Atlas der Säugetiere Nordrhein-Westfalens
AG Säugetierkunde in NRW
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The Raccoon is a mammal species from the family small bears (Procyonidae). It reaches a body length of ca. 70 cm and a weight of up to 10 kg. A characteristic is the bushy, ringed tail and the contrasting dark facial mask, which provides a superficial resemblance to similar-sized mammals but not closely related species like Raccoon Dog and Badger. The crepuscular and nocturnally active Raccoon is known for its adaptability to extremely different habitats. As ecological generalists and opportunists Raccoons are able to discover and utilize spatially and temporally unpredictable resources. Raccoons require an environment where they find good escape routes, food and cover. Arid regions and pure coniferous forests do not count among the preferred Raccoon habitats.
Originating from North and Middle America the Raccoon is a new resident in Europe. Although, since the beginning of the 20th century, individual Raccoons repeatedly escaped from fur farms, but they never got firmly established until in 1934 two Raccoon pairs were released at the Edernsee in Hesse. The release became the foundation for today ′s stable population of this procyonid species in central and western Germany. Additionally, farm fugitives that escaped around 1945 in Strausberg County east of Berlin where also able to permanently establish themselves there. From these two areas the Racoon began to spread almost concentrically. The first record of a shot Raccoon in Westphalia dates back to the year 1946 from Glindfeld Forest near Medebach in Hochsauerland County. Until the end of the 1960s the Raccoon managed to populate the southern Westphalian hill country, as well as southern parts of Eastern Westphalia, but there were also a few records in the north and west of Westphalia.
By now, the Raccoon has been recorded in many communities in all of North Rhine-Westphalia. However, the differences in abundance in the individual parts of the state are considerable. By far the highest densities were reached in Eastern Westphalia-Lippe and in the Süder Mountains. In the parts belonging to the northern German lowlands the densities are strikingly low, even though one could assume that there too was sufficient time during the past decades for a significant population increase. There are currently no reliable indications for a recent increase in these areas, as for example in the Westphalian Bay. Perhaps, the park-like landscape structure with its patches of woodland and the frequent lack of old tree stands is sub-optimal, so that here no higher densities can be reached.
Franziska Klauer und Jan Ole Kriegs
Klauer F, Kriegs JO (2021): Waschbär (Procyon lotor).In: AG Säugetierkunde NRW — Online-Atlas of the mammals of North Rhine-Westphalia. Downloaded from saeugeratlas-nrw.lwl.org on 2021/04/11