Japanese, orsetto lavatore in Italian, huànxióng (浣熊) in Chinese, and mieshta mechka (миеща мечка) in Bulgarian. One exception is Russia, where the name “yenot” (енот) for raccoons is given because they resemble genet furs. Nonetheless, the Russian name for the common raccoon is yenot-poloskun (енот-полоскун), which translates to “rinsing raccoon,” and it also has to do with water.

The term “washing” is sometimes limited to the common raccoon species. For instance, the common raccoon is known in French as raton laveur, which translates to “washing rat,” but its Linnaean binomial is Procyon lotor, which roughly translates to “washing pre-dog.” On the other hand, the French and Latin names for the crab-eating raccoon are “little crab-catching rat” (raton crabier) and “crab-eating pre-dog” (Procyon cancrivorus), respectively.

So, that settles it. Raccoons are like dogs? Well, sort of. It’s true that raccoons and bears are the most similar animals, hence the term “trash panda.”

In the order Carnivora, raccoons are classified alongside dogs and cats. Nevertheless, an evolutionary tree reveals that they are more closely linked to bears than to any of our domesticated friends, having a more recent common ancestor with these powerful animals.

Raccoons are extremely intelligent, which (sorry cat lovers) makes them a bit more like dogs. (Dogs have twice as many neurons in their cerebral cortices than cats, the parts of the brain associated with higher level thinking.) Raccoons are omnivores, and though dogs are technically carnivores, theyll eat just about anything you give them. Cats, on the other hand, are picky eaters.

My spouse and I relocated to a small suburb from Seattle. A family of raccoons and trash pandas strolled across our backyard deck not too long ago, acting as though they were the property owners. (See photo. ).

Observe that the evolutionary tree divides most early into species that resemble cats (“Feliformia”) and species that resemble dogs (“Caniformia”). So, the dog-cat division happened early in carnivore evolution. Raccoons arose within the Caniformia suborder. That means that, in a technical sense, raccoons are more “like dogs” in response to our query. ” But theres more to the story.


What kind of animal is a raccoon?

Raccoons are the largest of their family, Procyonidae, which consists of medium-sized mammals native to the Americas. This family includes coatis, kinkajous, olingos, olinguitos, ringtails and cacomistles, but the raccoon is the only member found in Canada.

Are raccoons a threat to house cats?

Raccoons can be just as dangerous to pets as they are to humans. According to The Humane Society of America, raccoons will not attack dogs but if caught or attacked by a dog, they may fight back. The Humane Society also says raccoons can prey upon kittens and small cats for food.

Are foxes dogs or cats?

Biological Characteristics. The biological answer to whether foxes are cats or dogs is simple: they belong to the Canidae family, which means they are dogs.

Is A raccoon related to a dog?

Nope. They’re both part of the caniformia suborder of carnivora but raccoons are more closely related to red pandas, skunks, and mustelids than to dogs. Now, there is a type of vulpini canid known as a raccoon dog.