Body length: 18 - 28"
Diet: Fruits, nuts, insects, frogs
Visitors to southern Arizona from the northern US may be surprised that raccoons occur here. In the Tonto Basin, raccoons are strictly associated with water. They are probably rare in the Monument, but have been observed in an area of Cave Creek Canyon where there is perennial water. They are common at Roosevelt Lake, particularly around campgrounds and picnic areas.
Raccoons have grasping hands which are adept at searching for and manipulating food. Such food often includes human food and leftovers, as they can rapidly learn to loosen the lids of food and garbage containers. There is some evidence that raccoons are increasing their distribution in western states - very possibly because they adapt so easily to us.
Did You Know?
Tonto National Monument is home to a crested saguaro. Biologists disagree as to why some saguaros grow in this unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say it is the result of lightning or freeze damage. About one in 150,000 saguaros develop this unusual growth.