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Overview

Distribution

Range Description

The crab-eating raccoon, P. cancrivorus, is distributed from southern Costa Rica to northern Argentina (east border of the Andes), on Trinidad, and possibly on a number of other Caribbean islands. Within Costa Rica and immediately east of the border (i.e. Panama), it is sympatric with the common raccoon, P. lotor (De La Rosa and Nocke, 2000; Eisenberg and Redford, 1999).
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Procyon cancrivorus is found from Costa Rica through eastern and western Paraguay, Uruguay, and into northern Argentina. Its range overlaps with that of northern raccoons in Costa Rica and Panama.

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )

  • De La Rosa, C., C. Nocke. 2000. Guide to the Carnivores of Central America. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • Eisenberg, J., K. Redford. 1999. Mammals of the Neotropics. London: University of Chicago Press.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Crab-eating raccoons are nocturnal, omnivorous/frugivorous animals. Body weights range from 3 to 7 kg. Body lengths are reported as being between 54 and 65 cm, with the tail comprising 25 to 38 cm of the total length. Males tend to be larger than the females.

Procyon cancrivorus is smaller than P. lotor, which helps to distinguish the two species. Male northern raccoons weigh from 7 to 8.3 kg, with the females weighing from 5.1 to 7.1 kg.

The neck fur of crab-eating raccoons slants forward towards the head. These animals appear thinner than P. lotor due to the lack of underfur, an adaptation to the warmer climates it occupies. The black mask of P. cancrivorus fades behind the eyes, unlike the northern species, which has a mask that extends almost to the ears. Pelage of P. cancrivorus is a fairly uniform brown dorsally, making it easily distinguishable from the more grizzled appearance of P. lotor. The legs and feet of P. cancrivorus are dark brown and slender in appearance compared to the white forelegs and whitish-brown hind legs of P. lotor. The tail makes up approximately 60% of the body length in P. lotor, but only 50% in P. cancrivorus.

Dental Formula: I 3/3, C 1/1, P 4/4, M 2/2 = 40 teeth

Not much is known on the BMR of crab-eating raccoons. However, there is adequate information on the northern species, P. lotor. Northern raccoons have a higher mass-specific BRM than other procyonids, which explains why this species has a more widespread distribution. Their metabolic rates do not vary seasonally. Both males and females tend to lose or gain weight among seasons, gaining in the winter and losing in the summer.

Range mass: 3.0 to 7.0 kg.

Range length: 54 to 65 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: male larger

Average basal metabolic rate: 2.588 W.

  • Feldhamer, G., B. Thompson, J. Chapman. 2003. Wild Mammals of North America. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
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Ecology

Habitat

Procyon cancrivorus and P. lotor are very similar and closely related. Both species can be found in a variety of habitats, including primary and secondary growth forest. Procyon cancrivorus makes use of habitats ranging from the forest of Ilanos, to the xeric chaco vegetation, and even the Amazon rainforests. As long as there are water, food, and places to hide and den, this raccoon will adapt. However, P. cancrivorus seems somewhat more restricted than P. lotor in habitat preferences. Procyon cancrivorous occupies areas around bodies of water, such as swamps, lakes, lagoons, and ocean beaches. Where both species overlap, crab-eating raccoons mainly occupy lands surrounding inland rivers, whereas northern raccoons occupy swamps and beaches.

This species is generally found at lower elevations.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest

Wetlands: swamp

Other Habitat Features: riparian

  • De Fatima, M., M. Dos Santos, S. Hartz. 1999. The food habits of Procyon cancrivorus (Carnivora, Procyonidae) in the Lami Biological Reserve, Porto Algre, Southern Brazil. Mammalia, 63(4): 525-530.
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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is nocturnal, terrestrial and solitary. Its diet consists of mollusks, fish, crabs, insects, and amphibians (Emmons, 1990). Very little is known about its ecology or behavior, although limited information is available from captive studies (Eisenberg, 1989). It is often believed to be limited to coastline and riverbank habitats, but it has also been recorded in non-aquatic habitats at certain times of the year. It is a species rarely seen deep in the rain forest, but it is found in llanos and evergreen forest. In the zone of geographic overlap with the common raccoon, the common raccoon is found in mangrove swamps while the crab-eating racoon is found on inland rivers (Emmons, 1990).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Trophic Strategy

For the most part, P. cancrivorus is omnivorous, but fruit has been observed to be the main part of its diet. Crab-eating raccoons consume a variety of foods, including invertebrates, crustaceans, insects, nuts, vegetables, fish, frogs, and small turtles. Olfaction, vision, and their sense of touch are used to identify and capture food. The diet may change with season and food availability.

