Pygmy Raccoon

Central America


Procyon pygmaeus


  • Tourism
  • Road system development
  • Mortality through predators
  • Hurricanes

The Pygmy Raccoon or Cozumel Raccoon is restricted to the Mexican island in the Caribbean Sea. It is considered to exhibit insular dwarfism, being shorter and lighter than other raccoon species, as well as sexual dimorphism due to the heavier weight of males against females. Over 50% of its diet consists of crabs but this generalist omnivore creature also eats insects, lizards, frogs, and fruits.

The part of Cozumel Island that is being developed for tourism, unfortunately, is considered as prime habitat for this island raccoon species. Natural vegetation is almost completely destroyed and replaced by roads and highways. This does not only forces the Pygmy Raccoon from its natural range but also limits their food resources and make them prone to vehicle collision.

Moreover, the alteration to its habitat ecosystem makes the Pygmy Raccoon more exposed to invasive predators including the Boa constrictor snake as well as feral dogs and cats. These introduced carnivores on the island also brought pathogens and parasites that can prove to be fatal for the raccoons or shorten its lifespan.

Hurricanes can also cause direct injury to both adults and juvenile raccoons, which always lead to significant population decline.