How Can You Tell How Old a Raccoon Is: Analyzing Age Chart

Wondering how can you tell how old a raccoon is. While determining the precise age of these furry critters may not be as straightforward as counting candles on a birthday cake, certain clues can help estimate their age. 

Raccoons, with their masked faces and adaptable nature, exhibit changes in physical characteristics over time. From the size of their body to the condition of their fur, observing these indicators can provide insights into the general age range of a raccoon. 

Let’s explore the simple yet fascinating cues that help wildlife enthusiasts gauge the age of these clever and elusive creatures.

How to tell the age of a raccoon?

Unlocking the age of a raccoon involves keen observation of size, fur, tail rings, behavior, dental features, and growth stages.

Age IndicatorYoung RaccoonsAdult Raccoons
Fur SoftnessSoft and fluffyCoarser and may show signs of wear
Fur Color and PatternsVibrant hues and contrasting colorsMuted tones, facial markings become more distinct
Comparative SizeSmaller, more agileLarger and more robust
Physical BuildSleek appearanceStockier build, well-developed muscles
Eye BrightnessBright and clear eyesSigns of cloudiness or dullness in older raccoons
Whisker PatternsClear and defined whiskersSigns of wear and less defined whisker patterns
Tooth DevelopmentVisible baby teethLarger, more worn adult teeth
Tooth WearSmoother tooth surfacesSigns of wear and uneven edges on teeth

Size and Physical Characteristics

One of the primary indicators of a raccoon’s age lies in its size and physical development. Young raccoons, or kits, are notably smaller than their adult counterparts. Kits usually exhibit a more delicate appearance, with less-developed fur and shorter tails. As raccoons mature, their bodies elongate, and their features become more defined.

Fur Texture and Color:

The condition of a raccoon’s fur can also provide valuable clues about its age. Young raccoons often have softer and fluffier fur, which may appear more vibrant than the coarser and grayer fur of older individuals. By closely examining the texture and color of the fur, you can gain valuable hints about the raccoon’s age range.

Tail Rings

Examining the tail rings is another method to estimate a raccoon’s age. Raccoon tails typically have alternating rings of dark and light fur. Young raccoons have more distinct and sharply defined rings, while older individuals may show signs of fading or loss of contrast between the rings.

Behavioral Cues

Observing a raccoon’s behavior can provide additional clues about its age. Young raccoons are often more playful and curious, exhibiting a certain level of naivety. On the other hand, older raccoons may display a more cautious and deliberate demeanor, having accumulated experience in their surroundings.

Dental Examination

Just like with many animals, a raccoon’s teeth can be a reliable indicator of age. Young raccoons have sharp and white teeth, while older individuals may show signs of wear, staining, or even tooth loss. Examining the condition of a raccoon’s dentition can provide valuable insights into its age.

Eye Clarity

Another reliable indicator is the clarity of a raccoon’s eyes. Kits typically have brighter and clearer eyes compared to older raccoons. Over time, the eyes of raccoons may become cloudier, providing a visual clue to their advancing age.

Raccoon Age Chart

Age RangeCharacteristics
0-2 weeks (Newborns)Slightly larger, eyes begin to open. Developing fur, still soft. Limited mobility, stays close to the den.
3-4 weeks (Early Kits)Fully grown but may exhibit some adolescent features.Fur transitioning to adult texture. Increased independence, exploring surroundings.
5-8 weeks (Growing Kits)Noticeably larger with increased mobility. Fur becoming denser, still soft. Eyes fully open.
2-3 months (Juveniles)Approaching adult size. Fur developing a coarser texture. Tail rings more defined.
4-6 months (Adolescents)Fully grown but may exhibit some adolescent features. Fur transitioning to adult texture. Increased independence, exploring surroundings.
1 year (Young Adults)Fully grown, potential lingering adolescent features. Adult-textured, glossy fur. Well-defined tail rings.
2-3 years (Adults)Mature and fully grown. Fully developed, glossy coat. Established routines and habits.
4+ years (Seniors)May show signs of aging, potentially smaller. Some graying or signs of wear in the fur. Wear and tear on teeth may be noticeable.

How can you tell how old a baby raccoon is?

