What’s The Meaning Of A Raccoon Tattoo?

Nowadays, tattoos of living animals are causing quite a craze in the tattoo scene. Live things are full of meanings and they can be interpreted in several ways which makes the artwork quite open to the imagination. Raccoon tattoos are no different. Still, you have to think twice before getting a tattoo. What it means or how you should use it. Take a step back and think, What is the meaning of a raccoon tattoo?

The raccoon tattoo represents all of the raccoon’s distinct characteristics. There are two sorts of meanings represented by tattoos. One kind is the positive connotations which include harmony, adaptability, intelligence, vigilance, resourcefulness, and stealth. The other category is negative meaning, which includes deception, treachery, decay, and lawlessness.

In this article, we will explain the different meanings of the raccoon tattoo in contemporary and different cultural settings. We will also discuss the distinct styles of the tattoo and other physical characteristics of the tattoo. Without further ado, let’s dive into the article.

The Meaning of The Racoon Tattoo

The raccoon tattoo usually symbolizes all the characteristics that make a raccoon a unique animal. These characteristics include positive connotations such as resourcefulness, stealth, adaptability, intelligence, harmony, vigilance, and self-confidence. However, the tattoo also carries some negative connotations such as trickery, decay, deception, and lawlessness.

While the raccoon tattoo is becoming a hot design nowadays, its history of it began in the 80s. During the 80s and the 90s, America was experiencing a cultural shift.

The Hippie movement was dying down but the 80s brought a new wave of revitalization to the cultural scene with its ‘counter-culture’ aesthetic. Raccoons fit this aesthetic scene and soon became a rage in the tattoo community.

Artists from the counter-culture aesthetic identified themselves with the animal due to its outcast nature and adopted the animal as a symbol of going against the tide.


Raccoons are known for their resourcefulness. These small mammals are notorious for outwitting every trap that has been set for them. Often, they outwit these traps with ingenious maneuvers. They gather what they find laying around them to create a solution that sometimes baffles even humans.

For these reasons, the raccoon has always been seen as a symbol of resourcefulness. People who get this tattoo, try to convey the message that they are not that simple to trick or manipulate.

Rather, they will face every hurdle that life throws out at them with the help of their sharp mind.


Raccoons are very stealthy in nature. They have been sometimes lauded as ‘master thieves’ due to their silent and agile nature. They have very soft paws which cover up any noise that may alert people of their presence.

The color of their coats gives them the perfect camouflage at night. This camouflage helps them to disappear into the night without leaving a sign. Their supposed ‘mask-like’ pattern is also seen as a mask that covers their ‘identity’.

People who get the raccoon tattoo try to convey a message that they are also stealthy like the animal. Like the raccoon, they also adapt to covering up their tracks and can disappear in a single motion.


Raccoons are hugely celebrated for their adaptability. They are known to survive any type of environment it in the wild or in the city. They have a wonderfully vast diet that allows them to eat almost anything. They can also survive on very little food and water if the situation is dire.

Their strong stomach also gives them the ability to derive nutrition from garbage scraps and other waste. Where other animals have difficulties to adapt into city life, the raccoon is seen as a champion who has adapted and conquered megacities like New York!

People who get this tattoo, want to convey the meaning that they can survive any scenario that life throws at them. No matter if it is the real jungle or the concrete jungle, they can and will prevail over the challenges.


Raccoons are known to be quite intelligent animals. They can solve basic math problems, and classic traps and can provide a solution to any problem that they are presented with.

Their quick instinct and good judgment capabilities make them excellent survivors. They also keep a sophisticated communication channel between them which is a sign of their intelligence.

People who get this tattoo can use it to express their confidence in their own intelligence. The tattoo can also be interpreted as their own wish to be intelligent like the raccoon.


The raccoon might not look like the most harmonious animal, but they are quite peaceful and easy-going. Due to their adaptability, raccoons live quite content with their surroundings. They are not terrestrial and make do with what they have.

Their peaceful and easy-going nature enables them to create a harmonious relationship with the external environment. 

The raccoon tattoo can be interpreted as the tattoo wearers wishing to live harmoniously with their surroundings. They are easy-going and quite content with their resources to the point that they don’t wish to get into silly competitions.


Raccoons are quite vigilant animals. They have to fend off predators twice their size in the wild to survive. In the cities, they have to combat a lot of problems such as noise, people, dogs, and vehicles to survive.

This makes them quite vigilant animals who are always aware of their surroundings. This survival and vigil make the raccoon quite a survivor.

People who get this tattoo might express the meaning that they are quite vigilant on their own. Their guard is always up and they are always checking their surroundings for any signs of danger.

Trickery and Deception

Raccoons are known for their stealing habits. They steal everything that they can find. From food to batteries, they are master thieves who can disappear without a trace. They can also sometimes deceive a person by appearing harmless and attacking when the person gets too close.

The tattoo can represent the ideas of trickery and deception. The tattoo wearer might want to express the meaning that they are not what they appear to be. They have layers to them which makes them a formidable enemy.

Decay and Survival

Raccoons usually roam in desolate areas where people don’t live generally. This makes the raccoon a popular symbol of decay and ruin. In most dystopian literature or media, The raccoon is a common animal that roams the ruins and survives over the waste.

