Raccoons are well-suited for a vast array of ecosystems, although they are best adapted for deciduous forest biomes. However, they are common almost everywhere in North and Central America, from Canada to Panama, from swamplands to tropical broadleaf forests to xeric shrublands to temperate coniferous woodlands to montane grasslands.
Although they have thrived in sparsely wooded areas in the last decades, raccoons depend on vertical structures to climb when they feel threatened. Therefore, they avoid open terrain and areas with high concentrations of beech trees, as beech bark is too smooth to climb. Tree hollows in old oaks or other trees and rock crevices are preferred by raccoons as sleeping, winter and litter dens. If such dens are unavailable or accessing them is inconvenient, raccoons utilize burrows dug by other mammals, dense undergrowth, or tree crotches. Since amphibians, crustaceans and other animals found around the shore of lakes and rivers are an important part of the raccoon's diet, lowland deciduous or mixed forests abundant with water and marshes sustain the highest population densities. While population densities range from 0.5 to 3.2 animals per square kilometer (1.3–8.3 animals per square mile) in prairies and do not usually exceed six animals per square kilometer (15.5 animals per square mile) in upland hardwood forests, more than 20 raccoons per square kilometer (51.8 animals per square mile) can live in lowland forests and marshes.
Due to its adaptability, the raccoon has been able to use urban areas as a habitat, such as Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Toronto. Population in large urban areas are typically about 50 to 150 animals per square kilometer (129–388 animals per square mile). The range sizes of urban raccoons are only 0.03 to 0.38 km2 (0.01–0.15 mi2) for females and 0.08 to 0.79 km2 (0.03–0.31 mi2) for males. In small towns and suburbs, many raccoons sleep in a nearby forest after foraging in the settlement area. Fruit and insects in gardens and leftovers in municipal waste are easily available food sources
· 1 decade ago