Home range, movements, and denning sites of raccoons on the High Plains of Texas



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Texas Tech University


Raccoons occur throughout the state of Texas. With the recent dispersal of raccoons in Castro County and increased interest in conservation of wetlands, there is a need for data on the importance of playa basins to raccoons as well as other wildlife in the area. This study was designed to evaluate the importance of playa basins to raccoons and document the significance of these basins with respect to; (1) home range and movements of raccoons and, (2) the den-site selection of raccoons. The study area selected was Castro County, Texas, and portions of Lamb and Hale Counties, Texas.

Raccoon home ranges varied from 795-3,845 ha. Adult males had the largest home range areas and juvenile females had the smallest. Adults and males moved significantly greater (P<0.10) distances than juveniles and females. However, there was no significant interaction (P>0.10) between sex and age classes, indicating these characteristics acted independently of each other.

Sixty eight percent of the den sites were located on playa basins, 19% in croplands, 3% in pastures, and 10% in man-made structures All den sites located in vegetation were surrounded by cover 1.0 m or taller.

Playa basins were used significantly more (P<0.10) in proportion to their availability while croplands were used significantly less (P<0.10) in proportion to their availability. Pastures were used in proportion to their availability.

Playa basins were very important to raccoon use throughout the year, providing food, water, and cover; however, croplands, especially com fields were seasonally important to raccoon use.