Animal Foods: amphibians; reptiles; fish; eggs; insects; aquatic crustaceans; other marine invertebrates

Plant Foods: fruit

Primary Diet: omnivore

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Associations

As predators, these raccoons have some impact on prey species. As prey, they may affect predator populations.

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Details on predation of these animals are lacking. However, it is likely that P. cancrivorus does fall prey to larger carnivores. Procyon lotor is known to be preyed upon by bobcats, coyotes, American alligators, and several species of owls. It is likely that P. cancrivorus has similar predators. Humans may hunt these animals for fur and food.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Crab-eating raccoons have good hearing capabilities, and are keen to strange noises. Even though they are color blind, they have excellent nighttime vision. Their tactile senses are what really set them apart from other carnivores. This tactile sense allows them to identify food items better than any other senses. There has been 13 different vocalizations recognized, 7 of which involved the mother and young. Although not specifically reported for this species, it is likely that, as in other mammals, scent cues play some role in reproduction and identification of individuals.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Life Expectancy

Data are lacking on the longevity of P. cancrivorus. However, few raccoons live longer than 5 years in the wild, although some are estimated to survive for 13 to 16 years. In 1982, a northern raccon was still surviving in a zoo after 20 years and seven months.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
14.0 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 19 years (captivity) Observations: One captive specimen lived for 19 years (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

Males are polygynous, mating with several females in succession, but females reject other males once they are impregnated. Both sexes are mature after a year. However, younger males usually do not breed because they can not compete with larger, older males.

Mating System: polygynous

Procyon cancrivorus breeds once per year between July and September. The estrous cycle has been estimated to last 80 to 140 days. The gestation period lasts approximately 60 to 73 days and can yield from 2 to 7 pups, although 3 or 4 pups per litter is more typical. Females give birth to their young in dens located in rock crevices, hollow trees, or in the abandoned dens of other animals.

Young raccoons are born without teeth and with their eyes closed. After 3 weeks their eyes open and they begin to show the characteristic mask on their faces. The young are weaned anywhere between 7 weeks and 4 months, and are independent at about 8 months. Procyon cancrivorus undoubtedly falls within this range of variation. If a female loses a newborn litter, she may ovulate a second time during the season.

In areas where P. lotor and P. cancrivorus are both found, there does not appear to be any inbreeding.

Breeding interval: Breeding occurs once per year.

Breeding season: Breeding occurs from July to September.

Range number of offspring: 2 to 7.

Average number of offspring: 3-4.

Range gestation period: 60 to 73 days.

Range weaning age: 7 to 16 weeks.

Average time to independence: 8 months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization ; viviparous ; delayed implantation

Average birth mass: 71 g.

Average number of offspring: 3.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)

Sex: male:
365 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)

Sex: female:
365 days.

Females provide all the parental care for the young, and may exclude males from the immediate area while they have young. The mother reduces her activity and movements during the week of parturition and becomes intolerant of conspecifics. The young begin to forage with their mother before they are weaned. They are dependent upon the female for up to 8 months, but there is some variation. Males are not actively involved in caring for the young.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Female)

  • De La Rosa, C., C. Nocke. 2000. Guide to the Carnivores of Central America. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • Eisenberg, J., K. Redford. 1999. Mammals of the Neotropics. London: University of Chicago Press.
  • Feldhamer, G., B. Thompson, J. Chapman. 2003. Wild Mammals of North America. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Procyon cancrivorus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Northern raccoons are managed as a game species through both hunting and trapping. There is currently no management in Central America for crab-eating raccoons. However, even though P. cancrivorus is less common than P. lotor, it is still doing well in the wild.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Reid, F. & Helgen, K.

