Why do raccoons have masks?

I just learned something that I never knew about raccoons. Those cute, little masks that make them look like four-pawed bandits actually serve a purpose. By absorbing moonlight, starlight, and artificial light around the raccoon’s eyes, the masks reduce glare, allowing them to see more clearly at night.

Photo by Maureen Seibert

Some raccoons are “palefaces,” and have white masks. This is a genetic mutation, more common with raccoons in coastal areas.

Animals have an amazing ability to evolve so they can be better equipped to survive in their environment. It is survival of the fittest, after all!