North American Raccoon
The North American raccoon species, the most widespread raccoon, is easily recognizable by its black facial mask and ringed tail. It's found from southern Canada down to Panama. Adaptable and resourceful, these raccoons have successfully transitioned to urban life, often scavenging food from garbage bins. The North American raccoon is known for its intelligence and dexterity, often demonstrated by its ability to open containers and navigate complex environments.
A subspecies of the North American raccoon, the Florida raccoon is primarily found in the wetlands and forests of Florida. While similar in appearance to their northern relatives, Florida raccoons are typically slightly smaller. The swamps and marshlands of Florida provide an abundant source of food like crayfish, a favored delicacy among this subspecies. Due to their proximity to human settlements in the state, Florida raccoons have become adept at navigating urban environments, making them a common sight in residential areas.
Unique to the Florida Keys, the Keys raccoons are a distinct subspecies. Due to their isolated habitat on the islands, they have evolved to be smaller than their mainland counterparts, a phenomenon known as "island dwarfism." Living in a more limited ecosystem, these raccoons primarily rely on the area's diverse marine life, including crabs and small fish. Maintaining a safe distance from the Keys raccoons is crucial as they are more susceptible to certain diseases due to their isolated population.