Tuesday, February 26. 2019
Female raccoons will typically give birth to 1 to 7 offspring. Although 4 to 5 is more common we have seen up to 11 babies in one litter before. In the wild, it is more likely that a mother will only give birth to two to three babies.
A possible reason behind a larger litter size in an urban environment could be a result of the female having access to much more food and therefore having more body fat than their wild counterparts. In other words, a female’s biological makeup in the wild may signal her body on how many babies she would be able to support based on her current food intake. This is probably because the wild raccoon wouldn’t have as much fat and cannot produce enough milk for more than a few babies, where as an urban raccoon could.
For example, research has indicated that in the wild, pandas may give birth to a single cub or twins, but only a single baby is cared for. The reason being that the mother can only care for one cub. If she tried to care for twins, the survival of both babies would be at risk.
By Brad Gates, B.Sc.
Brad Gates is the owner and president of AAA Gates Wildlife Control. He has over 35 years experience in the humane wildlife removal and prevention industry.