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8 Animals Like Raccoons (How They’re Similar)

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When you think of animals like raccoons, you may think of a fuzzy creature digging in your trash or scurrying across the road in the illumination of your headlights, but raccoons are unique members of a much larger family.

There are seven different species of raccoons in North America and 25 subspecies. Raccoons are known for their human-like hands, black facial mask, and fluffy ringed tail.

Raccoons are omnivorous animals and are typically nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. While raccoons are considered arboreal, meaning they live in the trees, many raccoons, especially those in big cities, spend much of their time on the ground foraging for food.

Raccoons are members of the Procyonidae family, which includes many other species. Some are very similar to raccoons, and some have distinct differences. This article will explore the various animals like raccoons.

Animals Like Raccoons

1. Cacomistle

Cacomistle inside the cage
Cacomistle inside the cage (Bassariscus sumichrasti) | image by Autosafari at English Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons

Why Cacomistles are like Raccoons: Both are in the Procyonidae family, have a ringed tail, and are omnivorous, nocturnal, and arboreal.

Though this species is not found in the United States, the cacomistle is one of the closest relatives of the raccoon. Their range is from Southern Mexico to Panama.

These small, alert cousins of the raccoon have grayish tan fur, different from their raccoon relatives, but have a similarly large, fluffy, ringed tail. Cacomistles, like raccoons, are omnivorous, nocturnal, and arboreal.

2. Ringtails

Ringtail on a log
Ringtail on a log | image by Photo Bungler via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Why Ringtails are like Raccoons: Both are in the Procyonidae family, have a ringed tail, and are omnivorous and nocturnal.

The ringtail, another close relative of the raccoon, inhabits several states in the western US and throughout Mexico. As its name implies, the ringtail has a ringed tail like the raccoon, but its tale is much longer.

A ringtail’s tail is just as long as its body, measuring between 12 and 17 inches, for a total length of 24 to 34 inches. Ringtails are nocturnal and omnivorous like their raccoon relatives, but their diet includes more small animals such as mice, rats, and squirrels.

3. Northern Olingo

Northern Olingo perching on tree branch
Northern Olingo perching on tree branch | image by Helgen K, Pinto via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0

Why Northern Olingos are like Raccoons: Both are members of the Procyonidae family, have bushy tails, and are omnivorous and nocturnal.

The Northern olingo is found in Central America and Northern South America. Like raccoons, Northern olingos are nocturnal, spending most of their days sleeping in the hollows of trees.

They also have a bushy tail like their raccoon relatives, but it is not ringed. They are also omnivorous, with a diet consisting of nectar, fruit, and insects.

4. Coati

Coati sitting on a tree branch
Coati sitting on a tree branch | image by zoofanatic via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Why Coatis are like Raccoons: Both are members of the Procyonidae family, have a black facial mask and a ringed tail, and are omnivorous.

The coati has a distinctive ringed tail like its raccoon cousins. It also has black markings similar to a mask around its eyes.

These creatures inhabit the Southwestern region of the United States and spread all the way to Argentina and Uruguay. While coatis are not nocturnal like raccoons, they are omnivorous and get around well both in the trees and on the ground, just like raccoons.

5. Kinkajous

Kinkajou holding a flower
Kinkajou holding a flower | image by Manuel Víquez – naturalista_cr via Flickr

Why Kinkajous are like Raccoons: Both are members of the Procyonidae family and are nocturnal.

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Kinkajous are found in the rainforests of southern Mexico through Brazil. While they may seem very similar to primates, they are actually in the same family as raccoons.

They are technically classified as carnivores because of their canine teeth, but they do eat nectar and fruit. They are nocturnal like their raccoon relatives.

6. Olinguitos

Olinguitos resting on tree branch
Olinguitos resting on tree branch | image by Mark Gurney via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0

Why Olinguitos are like Raccoons: Both are members of the Procyonidae family, are nocturnal, and have ringed tails.

The olinguito is the smallest member of the Procydinae family. Unlike raccoons, the olinguito is a carnivore, but it is active primarily at night like its raccoon relatives.

Both mammals are arboreal and terrestrial, so they get around well in the trees and on the ground. Olinguitos and raccoons have bushy, ringed tails like many of their Procyonidae cousins.

7. Red (or Lesser) Panda

Red Panda in the forest
Red Panda in the forest | image by Sara via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Why Red (or Lesser) Pandas are like Raccoons: Both are omnivores with a face mask pattern around their eyes, a ringed tail, and finger-like paws.

In the past, red pandas and raccoons were both classified as members of the Procydinae family and believed to have a distant, extinct shared ancestor. Now, the red panda falls under the umbrella of the Ailuridae family, but scientists are still debating this change. Whether they fall under the same family classification or not, the two mammals still have several similarities in appearance.

Red pandas and raccoons are roughly the same size, and both have fluffy, ringed tails. They also both have a mask-like facial pattern around the eyes, though a raccoon’s is black and a red panda’s is white. Both animals are omnivorous and have finger-like paws they use to grasp their food.

8. Raccoon (or Tanuki) Dog

Raccoon dog looking at the camera
Raccoon dog looking at the camera | image by Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Why Raccoon (or Tanuki) Dogs are like Raccoons: Both have mask-like facial markings around the eyes and are omnivorous.

Native to Korea, Japan, and eastern China, the raccoon dog, also known as the tanuki dog, is a member of the canine family. However, as their name suggests, they look very similar to raccoons.

They have the same pointy, triangular face and signature black eye mask markings of a raccoon. Both animals have very similar diets as well, consisting of insects, amphibians, fruits, and berries.

Conclusion

In the United States, the raccoon is a well-known and often pesky or mischievous presence. There are seven different species of raccoons, but there are several other species of animals that are similar. Whether it is family, appearance, diet, or foraging habits, similarities can be found between the many animals of the world.

Raccoons are members of the Procyodinae family, which includes the coati, ringtail, cacomistle, kinkajou, olingo, and olinguito. Most members of the Procyodinae family are characterized by a rounded head, pointed ears, and a long, ringed tail.

In addition to these animals, there are animals like the red panda and raccoon dog that have striking physical similarities to the raccoon but are members of a different family.

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