Here’s a list of ways to determine the age of a baby raccoon:

  • Size and Weight: Newborns are notably smaller, usually weighing a few ounces, while older ones will be more substantial, with an increase in size over the weeks.
  • Fur Development: Newborn raccoons have sparse and extremely soft fur. As they grow, the fur becomes denser and more developed. Around 5-8 weeks, the fur starts to show increased coverage and texture.
  • Eye Opening: Newborn raccoons have closed eyes. Around 3-4 weeks, their eyes begin to open, and by 5-6 weeks, the eyes are fully open, indicating a slightly older raccoon.
  • Mobility: Very young raccoons may have limited mobility, staying close to the den. By 5-8 weeks, their mobility significantly increases, and they become more exploratory.
  • Behavior: Very young raccoons stay close to the den and are less adventurous. By 5-8 weeks, they exhibit increased curiosity and playfulness, showcasing more active behavior.
  • Ear Shape: Newborn raccoons have ears that lie flat against their heads. Around 3-4 weeks, the ears begin to show more definition, and by 5-8 weeks, they become more erect.
  • Tail Rings:A raccoon’s tail develops rings as it grows. Young raccoons may have less defined tail rings, especially in the first few weeks. By 5-8 weeks, the rings become more pronounced.
  • Teeth Development: Newborn raccoons have milk teeth initially. Around 5-8 weeks, they start getting their permanent teeth, which is a notable milestone in their development.
  • Nursing vs. Eating Solid Food: Very young raccoons are dependent on their mother’s milk. Around 5-8 weeks, they begin to transition to solid food, indicating a more advanced age. If you encounter an orphaned raccoon and plan to feed it, read the full guide on what you can feed a baby raccoon.
  • Nesting Behavior: Newborn raccoons stay close to the nest. By 5-8 weeks, they start venturing out and exploring their surroundings, showing increased independence.

Average Lifespan of Racoon

The average life span of a raccoon can vary based on factors such as habitat, food availability, and the presence of predators. In the wild, raccoons typically live for about 2 to 3 years. However, if they manage to survive their early years and avoid threats like predation, accidents, or diseases, their life expectancy can extend to around 5 to 7 years.

In captivity, such as in a zoo or rehabilitation center, raccoons may have a longer life span due to consistent access to food, veterinary care, and protection from natural dangers. In such controlled environments, raccoons can live up to 20 years or more.

It’s important to note that raccoons face numerous challenges in the wild, including encounters with vehicles, hunting, and exposure to diseases. Their adaptability and resourcefulness contribute to their ability to thrive in various environments, but the challenges they encounter often limit their average life span in their natural habitats.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Determining Raccoon Age

Q1: How can you estimate the age of a raccoon?

A: Determining a raccoon’s age involves assessing various factors such as size, fur development, and behavior. Size, in particular, can provide clues about its developmental stage.

Q2: At what age do raccoons open their eyes?

A: Raccoons typically open their eyes at around 3-4 weeks of age. The transition from closed to open eyes is an important milestone in their early development.

Q3: When do raccoons leave their mother, and how does it impact their age determination?

A: Raccoons often leave their mothers at around 8-12 weeks of age. This transition to independence is a significant factor in determining their age, as behavior and size change during this period.

Q4: At what age do baby raccoons start eating solid food?

A: Baby raccoons begin to incorporate solid food into their diet at approximately 7-8 weeks of age. Observing their transition to consuming solid food is another way to gauge their age.

Q5: How does the size of a raccoon change as it ages?

At birth, raccoons are tiny, fitting into the palm of a hand. Over the first few weeks of life, there is noticeable growth in their size. This growth trend persists throughout their development. As raccoons transition from infancy to adulthood, their size continues to increase, reaching various stages of development marked by distinct characteristics. Observing these size changes is a valuable method for estimating the age of raccoons and understanding their developmental milestones.


Deciphering the age of a raccoon is undoubtedly a nuanced task that requires a keen eye and an understanding of their natural development. By combining observations of size, fur condition, behavior, dental features, and eye clarity, enthusiasts and researchers alike can gain valuable insights into the life stages of these fascinating creatures.

About Tanya Garg 82 Articles
I'm Tanya, the dedicated raccoon enthusiast behind My mission is to share my knowledge about raccoons through insightful blogs, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for these intelligent creatures. Join me on a journey to learn more about raccoons, their behavior, and the importance of ensuring their safe relocation when necessary. Let's together create a world where raccoons and humans coexist harmoniously and safely.