Raccoon. Procyon looter, is a real character and the bandit mask on his face is very appropriate. There are some folks who see him as a slightly mischievous, but very cute little rascal, and there are others who see him as an unabashed thief and a general pain in the posterior. In our opinion, they are both correct. When the Raccoon family with mom and the kids visits outside the sliding glass door it is hard not to love them, but leave your garbage can lid unsecured and the next morning you will have a very different feeling.

Raccoon is strong, tough, inquisitive, brazen, and extremely intelligent. His skin is very loose on his body and is covered with a dense fur that was used as clothing by Native Americans and early explorers. The British Royal Fusiliers wear a hat made from Raccoon fur as a mark of their participation in the American Revolutionary War. The coonskin cap is tightly wound into the story of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone (although there is some argument about whether they actually wore the ring tailed headgear). The nouveau riche favored Raccoon fur coats in the 1920s. At various times in our history, Raccoon was on the menu, not only in the homes of the hoi polloi, but also in important feasts attended by the hoity-toity of the time. Coon hunting was an important sport through much of our history and a particular breed of Dog, Coon Hound, was developed to tree Raccoon.


Raccoon has remarkable feet. He can turn his back feet around to help climb down a tree, but it is his front paws that are truly extraordinary. He does not have the thumb of Ape, but even so he is extremely dexterous and sensitive in handling objects. Combined with his intelligence he is a master at getting what he wants around the house and those of us who live here full time spend a lot of time and thought in trying to protect our trash as well as our valuables (like shoes left on the porch). We can all tell you stories you would not believe.

Unfortunately, Raccoon is susceptible to various forms of disease including rabies so it is doubly wise for you and your dog to give him his space. (He is another of the reasons we request that your dog stay on leash.) It is extremely rare for Raccoon to attack, but count on him defending himself if he feels threatened. In a fight, the loose skin works to his advantage along with sharp teeth and claws and powerful muscles. If Dog attacks Raccoon nobody wins. That is the reason Coon hunting is done with a pack of Dogs that have a profound respect for their antagonist.

Raccoon is famous for washing his food before he eats it,
but the scientists are still arguing as to why he does it.