Currently there are only between 200 and 300 specimens of the Cozumel raccoon. We tell you about this little one about to extinguish because of tourism.
The pygmy raccoon is an endemic species of the island of Cozumel, in the State of Quintana Roo. Its current status is classified as critical, since it is estimated that there are only between 250 and 300 specimens. Also known as Cozumel Raccoon, inhabits a small area of distribution, this being the direct cause of its danger of extinction.
One of its main features is the use of its front legs as hands, having the power to take almost everything with them. They have an omnivorous diet, feeding mainly on crabs, insects and fruits.
Regarding its taxonomy, Cozumel’s raccoon shows gray fur with white stripes, black glasses and golden tail. Their weight ranges between 6.5 and 8.8 pounds, there is dimorphism between the size of the male and that of the female. Unlike other raccoons, Cozumel’s pygmy has a smaller size of body, skull and ears.
As for their behavior, they are introverted and solitary animals, although sometimes they usually form family groups. Their main interaction occurs during the mating season, which goes from January to March. The gestation period lasts from 60 to 75 days, after which a litter of 3 to 5 individuals is born. His life expectancy is 12 years in freedom and up to 20 in captivity. However, raccoons currently live 3 years on average due to the threat of their habitat.
Their activity is usually during the nights, although it is also possible to see them during the day. Raccoons can purr, whistle, growl, scream and even whinny.
The word raccoon comes from the Nahuatl “mapactli”, which means the one with hands. While its scientific name is Procyon pygmaeus, a species belonging to the Procyonidae family.
A Mexican species about to disappear
The island of Cozumel has an area of 478 square kilometers and is located east of the Yucatan Peninsula. Due to current tourism development, the area where raccoons usually inhabit has been reduced.
Another factor that has influenced the reduction of specimens is the introduction of non-ecosystem species by humans, such as domestic cats and dogs.