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Interspecies Conflict/Raccoon vs platypus

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Question
Hi Bk who would win between a raccoon and a platypus?

also whats the largest predator a raccoon could defend itself against?

thanks

Answer
Hello Gian.


Q: Who would win between a raccoon and a platypus?
A: A common raccoon can weigh from 4 to over 5 times as much as a platypus.  A raccoon is a somewhat rotund mammal with a furry gray coat and a bushy ringed tail.  They can climb trees well (even descending headfirst) and dig effectively with their dexterous clawed paws.  Raccoons typically predate upon grasshoppers, crickets, fish, voles, mice, crayfish, frogs, and other small animals.  These omnivores also eat fruits and nuts.  Young raccoons are sometimes preyed upon by foxes, eagles, owls, and bobcats.  Adult raccoons are fierce fighters (sharp teeth & claws), and have been known to do quite well against dogs many times their own size.  The platypus is an unusual mammal with a bill like a duck's, a tail that resembles a beaver's, and strong webbed limbs (the back limbs are semi-webbed and have claws; the front limbs are fully webbed).  It is an excellent swimmer and burrower, and  preys upon freshwater crustaceans, insect larvae, and other small organisms.  The male platypus has venomous spurs on each of its hindlimbs, and uses these to battle other males from time-to-time.  It's possible the raccoon and the platypus would peacefully coexist if they shared habitats, but the outcome of any hypothetical battle would depend somewhat on location.  The raccoon will have the advantage on land with its greater mobility and larger size.  It will be able to land bites rather easily, and its forepaws will have a chance to hold the smaller platypus in place.  As long as the raccoon can avoid being struck by one of the platypus' dangerous spurs (which can be toxic enough to easily kill a raccoon), it should be able to overpower the monotreme or drive it away.  In water, the platypus will likely have the advantage.  It will be able to outswim and outmaneuver the raccoon, and the raccoon will have a harder time grabbing on with its paws or delivering a bite without getting struck by the venomous spurs.  Without a raccoon being familiar with the weaponry or a platypus, it may not know what it's getting itself into.  Edge to raccoon on land; edge to platypus in water.


Q: What's the largest predator a raccoon could defend itself against?
A: A raccoon is a fierce fighter that can bite with sharp teeth and claw with its paws in a fight.  They have been know to repel (and injure) dogs with a decent weight advantage over them.  There's the old adage to consider: "it's not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog."  A raccoon may successfully repel a 20kg dog one day and fail to do so the next.  A raccoon can consistently fight off many predators within its weight range, but it can't be stated that they always will.  Many large predators that might easily kill a raccoon might fail on occasion, so it can't be stated, for example, that a 35kg African wild dog will kill a raccoon every time it attempts to do so.  A red fox can weigh close to same weight as a raccoon (and sometimes a bit heavier), and can be a good matchup for it.  A raccoon will have the edge in such an encounter most of the time.  A bobcat (approximately 14kg) can weigh more than a raccoon, but this feline isn't successful every time it tries to overtake one.  It would be quite unusual for a raccoon to be able to defend itself from something like a grey wolf or an African wild dog, but it can't be completely ruled out.  Nothing in etched in stone in any predator/prey relationship.  Consider the times a zebra is being attacked in a river by a crocodile (which seems like a no-win situation) only to escape by continuing to struggle (or in at least one case biting the crocodile!).  If we use a predator that a raccoon actually has a chance to encounter, I would probably go with a coyote (18-23kg).  A coyote will likely win this encounter most of the time, but a raccoon is certainly capable of repelling one.  Any wild predator larger than a coyote would probably need a particular set of conditions to be in place (injury, lack of determination, age, health, land/water factor, etc.) to be unsuccessful in its attempt to overpower a raccoon.  If we use domestic dogs, many of them will be larger than a coyote but no better equipped to overtake a raccoon due chiefly to their domestic nature (lack of hunting/killing skills; lack of experience in hostile encounters, etc.).  There's probably no predator larger than a raccoon that the raccoon will successfully repel every single time, and there's many predators much larger than a raccoon that won't be successful overtaking a raccoon every single time.  The coyote is probably the closest predator in terms of something a raccoon won't be favored against but can potentially be repelled by a raccoon a decent percentage of encounters.


Best regards.

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BK

Expertise

Questions regarding animal conflicts within realistic or unrealistic settings are welcome; my strength lies in medium-to-large species. Small animals (including birds of prey), prehistoric animals, sea creatures, and domestic dog breeds are usually within my scope, but to a lesser degree. I can't confidently answer hypothetical questions about human vs animal, arachnids, insects, or amphibians, but I am willing to field them nonetheless.

Experience

From a young age, I have been interested in animals. Starting with the original Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and World Book Encyclopedias, I have seen many animal shows and documentaries and have read multiple books on the subject. I have a solid understanding of the physiology of many animals and interspecies conflict in general.

Education/Credentials
Associate degree in unrelated field; biology classes in college.

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