Raccoons are masters of adaptation. They can live in many different habitats including urban and suburban areas. Their unique bandit-like masks and ringed tails make these mammals easily recognized. Nimble feet give raccoons special skills. They use their sensitive, dexterous paws to tell the difference between objects, open things, and examine their food. Raccoons enjoy searching shallow waters for small aquatic animals like crayfish and freshwater mussels. They also eat a variety of fruits, berries, and seeds. In suburban areas, they may raid garbage cans, bird feeders, or gardens for food. Due to loss of large predators, raccoons have few natural predators and their populations are considered well established throughout the country. Disease, infection, and run-ins with cars are the biggest threats to this mammal.
Sassy was born in February 2005. She was taken in as a pet and was later donated to the Nature Center by her owners when they were no longer able to care for her.
In the state of North Carolina, it is illegal to keep native wildlife without a permit. When wild animals are hand-raised as pets, they become imprinted on humans. This means they have no fear of humans and never learned the skills they would need to survive in the wild.
Sassy loves special enrichments that allow her to forage for food. Although she is a grown adult, she sucks on her foot much as a young child would suck on his or her thumb!