Reviewer/s
Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Least Concern since although naturally rare in some areas of its range and it does not seem adaptable to human activity, it has a wide distribution range and it is probably stable throughout South America where viable areas exist.
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Population

Population
The crab-eating raccoon is naturally rare in some areas of its range and it does not seem as adaptable to human activity as the common raccoon, although it is probably stable throughout South America where viable areas exist. In the Paraguayan chaco, its density in secondary growth cattle land is estimated not to exceed 6.7 individuals/km2 (Glatston, 1994).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
Threats to this species have included overhunting for pelts, use for target practice, the pet trade, and, in some areas, habitat destruction (being a rain forest species). Coastal development projects and mangrove destruction also contribute regionally to population declines.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
No protection is given to raccoons thorughout much of their range (De la Rosa and Nocke, 2000), however, their range does overlap with a number of protected areas.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Procyon cancrivorus is a carrier of rabies, and can sometimes damage crops, but usually not to a serious extent.

Negative Impacts: crop pest; causes or carries domestic animal disease

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Procyon cancrivorus is an important furbearer and game species. It generates revenue from the sale of fur.

Positive Impacts: body parts are source of valuable material

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Wikipedia

Crab-eating raccoon

The crab-eating raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus) is a species of raccoon native to marshy and jungle areas of Central and South America (including Trinidad and Tobago). It is found from Costa Rica south through most areas of South America east of the Andes down to northern Argentina and Uruguay.[1] That it is called the crab-eating raccoon does not mean that only this species eats crabs, as the common raccoon also seeks and eats crabs where they are available.

The crab-eating raccoon eats crab, lobster, and other crustaceans, but is an omnivore and its diet also includes, for example, small amphibians, turtle eggs, and fruits. It resembles its northern cousin, the common raccoon, in having a bushy ringed tail and "bandit mask" of fur around its eyes. Unlike the common raccoon, the hair on the nape of the neck points towards the head, rather than backward.[2] The crab-eating raccoon also appears to be more adapted to an arboreal lifestyle than the common raccoon, with sharper, narrower claws. It also is better adapted for a diet of hard-shelled food, with most of the cheek teeth being larger than those of the common raccoon, with broader, rounded cusps. Although the crab-eating raccoon can appear smaller and more streamlined than the common raccoon due to its much shorter fur and more gracile build, the crab-eating raccoon is of similar dimensions to the northern species. Head and body length is 41 to 80 cm (16 to 31 in), tail length is 20 to 56 cm (8 to 22 in) and height at the shoulder is about 23 cm (9 in). Weights can range from 2 to 12 kg (4 to 26 lb), though are mostly between 5 and 7 kg (11 and 15 lb).[3] Males are usually larger than the females.

Behavior[edit]

The crab-eating raccoon is solitary and nocturnal, primarily terrestrial but will spend a significant amount of time in trees. It is almost always found near streams, lakes, and rivers. In Panama and Costa Rica, where it is sympatric with the common raccoon, it will be strictly found in inland rivers and streams, while the common raccoon lives in mangrove forests. Less frequently, it will reside in evergreen forests or the plains, but are only rarely found in rainforests.[2] Compared to the common raccoon, which thrives in urban environments and adapts quickly to the presence of humans, the crab-eating raccoon adapts less easily and is much less likely to be found in human environments.

Reproduction[edit]

The crab-eating raccoon breeds between July and September, and gestation lasts between 60 and 73 days. Offspring are born in crevices, hollow trees, or abandoned nests from other creatures. Between 2 and 7 kits are born, with 3 being the average. While typically crab-eating raccoons only breed once per year, if a female loses all her kits early in the season, they will mate again and have a second litter. Males have no part in raising young, and while attending to young, females will become much more territorial and will not tolerate other raccoons around them.[4]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Reid, F. & Helgen, K. (2008). Procyon cancrivorus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
  2. ^ a b Zeveloff, Samuel (2002). Raccoons: a natural history. Smithsonian Books. ISBN 978-1588340337. 
  3. ^ Burnie D and Wilson DE (Eds.), Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife. DK Adult (2005), ISBN 0789477645
  4. ^ "Procyon cancrivorous". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
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