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Wednesday, October 23 2019
Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park Wildlife: The Raccoon

   The Racoon seems to be just at home in the middle of a highly populated neighbourhood as he is in the middle of Utah’s most isolated mountain ranges. Not only are raccoons prominent in Utah, but their range covers almost the entirety of the continental US, southern Canada, and most of Mexico. While there are several subspecies, Utah’s raccoons are typically the Common Raccoon, which is 16-26 inches long in his gray and black body and 8-12 inches long in his bushy, ringed tail, with the famous dark eye mask and quite nimble little paws which resemble hands.

   A nocturnal animal, the Raccoon prefers to dwell close to water, and will often feed on crayfish found in country streams, ponds, and lakes. Around both Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, you will often find the hand-like print of a raccoon in the Utah mud close to some form of water. Though he loves crayfish, the raccoon also seems to love every other remotely edible item, thriving on berries, eggs, grains, garbage, carrion, small rodents, insects and nuts. The Raccoon has an unusual habit of often dunking their food in water before they eat it. While some believe this to be due to a sense of cleanliness, it is also quite likely that his food-dunking habit comes from his natural instinct to catch food found in water (such as Crayfish.) 

   Raccoons do not hibernate; but in areas such as Bryce Canyon where it gets cold, raccoons are usually much less active during the winter, sometimes remaining for whole days inside their den. Raccoons mate in late winter in order to give birth in the warmer Springtime weather, with each litter yielding an average of four young. A baby Raccoon, called a Kit or a Cub, will often stay with its mother through its first winter until the arrival of the following Spring. 

   While Raccoons may be found in both places, I personally have seen far more raccoons in the Zion area than I have in the Bryce Canyon area, and I have only rarely seen raccoons or sign of raccoons, here at Rising K Ranch itself. 

Posted by: Klay Klemic AT 05:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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    Rising K Ranch is a Horseback Trail Ride and Riding School in Utah, located perfectly between Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.

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