Central Park is home to numerous raccoons (Procyon lotor), medium-sized mammals native to North America and the most widespread species of the family Procyonidae. They are most easily distinguished by a facial mask (that permits better night vision) and a striped tail. While they are extremely adaptable animals and tolerate humans and urban environments very well, unlike squirrels and pigeons, they generally shy away from direct human contact. As omnivores, they are quite at home in the park eating plants, other small animals and/or whatever park goers have left behind. They grow to be quite large and with a hunched back and stealthy gait, can be a bit disturbing to see cross the road. While primarily nocturnal, they are occasionally seen foraging during the day, oblivious to tourists that inevitably gawk at them.
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