Raccoons in the wild have a very short lifespan of about 3 years. The most they could probably live is 4-5 years if they’re very healthy and in good circumstances. In safe, artificial environments, they can live upwards of 20 entire years! However, it’s not ethical to try to tame a wild raccoon, and usually illegal to do so. This is the life cycle of your typical wild raccoon.
Raccoons mate in the late winter after hibernating. They usually sleep most of the winters off in their den. Around February or March, a healthy female raccoon that is at least 1 year old will begin mating. It takes the female raccoon 1-2 months to give birth after mating, so her kits are born around April or May. If the raccoon mated later than usual, she’ll give birth as late as June.
Before a female raccoon gives birth, she will meticulously search for a place to make a den to raise her young. She is looking for a place secure and that won’t bring a lot of attention to her. In the wild, this could be like a mini cave or a hollowed out tree trunk. In urban environments, this could be in between your walls, your attic, or an abandoned building. There are several locations such as sewers in our urban environments where raccoons can hide.
She is looking for something dark, quiet, and small. Tight areas where they feel secure is going to make them the most comfortable and limit the likelihood of being attacked by a predator.
Sometimes female raccoons will come together to raise each others kits. If a female raccoon is injured, another female raccoon may adopt her young and raise them for her.
The female mother raccoon is very protective about her young. She raises them for 2-4 months near the den, being very sedentary and quite protective of her territory and kits. The raccoon will be almost fully developed around the 4 month mark, however they don’t reach full maturity until one year after being born.
The raccoons will stay with their mother until being one year old. Raccoons are very solitary creatures and don’t need social comfort. They don’t get attached to each other, so at the one year mark the adult raccoon will wander off and do its own thing. It may find a few other raccoons to hang around with for protection, but they never get too close to each other. They can wander off at any time, and only stay near each other for protection from predators.
Raccoons can remember their mother and their siblings, but they don’t get attached to them after the one year mark. They don’t give them special treatment- they still fight, and they become independent and solitary.
At the one year mark, raccoons are ready for mating. They are fully matured and ready to reproduce! At the end of the winter being 1 year old, they will reproduce as their mother produced them. Female raccoons will raise their kits, and male raccoons will do their foraging duty.
If the raccoon is quite healthy, it may reproduce yet again the next year. Often times it just has the ability to reproduce once because winter can be so harsh on the raccoons.
Raccoons can die from a number of ways. In urban environments they may be hit by a car or damaged from human machinery. They may accidentally fall off of a building or get squished. Sometimes they get injured from too many falls, and are unable to hunt and gather. Often times winters can wipe out a lot of raccoons if they didn’t store enough food or have sufficient shelter.
In the wilderness raccoons may be eaten by a predator larger than them. The elements may also be what gets them. Sometimes they just run out of energy too because surviving in the wild can be very tough!
Wild and urban raccoons have a very short lifespan. In artificial enthronements they can live upwards of twenty years.
We hope you enjoyed this read about the life cycle of a raccoon. If you have any questions for us, let us know!
Thanks- Wildlife X Team International