NEBRASKAland July 2017

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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8 NEBRASKAland • JULY 2017 A Mammal Brief By Lindsay Rogers Procyon lotor An extremely adaptable animal, the northern raccoon is native to most of North America including Canada, the United States and Mexico. They can be found in nearly any area with accessible water, but prefer wooded habitats. Due to their adaptability, raccoons are commonly found in farmland, suburban and urban habitats where they forage for human foods including agricultural crops, garbage and dog food. In non-urban areas, raccoons eat small mammals, crayfish, nuts and fruit – they are true omnivores eating nearly anything they can find. Their front paws are remarkably human-like and allow for catching prey and prying open fruits or nuts (and trash cans). Their Latin name "lotor" means "the washer" and refers to their well-known behavior of washing their food. Population densities vary widely depending on the habitat, but in general their numbers have risen since the turn of the century due to their ability to adapt to human habitats. ■ Lindsay Rogers is an outdoor education specialist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. PHOTO BY ERIC FOWLER

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