Difference Between Raccoon and Possum

Raccoon vs Possum

Raccoon and possum are two different types of animals living in two distinct lands exhibiting many important distinctions between them. Therefore, it would be of some interest, to discuss their characteristics. This article attempts to discuss their important and noticeable characteristics, and the presented comparison at the end might be helpful to understand the factual difference between raccoon and possum.


Raccoon, Procyon lotor, is a medium sized mammal yet the largest member of the Family: Procyonidae. They are native to North America including the Central American countries, but there are introduced populations of raccoons in Europe and Japan. Raccoons are about 40 – 70 centimetres long and weigh about 3.5 – 9 kilograms. Their coat of fur consists of a dense undercoat for insulation during cold seasons and a long greyish upper coat. There is no hair cover around the lower end of legs. Their front paws are extremely dexterous, which is they have hypersensitive front paws for sense of touch, a unique feature of raccoons. The facial marks, white face with small black patches around the eyes, make racoons unique among all animals. Their auditory range is broad, and the sense of smell is very well developed, but raccoons are colour-blind animals. They have a bushy tail, which is helpful for them to maintain the body balance on trees. Moreover, the tail has light and dark coloured ring patterning. Raccoon ears are large and slightly rounded, and the edges of ears are white furred. They are nocturnal animals and feed on a variety of food including both plant and animal matter. They are believed to be highly intelligent and live in groups.


Possums are native to Australia and surrounding islands, and there are more than 70 different species of them. They belong to the Order: Diprodontia, under marsupials. Possums have round and flattened face with a small snout. Their large eyes are positioned mostly towards the front. The bushy tail is long and mostly black in colour. Possums have sharp claws, which are useful for their arboreal lifestyle, and the first digit of the hind limb toes does not have a claw and opposable to others. They are nocturnal herbivores that feed on fruits, vegetables, flowers, and young shoots but sometimes they become opportunistic insectivorous. The Australian government supports the conservation of possums by introducing laws to protect them, as they are endemic to Oceania. Possums have different colouration according to the species, and their tops are usually ashy white and bellies are yellowish-orange.


What is the difference between raccoon and possum?

• Possum is a marsupial but the raccoon is not.

• Raccoon is a single species while possums contain over 70 different species.

• Possum is native around Australia, whereas raccoon is native to North America.

• Possum has large round ears, but the raccoon has medium sized round ears.

• Raccoon has a greater sense of touch compared to possum.

• Raccoon has unique facial mask but not in possums.

• Raccoon has black snout, but the possum has pink snout.

• Raccoon is an omnivorous animal, whereas different species of possums have different types of feeding preferences including general herbivorous to specialized eucalyptus feeders or nectar feeders. In addition, some possum species are insectivorous.

• They eyes are large in possum while raccoon has normal sized black colour eyes. However, the eyes of raccoon appear to be large due to the black colour patch.