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Types of Animals
North American familiarity with Procyonidae usually begins and ends with the Raccoon.
In fact, the Procyonide, a small family of carnivores (fourteen species in six genera), are new world animals better known in Central and South America.
Apart from the Raccoon, which has a continental range, the Ringtail and White-nosed Coati(Bassariscus astutus) are the only other species that make an appearance in the United States, mostly in the Southwest.
Under researched is still an apt term for the five Olingo species native to the forest areas of Central American and the northern end of South America. Unlike the neighborhood raccoon, Olingos keep their distance from humans.
The little existing Procyonidae research on the remaining species suggests overall stable population estimates. The exception would be the Pygmy Raccoon (Procyon pygmaeus), an endangered species on Cozumel Island. Its susceptibility to domestic dog and cat diseases, along with habitat loss appear to be double factors that have placed great stress on the population.
© 2010. Patricia A. Michaels