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What sets crab-eating raccoons apart from other carnivores? | Candid Animal Cam

  • Every two weeks, Mongabay brings you a new episode of Candid Animal Cam, our show featuring animals caught on camera traps around the world and hosted by Romi Castagnino, our writer and conservation scientist.

Camera traps bring you closer to the secretive natural world and are an important conservation tool to study wildlife. This week we are meeting the crab-eating raccoon.

The crab-eating raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus), also known as the South American raccoon, is native to Central and South America. Like the common raccoon (Procyon lotor), it has a bushy, ringed tail and a black mask around its eyes. But what makes this species unique is its love of waterways where it catches its favorite food: crabs. However, its diet depends on food availability and seasons, so it also feeds on other food like oysters, small amphibians, insects, turtle eggs, vegetables and fruits. What sets crab-eating raccoons apart from other carnivores is their tactile senses. They use their hands to find and manipulate food before placing it in their mouths. Raccoons have even been seen dipping their hands in the water and washing their food before eating it.

Crab-eating raccoons are solitary, nocturnal and have very good hearing capabilities. Even though they are color blind, they have excellent nighttime vision. Crab-eating raccoons are preyed upon by larger carnivores and sometimes humans may hunt them for food and their fur. While the common raccoon thrives in urban environments, the crab-eating raccoon is less adaptable and less likely to be found near civilization. The species is classified as least concern by the IUCN and has a declining population. Watch the video to learn more about this species!

Special thanks to Rewilding Argentina for sharing their footage with us. You can follow Rewilding Argentina Foundation work on Instagram and Twitter.

Banner image by Christophe Meneboeuf via Wikimedia commons (CC BY 3.0).

Romi Castagnino is Mongabay’s bilingual writer. Find her on Twitter and Instagram: @romi_castagnino