Actual Size: 2’ to 3’ long; 7 to 10 lbs.

Characteristics: Thick bodies that are heavily furred. Has a distinctive black “mask” over the eyes and alternating light and dark rings on the tail.

Habitat: Generally remains outdoors in abandoned burrows and trees. May also enter homes for shelter, often staying in empty crawl spaces or beneath porches.


  • Easily identified by the distinctive black “mask” over the eyes and rings on the tail.
  • Notorious for rummaging through trash and other debris in search of food.
  • Are a major host of rabies in the United States, especially in the eastern portion of the country.

Raccoons in Memphis TN Metro Area

Raccoons are thick and stocky mammals known for their recognizable black “mask” that covers their eyes. They can be found across most of the United States, extending into northern South America. While raccoons are nomadic, they typically stay within a defined territory. Rather than digging or building nests, they prefer to mark certain locations and remember them as potential shelters. Raccoons remain active throughout the year, but during harsh winter conditions, they may seek refuge in dens. When it comes to homeowners, raccoons have gained a reputation as “backyard bandits,” as they often rummage through garbage cans, disrupt kiddie pools, and create general chaos.

Raccoon Habitat

Raccoons show a preference for wooded areas near water and natural habitats, where they often seek shelter in abandoned burrows or the bends of trees. In urban environments, raccoons adapt by making their homes in vacant crawl spaces, beneath porches, and even within attics. Whether in rural or urban settings, raccoons are known to explore their surroundings, searching for food sources and scouting out new locations. Their diet is quite versatile, as they consume insects, fruits, vegetables, and small animals when necessary. Raccoons are primarily active during the night, earning a reputation for raiding garbage cans during overnight hours. Gardens and residential properties can attract raccoons due to the availability of food resources and potential denning sites.

Raccoon Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Although not all raccoons carry rabies, they are considered significant carriers of the disease in the United States, particularly in the eastern regions where their populations are expanding. It is crucial to ensure that pets receive proper vaccinations to mitigate this potential threat. Raccoons can cause various forms of damage, such as killing poultry, destroying bird nests, and damaging gardens or crops. When seeking shelter, raccoons may wreak havoc on a home by destroying insulation, wood, shingles, electrical wiring, and even walls. Additionally, signs of raccoon activity can include droppings, urine stains, or the accumulation of materials used for nest construction.

If you are having an issue with raccoons, it is best to consult a professional wildlife control company for removal.