Wild Animals/raccoons


We have woods behind us and saw a dead young raccoon at the woods line, usually the hawks come but the mother raccoon appeared and drug her young kit back into the woods.  Still no hawks, wondering if the mother buried the baby? Do they do this?

Dear Duane

Thank you for your question.

I have tried to find information for you via the internet. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

Raccoons are very adaptable and seem to be very intelligent mammals, although this idea is controversial (see http://www.apa.org/monitor/2010/11/raccoon.aspx).

I have seen similar types of behaviour to the one you saw.

1 The raccoon may have not accepted that the baby has died. I remember seeing a TV programme where a mother langur carried her baby for some time until she accepted it was no longer alive. Ganesh H Shankar has also noticed this behaviour (http://www.naturelyrics.com/articles/dead_baby_article/dead_baby.html). It could be a similar case with the raccoon.
2 Some animals will hide their dead young away from scavengers. This may be the case with the raccoon, either to make her infant less noticeable to hawks or to hide the smell, so a predator wouldn't be attracted to any remaining infants.
3 The raccoon may have fed on the dead infant (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfYSqvKMzWc)

I would like to think that the raccoon was a mother showing respect for her young, but I cannot prove this and the raccoon may have eaten the infant.

All the best


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Jonathan Wright


I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.


I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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