What Is a Group of Raccoons Called?

With their bandit masks and fluffy ringed tails, the raccoon is one of North America’s cutest native species. Their tiny hands and clever minds, as well as a scavenger’s palate, have earned raccoons the nickname “trash panda.” And while adult raccoons are typically solitary, they’ll sometimes group up around a particularly rewarding food source. One raccoon is just a raccoon, but what is a group of raccoons called?

In order to talk accurately about the adorable critters raiding your trash can, we need to figure out the collective noun for raccoons. Most animals have specific collective nouns– but do raccoons? Let’s find out.

What Is a Collective Noun?

Before we cover what a group of raccoons is called, we first need to understand collective nouns.

A collective noun is a type of noun that refers to a group of individuals, animals, or things as a single entity. Instead of referring to each member of the group individually, as you would with countable nouns, a collective noun treats the group as a whole.

Well-known examples of collective nouns include team, herd, flock, and family. And while you’ve probably heard of these common terms, there are many fun and fanciful collective nouns for animals that are a little more obscure.

What Are the Origins of the Collective Noun for Raccoons?

So what is the collective noun for raccoons? Two are commonly used: gaze and nursery

Gaze of Raccoons

The term gaze for raccoons doesn’t seem to have a clear origin. There are a few theories about where it comes from, however! The first is linked to their eyes. Raccoons, like many mammals, have a membrane in their eyeballs, just behind the retina. This membrane, the tapetum lucidum, is highly reflective. It amplifies the light available at night, improving the night vision of the often-nocturnal animals that have it.

If you’ve ever seen a raccoon at night, you were probably startled by the glowing appearance of its eyes. Set against the dark fur of their facial mask, the bright, greenish glow of raccoons give them a striking gaze! 

Nursery of Raccoons

Another term for raccoons is a nursery of raccoons. Raccoons usually have between two and six kits at a time, and the little ones stay with their mothers for about a year. Raccoon families are very close-knit during this time, and the babies rarely leave their mother’s side for very long.

The next group of kits is born soon after the babies leave. So if you see a group of raccoons, it’s usually a family. The term nursery makes a lot of sense when you think about how it’s a mom and her kits. Male raccoons are more solitary, although sometimes small groups of males will team up to defend a shared territory.

So the next time you hear something climbing on your trash cans at night, have a look outside – it just might be a whole nursery of raccoons!

Keep Your Writing Skills Sharp as a Raccoon’s Gaze

Here at GrammarMill, we think that English is fun. Whether we’re talking about what a group of raccoons is called or how to become a professional writer, we believe that when you know more about language and how it works, you can enjoy the writing process without worrying.

To learn more about different specialized parts of speech, check out the rest of our Grammar Tips!

Cara Secrist
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