Montana Official State Travel Site
Facebook Flickr Twitter Youtube 1.800.847.4868


Raccoons are some of the smartest and most mischievous animals in Montana. With masks and ringed tails, they're also one of the easiest species to identify. Is it any coincidence that a masked animal also happens to be nocturnal? No wonder they've earned a reputation at "bandits."

Procyon lotor

They inhabit all of Montana and have adapted well to living in any habitat, although they're commonly associated with agricultural and riparian habitats.

They tend to feed on the animals in or around water: frogs, crayfish and earthworms are favorites. They also eat berries and nuts as well as the eggs of waterfowl. If you watch a raccoon closely, you'll see the front paws are very agile and look like tiny hands. As they eat, they appear to wash their hands and dinner, but it is actually a matter of sensitivity. Raccoons have sense receptors in their paws that are enhanced by water; in a sense, the water helps them evaluate their food.

All spring and summer, raccoons build up fat to prepare for winter. Raccoons do not hibernate, but they will den for extended periods to stay warm. Although raccoons are not overly social, they are not territorial either. You may see them in groups of two or three, or at times, all alone. Because raccoons are out only at night they are not often seen, but if you watch closely at dusk you might get lucky.

Skunk Map