Procyon lotor


Photo credit: ©Carsten Volkwein-2007
Procyon lotor
Common Names:
  • Raccoon

  • Woodland, forest, urban areas, agricultural lands.

  • The raccoon is a medium-sized omnivore originating from Central and North America with a distinctive black eye mask and a ringed bushy tail.

Download N.I.E.A. ID guide

Origin and Worldwide Distribution:
  • This species originates from Central and North America. It was brought into Europe in the mid-20th century for the zoo, pet and fur trades and has since escaped into the wild.
  • It is now present in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
  • Raccoons can survive in a wide range of habitats.

Potential or Known Impacts:
  • They are omnivorous and opportunistic, eating eggs, chicks and adult birds, especially waterfowl. Their impact on biodiversity can be severe, especially in Natura 2000 wetlands.
  • They are also known to damage fruit trees, vineyards and chicken farms and they carry important diseases and parasites, such as rabies, roundworms and toxoplasmosis.

How did it/could it get here?
  • It arrived here through fur farms, zoos and private ownership, before escaping into the wild.

Is it found in Northern Ireland?
  • It is not present in Northern Ireland.
  • Further distribution details can be found on NBN Atlas NI here.

Methods for Prevention:
  • A sales ban, the phasing out from zoos, collections or any other ownership, a rapid eradication of any newly emerging populations, and the management of established populations should prevent the species from invading the rest of the EU.
  • Report all sightings.

You can help by reporting any sightings: @ the Centre for Environmental Data & Recording (CEDaR) - Or via the iRecord App.
Current Legislative Position (Listed on 03 August 2016)
  • This species must not intentionally be brought into the Union; kept; bred; transported to, from or within the United Kingdom, unless for the transportation to facilities in the context of eradication; placed on the market; used or exchanged; permitted to reproduce, grown or cultivated; or released into the environment.
For further queries, you can contact the Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558 or Email: invasivespecies@daera-ni.gov.uk

Species Related Files:

Invasive Species Northern Ireland

Invasive Species Northern Ireland