Discover the secrets of how to tell the age of a raccoon. Our comprehensive guide will help you understand their growth stages, key physical traits, and more. Learn how to become a raccoon age expert today!

Raccoons are fascinating creatures, known for their cleverness and adaptability. These intelligent mammals are commonly found in North America and can thrive in a variety of environments. One question that often arises when encountering these furry bandits is, “How can you tell the age of a raccoon?”

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Determining a raccoon‘s age can be a useful skill for wildlife enthusiasts and animal lovers. Whether you’re a wildlife photographer, conservationist, or just a curious observer, understanding raccoon age can provide valuable insights into their lifecycle. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the techniques and methods you can use to accurately gauge a raccoon’s age.

Raccoon Growth Stages

Before we dive into the specifics of aging raccoons, let’s first understand their general growth stages. Like many mammals, raccoons go through distinct phases of development:

  1. Infant (0-3 Months): During this stage, raccoon cubs are entirely dependent on their mother. They are born blind, deaf, and with no teeth. Their fur is sparse, and they are often found in a den.
  2. Juvenile (4-8 Months): As raccoons grow, their fur becomes denser, and they start developing their characteristic facial mask. They also begin exploring outside the den but remain close to their mother.
  3. Subadult (9-12 Months): Subadult raccoons become more independent. Their fur continues to grow, and they refine their hunting and foraging skills.
  4. Adult (1 Year and Older): Adult raccoons have fully developed fur, and they are self-sufficient. They can reproduce and are sexually mature.

Key Physical Traits

Now that you have an overview of raccoon growth stages, let’s discuss the key physical traits that can help you determine their age more accurately:

  1. Fur Density: Young raccoons have sparser fur than adults. A thick, full coat is typically a sign of maturity.
  2. Facial Mask: Raccoons develop their distinctive black mask as they age. Juveniles will have a less pronounced mask compared to adults.
  3. Size: Young raccoons are smaller than adults. Their body size and weight increase as they grow.
  4. Teeth: Examining a raccoon’s teeth can be one of the most reliable ways to estimate age. Young raccoons have milk teeth, which are eventually replaced by permanent teeth. A wildlife expert can help you accurately assess their dental development.

Behavioral Clues

In addition to physical traits, observing a raccoon’s behavior can provide valuable age-related information:

  1. Dependence on Mother: Infants and juveniles are heavily reliant on their mother for food and protection. If you see a raccoon on its own, it’s more likely to be a subadult or adult.
  2. Foraging Skills: Young raccoons are still learning to forage efficiently. If you notice a raccoon struggling to find food or making mistakes while hunting, it might be a juvenile or subadult.

What are the Physical Characteristics of a Baby Raccoon?

Baby raccoons, known as kits, are born with their eyes closed and weigh only a few ounces. Their tiny ears are folded, and they are covered in a fine layer of soft, gray fur. As they grow, their distinctive facial mask, ringed tail, and dexterous front paws become more evident.

When Do Raccoon Kits Open Their Eyes?

Raccoon kits typically open their eyes at around three weeks of age. Initially, their eyesight is blurry, but it improves rapidly as they continue to develop.

When Do Raccoon Kits Start Walking?

Kits begin attempting to walk at about three to four weeks old. Initially, they may be wobbly on their feet, but their coordination improves over time.

When Do Raccoon Kits Start Eating Solid Food?

Around the age of eight weeks, raccoon kits start showing interest in solid food. They begin to nibble on various items, learning to forage like their adult counterparts. However, they still rely on their mother’s milk for sustenance until they are weaned, which usually occurs between 12 to 16 weeks of age.


When Do Raccoon Kits Leave Their Mother?

Raccoon kits typically leave their mother’s care at around four to five months of age. At this point, they have developed the necessary skills to survive on their own, such as foraging and climbing.

How Can You Tell the Sex of a Raccoon?

Distinguishing the sex of a raccoon is relatively straightforward. In males, the distance between the anus and the genital opening is greater than in females. Additionally, adult males are often larger than females, especially in terms of body size.

How Can You Tell If a Raccoon Is Healthy?

A healthy raccoon will exhibit alertness, curiosity, and a shiny coat. They will also maintain a healthy weight and display no signs of injury or distress. Healthy raccoons are active during the night, foraging for food and exploring their surroundings.

What Are the Signs of a Sick Raccoon?

Sick raccoons may display a range of symptoms, including lethargy, disorientation, loss of appetite, labored breathing, discharge from the eyes or nose, or visible injuries. If you encounter a raccoon exhibiting these signs, it’s essential to contact local wildlife authorities or rehabilitation centers for assistance.


Becoming adept at telling the age of a raccoon requires a combination of observation skills, knowledge of their growth stages, and an understanding of key physical traits. By paying attention to fur density, the presence of a facial mask, size, teeth, and behavior, you can make educated estimates about a raccoon’s age.

Whether you encounter raccoons in the wild or in your backyard, being able to determine their age adds another layer of appreciation for these remarkable creatures. Remember to always observe wildlife from a safe distance and avoid disturbing them in their natural habitat.


It’s best to observe raccoons from a safe distance and avoid any interaction. Raccoons can be carriers of diseases, and approaching them can be dangerous for both you and the animal.

While physical traits and behaviors can provide good estimates, the exact age of a raccoon can be challenging to determine with absolute certainty. Consulting a wildlife expert for more accurate assessments is recommended.

If you come across a young raccoon that appears to be orphaned or in distress, contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center or animal control for guidance. They have the expertise to care for and rehabilitate young raccoons if necessary.

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