Procyonids | Procyonidae
Procyonids | Procyonidae
Procyonidae, also referred to as the raccoon family, includes 18 species, such as, raccoons, ringtails, coatis, and more. This family is found only in the New World; that is from Canada to Argentina, in habitats ranging from forests to deserts to wetlands. Members of the Procyonidae family are typically small and slender with long tails that can be used for balancing. Due to their appearance, Procyonids are typically considered to be smaller cousins of bears, however, this is inaccurate as they are more closely related to mustelids.
While the Common Raccoon has a bulky build, Procyonids are relatively small animals with slender bodies and long tails. The Procyonidae family is primarily omnivorous and will feed on animal or plant matter. Some members of the procyonidae family are social and live in groups while others are more solitary and live alone.
Procyonids are medium-sized mammals known for their dexterous front paws and facial masks. They have robust bodies, bushy tails often with rings, and a coat that can vary from grays to browns. Their paws are almost hand-like, adept at grasping and manipulating objects, which aids in their omnivorous foraging. They don’t truly speak, but communicate through a series of vocalizations, from growls to whistles. Their senses, particularly touch and hearing, are sharp, helping them navigate their often nocturnal lifestyle. Agile climbers and strong swimmers, procyonids are versatile in both movement and habitat preference.
Humans have long been fascinated by procyonids, particularly raccoons, for their cleverness and adaptability. They feature in various mythologies and folklore as tricksters and resourceful creatures. In modern times, raccoons, the most recognized procyonids, have become pop culture icons, appearing as characters in movies and cartoons, symbolizing curiosity and mischief.
While they are admired for their intelligence, they are also often considered pests due to their habit of raiding trash cans in urban areas. Conservation efforts for procyonids vary; some species like the raccoon are abundant, while others require protection due to habitat loss and hunting. Education and habitat preservation are key to their continued coexistence with humans.
The characteristics that define Procyonids include them being small animals with slender bodies and long tails. Procyonids also typically have an omnivorous diet as they have lost the adaptation to eating flesh. Procyonids are solitary animals with mothers raising their litter by themselves and have less than 40 teeth.
There are 14 species of Procyonidae in total that belong to 6 genera and are divided into dozens of subspecies. The species of Procyonidae include the Eastern lowland olingo, Cacomistle, South American coati, and the Eastern mountain coati. Other species of Procyonidae are the Kinkajou, Crab-eating raccoon, and the Ring-tailed cat.
The Procyonidae family is believed to have emerged as a separate family within the Carnivora order about 22.6 million years ago. The geologic history of the Procyonidae family is old and dates back to the late Eocene period. The Procyonidae family is believed to have evolved within South and Central America.