The Crab-eating Raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus) is very similar in appearance to the Northern Raccoon (P. lotor), but with legs and feet dark brown (Northern Raccoons typically have whitish forelegs and feet). Crab-eating Raccons also have the hair on the back of the neck slanting forward (this hair slants backward on Northern Raccoon), appearing reversed. Crab-eating Raccoons are found in a range of waterside habitats, including swamps, rivers, and beaches from eastern Costa Rica and Panama south to Uruguay and northeastern Argentina. They appear to be more closely tied to water and less adapted to urban areas than the Northern Raccoon. That said, they seem not to be highly sensitive to habitat fragmentation and are the third most common species to be encountered as roadkill in southern Brazil. They are mainly nocturnal, sleeping in treeholes during the day. Different studies of this species' feeding habits have yielded somewhat dfferent results: in Venezuela, they ate mainly aquatic prey (crawfish, fish, snails), whereas in Brazil, fruit was found to be a major component of the diet followed by insects and small vertebrates. Where Crab-eating and Northern Raccoons overlap in Central America, the Northern Raccoon is found in mangrove swamps while the Crab-eating Raccon is found along inland rivers.
(Emmons 1990; Keys 2009 and references therein)
- Emmons, L. H. 1990. Neotropical Rain Forest Mammals: A Field Guide. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
- Kays, R. 2009. Crab-eating Raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus). P. 529 in: Wilson, D.E. and Mittermeier, R.A., eds. Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 2. Hoofed Mammals. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
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