The average lifespan of a raccoon varies significantly depending on various factors such as environment, food availability, and predation risk. For instance, in the wild, these mammals typically live between 2 to 3 years, but they can survive up to 10 years if they have access to ample resources and avoid predation.
However, raccoons that live in captivity or controlled environments, such as zoos or wildlife rehabilitation centers, may have longer lifespans. Some captive raccoons have been known to live up to 20 years old, although this is rare.
Due to these varied statistics regarding their lifespan, many people would like to comprehend their average life expectancy. Fortunately, this article will address the topic comprehensively by providing valuable details on the lifespan of a raccoon, including factors that can affect its longevity in the wild and captivity.
How Long Do Raccoons Live In The Wild?
The average lifespan of a raccoon in the wild is around 2 to 5 years (and a maximum of 15 years).
Although these mammals are known for their adaptability and resourcefulness, which can help them survive in various environments, they are vulnerable to many threats that may significantly reduce their lifespan.
Also Read: 6 Reasons Why Raccoons Fight With Each Other
How Long Do Raccoons Live In Captivity?
Raccoons live longer in captivity/domesticated than in the wild, with an average lifespan of 13-20 years.
It’s mainly because they are not exposed to the same dangers common in the wild, such as predation, disease, and food scarcity. Additionally, they can receive regular veterinary care and a balanced diet, contributing to a longer lifespan.
Life of A Raccoon: The Three Stages
The life of a raccoon can be divided into three stages:
1. Baby Raccoon
Raccoons are born in litters of 2 to 5 babies, called kits. The kits are born blind and deaf and rely on their mother’s milk for nourishment. They stay with their mother for about 8 to 10 weeks, during which time they open their eyes and explore their surroundings.
Also read: 12 Baby Raccoon Facts That Will Surprise You
2. Juvenile Raccoon
After leaving their mother, young raccoons enter the sub-adult stage, where they continue to grow and develop their survival skills. They become more independent and start hunting for food, although they may stay close to their mother for a while. This stage lasts from around six months to 1 year of age.
3. Adult Raccoon
Once raccoons reach adulthood, they become sexually mature; hence they can reproduce. They can also survive independently, although they may still live in family groups for a while. Adult raccoons can live up to 5 years in the wild, although they may live longer in captivity or protected environments.
How To Tell The Age Of A Raccoon?
It can be difficult to accurately determine the age of a raccoon just by looking at it. However, there are a few signs that can help you estimate their age:
Size: Young raccoons are smaller than adults and may have a more rounded shape. As they grow, their body shape becomes more elongated and streamlined.
Teeth: Like most mammals, raccoons have different sets of teeth as they age. Young raccoons have small, sharp teeth, while older raccoons have more prominent, worn teeth. Therefore, examining their teeth will give you a general idea of the raccoon’s age.
Eyes: Young raccoons have bright and shiny eyes. However, as they age, the eyes become duller and may even show signs of cataracts.
Behavior: Young raccoons are more curious and playful, while older raccoons are highly cautious and territorial. Therefore, observing their behavior is vital in enabling you to estimate their level of maturity.
Physical Condition: Older raccoons usually have more scars or injuries from fights or accidents, while younger raccoons typically have smoother and unblemished fur.
Also read: Distemper in Raccoons: What You Need to Know
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Offspring Does a Raccoon Have in a Year?
Raccoons typically have one litter of offspring per year, although in some cases, they may have a second litter if the first litter does not survive. The raccoon mating season generally occurs between January and March, and the gestation period lasts around 63 days. Females give birth to litters of 2 to 5 kits.
How Long Do Baby Raccoons Stay With Their Mother?
Baby raccoons stay with their mother for 8 to 10 weeks after birth. During this time, the mother provides nourishment and protection for her offspring, teaching them essential survival skills such as hunting and foraging for food.
Why Do Animals Live longer In Captivity?
Animals live longer in captivity because they have access to regular medical care, which helps them stay healthy and recover from illnesses or injuries that may be fatal in the wild.
Animals in captivity also have access to a consistent supply of food and water, which helps prevent starvation and dehydration. They are also kept in secure environments that protect them from natural predators, environmental hazards, and other threats that they would face in the wild.
How Long Can A Raccoon Live Without Food?
The exact time a raccoon can survive without food depends on several factors, such as age, overall health, and environmental conditions, since they are known to be resilient animals. For instance, a baby raccoon can live for a maximum of two weeks without food and six weeks for an adult if they have access to water.
It’s because these mammals have a significant fat amount stored in their body which is broken down, providing them with adequate energy to survive for that period. However, the species can only survive for three days without food and water.
How Long Can A Baby Raccoon Survive Without Their Mother?
If a baby raccoon is very young, such as a newborn or only a few weeks old, it will not survive very long (less than two weeks) without its mother. It’s primarily because they must be fed every few hours and kept warm.
However, if a baby raccoon is older and can eat solid food, it may survive longer (up to six weeks) without its mother.
How Old Are Raccoons When They Open Their Eyes?
Kits are born with their eyes and ears closed. Their eyes open when they are around 3 to 4 weeks old. However, the timing can vary; some kits may open their eyes a few days earlier or later.
While these creatures may not live as long as some other animals, they are fascinating creatures that play an essential role in the ecosystem.
However, it is worth noting that it is illegal in many areas to keep raccoons as pets or attempt to raise them yourself, as they are considered wild animals and can carry dangerous diseases.