Seasonal Diurnal Refugia Use by Raccoons in an Agricultural Landscape

We radio monitored 13 raccoons (Procyon lotor) from August 2010 through February 2012 in an agricultural region in northwest Tennessee to ascertain seasonal and gender differences in use of resting areas. Males were located 69 times and females were located 119 times. All den locations were in the ground, tree cavities, or brush piles. Male raccoons exhibited no significant difference in diurnal refugia use among seasons. Trees were used more than other resting areas during spring, summer, and fall, and were used to the same degree as ground dens during winter. Female raccoons exhibited significantly different diurnal refugia use among seasons (X2 = 16.70, P = 0.01). Ground dens represented 69% of female locations during spring, but were not used during summer when tree cavities and brush piles represented 57% and 43% of locations, respectively. Removing brush piles and trees with cavities may lower carrying capacity of this species where it can have significant effect on profitability of agricultural operations.

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