This is a cute raccoon that has also become a model for anime! However, behind its cute face, there are various complex personalities and ways of interacting with us humans that are not easily predictable.
Why don’t you take a look at this page and think about how to deal with raccoons?



~ Basic information. ~

Mammalia-Carnivora-Procyonidae-Raccoon genus.

Length 40~60cm long tail 20~40cm.
Weight 3.5~9kg.

The main habitat of raccoons is southern Canada and central America.

They are basically nocturnal and live in tree holes, forests near rivers with water, etc.

Their fur is covered in grayish-brown to reddish-brown, and their tails have 5-7 black ring-like patterns.

Although raccoons look almost the same, it is easy to tell the difference between males and females by turning them over and looking at their bellies. The place where urine comes out is called the “urethral opening,” and in males, the urethral opening is slightly lower. In females, it is located near the “anus.”

In the case of a female who has given birth to a baby, her nipples may be clearly visible to give milk.

The breeding season is from January to March, and babies are born about 63-65 days after pregnancy. Raccoons give birth to about 3-7 babies at a time.

The average lifespan is 13-16 years, but some raccoons have lived up to 22 years. If they live in the wild, their lifespan may be shorter due to human factors such as traffic accidents or malnutrition.

Raccoons mainly eat crayfish, mice, fruits, and bird eggs.

*Note that artificial means something that is not a natural phenomenon but something that people plan and do.




Raccoon’s Q&A.

Is it true that raccoons have dexterous hands?

Have you ever seen a raccoon eating fruits such as apples?

Actually, raccoons have five fingers like humans. Therefore, they are very dexterous animals and use their front paws skillfully to eat food.

In zoos, you can see them digging through small wooden boxes with their hands and eating food.


What is the difference between a raccoon and a raccoon dog?

Raccoons and raccoon dogs look similar with their cute fox-like and dog-like appearance, but these two animals are completely different.

First of all, raccoons have a slim appearance and their hands have five fingers like humans. On the other hand, raccoon dogs have a round and chubby body shape and their hands are short like dogs.

Raccoons are omnivorous and recently they have been known to inhabit forests, residential areas, and sometimes even the ceilings of houses. Similarly, raccoon dogs are also omnivorous and can inhabit forests, residential areas, and the ceilings of houses.

The most decisive difference is their personality. Raccoons are aggressive and have a very rough temperament. On the other hand, raccoon dogs tend to have a calm and relaxed personality.

Where does the raccoon get its name?

In English, it is called ‘raccoon’, but in Japanese it is called ‘araiguma’. This time, I will introduce the origin of why it is called ‘araiguma’ in Japanese.

Have you ever seen a raccoon rubbing its hands together when eating?

Some say that the name raccoon came from the fact that it looked like it was washing its hands.

However, in reality, raccoons themselves may not be aware of washing their food with water.

In other words, there is also an opinion that the name was given by someone who saw it and thought it looked like hand washing.

There is a possibility that the name was spread as it is. Whether raccoons are actually rubbing their hands together to clean them or whether they look like they are washing something and it is our human imagination, or whether there is another reason for this…

Either way, it seems that the origin of the name is not clear.


Can a raccoon be a pet?

If you want to keep a rare animal, you may need to follow the laws established by the country. This time, I will introduce whether it is possible to keep a raccoon at home in Japan.

Although it is understood that some animals such as dogs and cats can have aggressive personalities, some people may wonder if raccoons can be kept as pets.

However, to put it simply, keeping raccoons as pets is currently prohibited by Japanese law.

However, there was a time when it was allowed to keep raccoons as pets due to the influence of a certain anime.

Although raccoons are originally from America, there was a time when an anime called “Rascal the Raccoon” was popular in Japan.


The character of Rascal was depicted as very cute, and people who watched this anime began to think “I want to keep a raccoon too!” As a result of this pet boom, raccoons began to be imported. At that time, it was sold for about 50,000 yen per animal.

However, the anime and reality were completely different, and people who became tired of the aggressive and rough nature of raccoons abandoned them in the mountains.

Also, raccoons are very dexterous with their hands, so they easily escaped from zoo cages. As a result, wild raccoons bred and their numbers increased rapidly.

After that, because they had an impact on Japan’s native ecosystem and had negative effects on human living environments, raccoons became designated as “specified invasive species”.

Animals designated as such are generally subject to extermination.

Because of this history, it is not possible to keep raccoons as pets in Japan.

The root cause is that humans tried to keep them as pets without knowing their true nature beforehand. It is very sad that this has resulted in such an outcome.

※Specified Alien Species are those designated by the Act on Prevention of Damage from Specified Alien Species. It is an organism that can prey on the organisms that originally live in the country or cause harm to the ecosystem.

Do raccoons have natural enemies?

In Japan, raccoons have become a problem for various reasons. However, what is happening in other countries?

Actually, the natural enemies of raccoons are large carnivorous animals such as wolves, lynxes, pumas and eurasian eagle owls. Surprisingly, the most frightening enemy is us humans.

In foreign countries, raccoons are hunted and exterminated one after another, but in Japan there are few large carnivorous animals and no one hunts raccoons.

And because their reproductive power is quite high and there are no animals that compete with them, they have easily continued to increase in number. There are cases where dogs and cats are attacked, so we need to be careful.


What to do if you find a raccoon?

As I mentioned in another Q&A, raccoons are dangerous animals that have been designated as specific invasive species due to their aggressive nature. But what should you do if you actually encounter a raccoon?

First of all, do not approach it recklessly. Never do anything that might startle or provoke it. There is a possibility that you will be bitten or scratched, which can lead to serious consequences.


First of all, there is a possibility of infection with rabies. Rabies is not a disease that can only be transmitted from dogs. In fact, it can also be transmitted through raccoons. In foreign countries, there have been cases where a man was bitten by a raccoon and contracted rabies, resulting in death. The fatality rate of rabies is almost 100%, so if you become infected, the possibility of recovery is close to zero.

Secondly, there is a parasitic worm called roundworm in the intestines of raccoons. If it enters the human body from the raccoon’s body, it can cause brain dysfunction and in the worst case scenario, death.

Finally, there is an infectious disease caused by being bitten by a tick. Every year in Japan, people die from diseases caused by ticks.

There are many scary things like this, so if you find a raccoon, first of all do not approach it and contact your city hall or health center.

By the way, even if you have a cage yourself, catching a raccoon without permission may be illegal, so be careful.

Is there a smell that raccoons don’t like?

Raccoons have the potential to settle in residential areas and even in the ceiling of the back of the house. Some people may not want them to approach if they are going to mess up their homes.

Even aggressive raccoons have scents that they don’t like. Effective methods include wood vinegar, peppermint oil, and smoke. It is also effective to put wolf urine, which is an enemy of raccoons, but it is difficult to obtain.

In that case, ammonia-based liquids that can be easily purchased at home centers may be the best option.

It is also recommended to keep a dog as a watchdog, but in that case, a large dog with a larger body than a small dog is safer.




Type of raccoon.

・Tres Marias Raccoon.
・Barbados Racoon.
・Crab-eating Raccoon.
・Guadeloupe Raccoon.







国立研究開発法人 国立環境研究所 侵入生物データベース

2009年アライグマ対策技術集(暫定版) 関西野性生物研究所