The tattoo can express the meaning that the tattoo wearer is going through a bad time. The life they are leading is quite a ruin but like the raccoon, they know how to survive. They will outlive the disaster and emerge victorious.


The raccoon is called the ‘burglar animal’ for its mask-like facial pattern. True to this name, the raccoon is quite the master thief. They steal food and other things from human households.

Some think that the facial pattern of the raccoon gave birth to the famous burglar masks that we see in media and cartoons. Oftentimes, ex-convicts get this tattoo to express their memories behind the cell or their crime-filled past.

The Different Cultural Interpretations of The Raccoon Tattoo

Due to the raccoon being solely native to the North American continent, very few cultures had direct contact with it, and has meaning behind the animal. Nevertheless, the meanings are quite different from each other and portray the animal in both positive and negative lights.

Native American

The raccoon is a native animal to North America exclusively. They are an invasive species in Europe and Asia. For this reason, the raccoon holds a special place in Native American folklore, myths, and legends.

The word ‘Raccoon’ originated from the Powhatan word ‘Arahkun’ which roughly translates to ‘he scratches with his hands’.

The Native Americans view the raccoons as tricksters who outwit others with their craftiness. The raccoon is treated as a cunning and intelligent animal that can fight any hurdle and solve any problems that life can throw at them.

They are also treated as harmonious animals for raccoons can easily adapt to human societies without worry.


The Japanese Tanuki closely resembles the raccoon. Both of them have the same type of ‘mask pattern’ on their face.

The animals are closer in size and almost similar in their diet and lifestyle. Like the raccoon, the tanuki is also seen as a mischievous animal that likes to puzzle unassuming humans.

They are known to be great tricksters and trick humans into unpleasant scenarios for the sake of fun. But, they are not evil or malevolent. Rather, they are seen as a naughty child who just wants to have some fun.


The raccoon was not native to Europe until the 19th century. For this reason, there is not a lot of myth or legend regarding the raccoon in Europe. Still, raccoons have a place in European society as a trickster and resourceful animals.

Their ‘mask-like facial pattern has made them a symbol of thievery and banditry. The Celtic think that the mask-like pattern is a divine punishment for the raccoons as they compulsively steal food and other things from human households.


In Canada, The perception of the raccoon is quite different from others. They are seen as scrappy heroes rather than a trickster. They are seen as symbols of adaptability for their easy adaptation to city life.

They are also seen as scrappy heroes due to their garbage consumption which somewhat keeps the city clean from waste. As a symbol of urbanization, they are regularly portrayed as ‘City animals’ in Canadian media.

Different Art styles Regarding The Racoon Tattoo

The raccoon tattoo design has been on the scene for quite some time. With time, the design has evolved and reinvented its image in various lights. In this article, we will discuss some prominent art styles regarding this design.

Each art style has its own unique characteristics which convey the intended meaning in an easier and lighter way.


This particular style of tattoo is the most famous of them all. The tattoo style highlights the mischievous and cunning side of the raccoon in an artistic way. People who have a good sense of humor get this particular style of tattoo.

The tattoo generally features the animal in comedic scenes such as drinking, in a dustbin, or in a fight. The raccoon can also be portrayed with other cartoonish elements such as guns or other cartoon characters.

The main goal of this style is to express the wearer’s mischievous and funny side. The usual color palette of this style is colorful. Without colors, the cartoonish effect will be incomplete.


This style of tattoo is very popular among people. This style features detailed and lifelike artwork that makes the critter appear very much alive. The meaning of the tattoo is based on specific features.

The best thing about this tattoo style is that it can be easily customized. You can make them appear in any way you want. You can add your personal touches to the tattoo to make it your own. The color palette of this style is black and white.

The dark aesthetic gives the style a live touch.

Traditional American

This style of tattoo is a prominent style for raccoon tattoos. This style emerged from the American effort to distinguish themselves from the European house. These designs usually feature flowers or a compass around the animal.

The animal might be portrayed as a comedic effort holding ting daggers or guns. The whole purpose of this style is to present an aesthetic of traditional Americana.

The Placement of The Racoon Tattoo

The tattoo is supposed to go somewhere where it can be easily seen. Most tattoo featuring the raccoon goes in the arm. To be more specific, the raccoon tattoos usually go into the forearm and just above the armpit.

Getting a tattoo on the forearm is quite a wise decision. Usually, the tattoo features the animal on all four limbs and walking or running. They can also be cute designs where the animal is striking a pose with something.

The forearm is perfect for these type of tattoos due to the easy visibility of the tattoo. It allows you to show off the tattoo to people. Also, if needed, you can easily hide the tattoo.

You can also get the tattoo on the other parts of your body. We would suggest the following body parts for the tattoo.

  • Side or front of your thigh
  • Along the side of your torso
  • On the Calf
  • On top of the foot
  • Below the knee pit

Last Thoughts

Next time when someone asks you the meaning behind a raccoon tattoo, show them this article and blow their mind with how a simple tattoo can have a layered meaning. 

The raccoon tattoo symbolizes all the unique properties ascribed to the raccoon. There are two types of meaning that the tattoo symbolizes. One type is the positive meanings which include harmony,adaptibility, intelligence, vigilance, resourcefulness, and stealth.

The other type is the negative meaning which consists of trickery, decay, deception, and lawlessness.
We hope this article helped you in your quest for the answers. Now, Roll up your sleeve and get ready to ink up!

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