Often described as a ‘masked bandit’ because of their unique facial coloring, a ‘mask’ around the eye area, the raccoon is also rightly called a bandit because of his thievery. A nocturnal animal, he can often be found raiding refuse areas at night. The paws of a raccoon can maneuver and open almost anything offered. Rocks seemingly too large for an animal of his size are moved, garage doors and windows are his for the opening, and garbage can lids are not even a deterrent. The raccoon is also a climber, runner, swimmer, and acrobat.
The diet of a raccoon is often determined by what is available. Fish, crayfish, mice, frogs, birds, eggs, and honey are all part of a raccoon’s ‘natural’ diet. Because raccoons live where people do, and vice versa, they will eat whatever we leave behind too. Garbage cans are a big attractant for these animals, and nearly anything that was once on our plates, will be eaten by a scavenging raccoon, including breads, meats, vegetables, sweets, even items such as soda.
The opossum will nest in hollows of trees or in burrows of other animals, under brush piles, under houses or dark, cool and quiet place where the opossum can sleep during the day.
They are scavenger, and will eat almost anything; diet varies by season. In the winter their diet is increased to increase body bulk. Opossums at the Zoo remain outdoors during the winter. They burrow under piles of leaves and wood chips to stay warm. Opossums gain weight at the base of their tail and in the whites of their eyes. If an opossum is overweight, its eyes will appear crossed, because the excess whites have pushed the eyes sideways. Also, overweight opossums may have a very thick tail.
A raccoon made a hole in a roof. This is our make shift raccoon one way door.