Raccoon Skeleton

by Carl Strang

Last year in late March I found a dead raccoon in the south savanna at Mayslake Forest Preserve.

It appeared that the animal died of canine distemper.

The carcass has decomposed over the past year, and now only the skeleton remains.

The roundish looking skull is worth studying. It seems that most of the skulls people find in our area are those of raccoons.

In time even the bones will be gone. It will be interesting to see if the plants growing there are more vigorous, with the extra nitrogen and other nutrients the raccoon’s body added to the soil.



  1. maryknapper said,

    May 1, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Racoon roundworms can be a health problem in urban swampy areas. I was suprised to learn that they can infect and cause real problems for people. Handwashing can really prevent the spread of this infection…Maybe that’s why raccoons wash everything before they eat it!
    Am really enjoying your blog and learning a lot from you. Looking forward to seeing spring bloom into summer at Mayslake.

    • natureinquiries said,

      May 3, 2011 at 5:55 am

      Thanks, Mary,
      Baylisascaris procyonis certainly occurs in a high percentage of raccoons in northeast Illinois. Special care needs to be taken with raccoon feces. People have died from consuming significant numbers of the roundworm eggs, when the larvae have migrated to the brain. Special care is needed to keep infants and small children away from raccoon toilets.

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