Australia seems to be home to every kind of animal possible so is this true for raccoons too? Maybe you are wary of raccoons or simply want to see one in person. Either way, you need to know if you can find this creature on the continent.
Here is your detailed guide to whether or not raccoons can be found in Australia:
Are Raccoons Native to Australia?
No, raccoons are not found in Australia as they are native to North America, Mexico, and the northern-most regions of South America – if you do see raccoons in Australia, it is likely that you misidentified another animal or have seen an animal that is being kept illegally.
Are You Likely to Find Raccoons in Australia?
This is something that many people wonder about as Australia has such a rich wildlife population. However, as mentioned, these animals are not native to Australia. There also hasn’t been a single sighting of these animals.
Now, it is possible that this animal may be smuggled into the country. In this case, the raccoon would be kept illegally. Even this is highly unlikely, though, as the import of animals into the country is strictly monitored.
Furthermore, unlike other animals that are smuggled into the country, raccoons are certainly not considered an exotic animal but rather somewhat of a pest in Northern America.
Can Raccoons Be Brought Into Australia?
Australia is incredibly strict about which animals can be brought onto their shores. There are a couple of reasons for this.
For one thing, Australia enjoys the distinction of being one of the few rabies-free countries in the world. Thus, they are very concerned with letting in any animal that can disrupt this situation. Unfortunately, raccoons are considered a rabies vector species which makes them a primary carrier.
The other reason that Australia is careful about which animals are let into the country has to do with their unique flora or fauna. The Australian plants and animals haven’t had any interaction with other species for an incredibly long time. As such, they don’t have the ability to defend themselves from any new strains of bacteria or viruses.
Raccoons pose a serious threat as they can also be carriers of raccoon roundworms, leptospirosis, canine distemper, and feline parvovirus. In short, they can easily spread these diseases to other animals in the Australian ecosystem, causing havoc.
There is also no telling how raccoons may impact the native animals or plants in Australia. As such, it is best that they are kept out of the country.
What Is the Closest Animal to a Raccoon That You Can Find?
The closest thing that you may find to a raccoon in Australia is probably the possum. These animals are about the size of a cat. They have protuberant eyes, pointy ears, and a long, bushy tail.
They have thick grey fur and their tail is black.
Technically, raccoons don’t have too much in common. Possums are marsupials while raccoons belong to the Carnivora order. Raccoons tend to be much larger than possums as well.
However, both these creatures are urbanized. This means that it isn’t unusual to find them in cities or residential areas. You may just as likely find them rummaging through your garbage too.
Both animals also have human-like hands with five toes. This makes them very good at grasping things. Possums and raccoons show nocturnal behavior which is why you are more likely to hear than see them outside of their house.
You could say that possums are Australia’s versions of raccoons. In fact, ask any Australian and they would probably agree.
Wombats may be a close second in this comparison. Although they don’t look much like a raccoon apart from the furry body, these animals have been known to make their homes in residential areas too.
In fact, they may even build their burrows under houses. They are also fairly territorial with residential wombats not taking too kindly to encroaching animals of the same species!
Are Raccoons in Australia?
No, raccoons can’t be found in Australia as they are not native to the region – they are also unlikely to be brought into the country – the closes thing that Australia has to raccoons are possums and wombats who exhibit similar behaviors.