Lido Beach and the Procyonidae Family

Natural History Collections: Procyonidae

At Lido Beach, Sarasota, Florida we can find a wide range of ecosystems and the many more species that thrive in them. Walking about the recreational areas where picnics and playgrounds are found we saw a raccoon scavenging and rummaging the trash cans for food. Nothing out of the ordinary.  A closer look at its mannerisms and the way it picked up food however, presented a less asked question. What about the raccoon?

Unlike most species we found in the Lido Beach, the raccoon is fairly common. Known to adapt to almost any environment and having grown so accustomed (to the point where it almost depends on) human civilization.

The raccoon is in fact a member of the Procyonidae family (hard to pronounce, I know). This family is a member of the canoid subgroup of carnivores and dates back to the late Eocene period. Trademarks of this family group are the ringed tails, markings on the face, and short snouted. The Procyonidae family only holds 18 species and 6 genera including the raccoon, the coati, olingo, and (formerly) the red panda. Since the red panda was recategorized into the Ursidae family, though, the Procyonidae family has been restricted to the New World (being Canada to Argentina).

Such a common animal, taking part in our every day lives, exists in such an underrated and belittles family group. This makes me wonder what other common species are in such obscure family groups?


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