Are Raccoons Rodents? [The Myth and the Truth]

Raccoons, being the native of North America, are usually found in moist woodland areas. However, you can also go through any farmland or urban or suburban areas and find a cute little raccoon on the road! 

Their appearance can be perplexing as they look like the improvised large rats but well, is a raccoon a rodent? Let’s be loud and clear- raccoons are not rodents. 

But why! They almost look similar, right? Wait for a while; we will disclose everything you need to know about why they are not rodents and what the differences between them are!

Are Raccoon Rodents

Is a Raccoon a Rodent? 

No, raccoons are not rodents. They have fur all over their body, true- but that doesn’t mean all animals that have a furry-fluffy body are rodents. 

Are polar bears rodents? Of course not! The same goes for the raccoons. So, if raccoons are not rodents, what are they? Raccoons are mammals of medium-sized bodies. 

They are Procyon and a genus of nocturnal mammals. Their range is distributed in North America and some parts of Japan, Europe, and Mexico. 

If you look carefully at a raccoon, you can distinguish them easily. They have got unique bushy tails and specific patterns of markings on their body. 

Are Javelinas Related to Raccoons in Any Way?

Many people believe the javelina as rodents myth, thinking that these creatures are related to raccoons. However, javelinas are actually a type of hoofed mammal known as peccaries. They are not rodents like raccoons, but they do belong to the same order as pigs and hippos.

Why are Raccoons not Rodents? 

Some people still think that raccoons are rodents. Parts of it come from the hairy body with the almost similar outlook of the raccoons. 

Another reason why people confuse about both of these is raccoons are also seen in urban areas like most rodents. 

And they too have the pest status connected to them just like the Rodentia. However, as we said earlier, they are not rodents. Here, we will distinguish both species to give you a clear view. 

Raccoons vs. Rodents 

The Order and Diet 

While rodents are the order of Rodentia, Raccoons are the members of the Carnivora order. Rodents belong to the largest order of mammals whereas raccoons belong to the fifth largest order of mammals. 

As the order is different for both of these animals, you can easily guess that their food habit is also different. Yes. While rodents are mostly herbivores and sometimes omnivores, raccoons are carnivores. 

They feed themselves on meat, unlike rodents that feed mostly on vegetation and fruits. But the interesting fact is raccoon’s diet doesn’t only depend on meat. 

Yes, they are carnivores but practically, they are omnivores. This takes us back to the family group of this species- Pryconidae. All of the members of this family group are omnivores.  

Teeth Pattern 

Raccoons are different than animals of raccoons in terms of their teeth structure too. Rodents tend to have ever-growing incisors and they are famous for it. 

The teeth patterns of the raccoons are completely different because they are meat-eaters. Unlike rats, chipmunks, and other rodents, raccoons have twelve incisors. 

There are six upper and six lower incisors on their mouth. And their incisors are sharper than the rodents. Also, they are smaller and have a fixed size while rodents have incisors that keep growing. 

Canine Teeth 

Almost all rodents lack canine teeth- it is one of their major features. On the contrary, raccoons have canine teeth. These teeth are quite sharp and pointy. Some call them fangs too. 

As rodents are prey, they don’t require canine teeth. However, raccoons being the predators, require canine teeth to bite and kill the prey. 

In the case of the carnivores, these teeth work like scissors and work for chewing their prey. But as raccoons have lost a lot of the features of the carnivores, one of them is the carnassial teeth. These teeth are poorly developed in the raccoon society. 

Wrap Up 

There are only seven raccoon species left on this planet and the pygmy species is endangered. However, if we look at raccoons as a whole, they are counted as the least concern now. 

Being wild animals, they are tough to domesticate as they have aggressive tendencies. However, we can always admire how cute they look, can’t we?

About Dale E. Bitting

He is the founder of Rodents Info, where he provides comprehensive methods, tips, tricks, and techniques to keep harmful rodents at bay from homes and landscapes. As a rodents expert, he shares valuable information and resources to help safeguard properties against unwelcome critters. Dale is also passionate about nurturing and caring for harmless pet rodents. He offers pet parenting guides, tips, and advice to ensure these furry companions live happy and healthy lives. Join him as he explores the fascinating world of rodents and celebrates the joy they bring to our lives. Learn more..

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