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Numbers, Distribution, and Movements of a Raccoon Population in a Suburban Residential Community

Cliff O. Hoffmann, Jack L. Gottschang
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1380010 623-636 First published online: 29 November 1977


A population of raccoons (Procyon lotor lotor) was studied in the village of Glendale, a suburban residential community near Cincinnati, Ohio. The 234.1-hectare (ha) study area is approximately 64 percent residential and 1 percent business district, with the remainder being woods and fields. There are approximately 1.1 people and 0.6 housing units/ha. Although Glendale is surrounded by other residential and industrial areas, it was an excellent habitat for raccoons.

During the 2-year study, 150 raccoons were live-trapped a total of 237 times. In addition, five raccoons were radio-tracked an average of 13.2 nights each. One hundred and sixty raccoons were estimated present on the study area in 1973–74, a density of one raccoon per 1.46 ha. Raccoon density was higher in the northern section of the study area than in the south due to (1) the character of the surrounding areas, and (2) the better habitat offered by wooded areas, garden plots, and available water. The average trap-determined “minimum home range” for 46 raccoons was 5.1 ha and the mean greatest distance traveled for 94 raccoons was 391.5 meters (m). The “minimum home ranges” averaged 5.5 times as long as wide. Radio telemetry showed that animals used linear travel routes going to and coming from the feeding areas. The comparatively small and narrow home ranges are attributed to high population density, an abundance of food, and the linear components of an urban habitat.

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