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What is it?
The raccoon is a medium-sized mammal and the largest member of the procyonid family with 22 known subspecies. Its most distinguishable feature is the black mask of fur around its eye area. Many folk tales from the mythology of the indigenous peoples in the Americas surround the raccoon. A number of tales depicted the raccoon as a trickster that would constantly outsmart other animals. These myths are somewhat rooted in truth as the raccoon is considered to be an intelligent and cunning animal, capable of learning and memorizing solutions to tasks for up to three years. Often referred to as nature’s ‘little bandits’, these creatures have a density of neurons in their cerebral cortex comparable to that of primates. With a very well-developed sense of touch and their highly dexterous front paws have five toes on them and act much like human hands. Even inexperienced raccoons can easily open jar’s, uncork bottles or open door latches.
4: Michaela Lee
While, 28-year-old Michaela Lee was walking her dog in Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, Washington, she encountered a group of raccoons. It happened after Madison, her six-year-old American dingo, got loose and chased one of the raccoons up a tree. She went to grab the animal’s leash and that’s when it all began. Lee tried to run but the raccoons chased her. Madison’s Barking and snarling eventually drove them off.
Where is it located?
Even though they’re North American, raccoons can also be found in Central America, Japan and Europe. Although previously believed to be solitary creatures recent evidence suggests that they engage in gender-specific social behavior. Related females are known to share a common area while unrelated males will live in groups of up to four animals to maintain their position and other males when mating season comes. Since they’re so adaptable, raccoons can make their home in a wide variety of habitats and climates. These homes are called dens and their location ranges from caves and tree hollows to vehicles, barns, attics and other man-made structures. Raccoons are nocturnal and omnivorous creatures, meaning that they are most active at night and that they eat both meat and vegetation. Some of their favorite animal treats include rodents, insects, bird eggs, frogs or crayfish.
In December 2017, a four-month-old girl named Jourini encountered a raccoon. When Ashley Rodgers, Jourini’s mother, took her six-year-old son to the bathroom Jourini was asleep on a bed in their Philadelphia home. An officer from The Care and Control Team of Philadelphia attended the home but didn’t manage to find the raccoon.
2: Charlotte Ponce
When Charlotte Ponce was only three months old in 2003, she was involved in a raccoon incident that would forever change her life. The family’s pet raccoon completely tore off Charlotte’s nose and her left ear. It’s believed that the animal was attracted to milk that had spilled onto the girl’s face from the bottle left in her cot. When she arrived at the hospital, one of nurses reportedly claimed that ‘you could see right through her gums’. Soon after, Charlotte’s biological parents lost custody over their children. Charlotte and her brother were adopted by their great aunt and uncle, Sharon and Tim Ponce. Cartilage was taken from her rib and grown in her arm, afterwards it was carved into the shape of an ear using computer technology. Charlotte would eventually enter her teen years with a new nose and a new ear.
Precautionary measures are always the best option towards avoiding any negative consequences of raccoon interaction. This means making your home uninviting to the raccoon by not leaving food lying around and securing trash cans, fish ponds, swimming pools or bird feeders. Loud noises, unpleasant odors and flashing lights may provide a temporary solution but the best thing to do is to contact a specialist.
1: San Francisco Raccoon Attacks
Back in 2015 residents from the Richmond District in San Francisco encountered numerous raccoons. In August a couple was sent to the hospital. Two months later, another couple visiting was out for a walk with their daughter’s dogs. As Brendan O’Sullivan and his wife were returning home, they encountered about a dozen raccoons.