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Raccoons Active

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Yesterday’s mystery tracks were those of a raccoon that was following a partially-open stream, emerging from the water only when it was necessary to cross ice in order to get to the next patch of open water. Temperatures have been on the mild side recently, so raccoons have been active. During very cold periods raccoons become lethargic and tend to seek shelter in hollow trees or other retreats where they may remain for up to a month or so. When the temperature at night rises above 32°F., they become active, but little or no food is consumed. Instead, they live off body fat (up to 30% of their weight) they accumulated in the fall. In addition to recent warm weather coaxing Raccoons to become active, February is the peak of their mating season.

(Muskrat, Otter and Beaver were the three other 5-toed, water-loving mammals that received the most “votes,” all viable guesses. The Raccoon’s front and hind feet are more dissimilar from each other than those of Muskrats or Otters are, and a Beaver’s hind feet are webbed and considerably larger than a Raccoon’s.)

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6 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    That was a fun one! (Raccoon was my 1st guess 👍🏻) Amazing how many people enjoy the Mystery Photos!

    February 7, 2017 at 7:35 am

  2. The front paw print is so “hand” like, I’m not surprised… although I am surprised that raccoons are out and about in Feb. Love these mystery photos, Mary. Keep them coming!

    February 7, 2017 at 9:23 am

  3. Oops, missed that one. But today, during our heavy snowfall, I did get to watch a muskrat crawling in and out of various holes in the ice at Great Meadows, popping up each time with something yummy to eat topside.

    February 7, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    • I’ve seen that once, and it was a thrill. A whole family of muskrats getting huge mouthfuls of some vegetation they were eating!

      February 7, 2017 at 7:31 pm

  4. sylviedesautels

    Mary…do you mean to say that Raccoons ​are aquatic? Who knew?

    On Tue, Feb 7, 2017 at 7:27 AM, Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: ” Yesterday’s mystery tracks were those of a raccoon > that was following a partially-open stream, emerging from the water only > when it was necessary to cross ice in order to get to the next patch of > open water. Temperatures have been on the mild side recen” >

    February 7, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    • Yes, they’re pretty good swimmers!

      February 7, 2017 at 7:47 pm

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