Procyon lotor, commonly known as raccoons, are abundant in Isla Vista and Coal Oil Point Reserve. They can be found from Canada to Panama as well as parts of Europe (2). Raccoons can be distinguished by their brown-black face mask and black ringed tail (2). They have dark gray to black fur which molts during the summer (2). Raccoons can be found between 78 – 93 cm long with a weight of between 4 – 8 kg (1). They avoid extremely dry areas and are most abundant near bodies of water (2)(3). Mating occurs during late winter and family groups remain together until early summer (1). Raccoons eat a wide range of plants, animals, and even human trash (3). They are generally nocturnal though some studies have proposed otherwise (3). Populations of raccoons around Santa Barbara have been found to contain Baylisascaris procyonis, a round worm hatches in their host’s feces and infect other animals (4).
(1) Jameson, E. W., Jr., & Peeters, H. J. (2004). Mammals of California (Revised ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
(2) Lotze, J., & Anderson, S. (1979). Procyon lotor. Mammalian Species, (119), 1-8.
(3) Tesky, Julie L. 1995. Procyon lotor. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer)
(4) Weinstein, S. B. (2016). Baylisascaris procyonis Demography and Egg Production in a California Raccoon Population. Journal of Parasitology, 102(6), 622-628.
(Photograph) Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles © California Academy of Sciences