-Under Construction.- Raccoons are awesome little animals.
While it took humans a long time to even figure out exactly what raccoons were, they finally realized that they are not dogs, cats, bears, or foxes of any kind, though they resemble all of these things, as well as having some traits of monkeys. Many languages use a diminutive word for "bear", and even more make some reference to the raccoon's habit of dipping, washing, and wiping things, including food.
It is a little known fact that the idea of dipping chips into salsa and chicken fingers into dipping sauce were both invented by raccoons and then taught to humans (who then exploited the secret on a much larger scale).
Pretty much like this. Also, leaving food unattended may cause it to be stolen by hungry raccoons.
The word "Raccoon" itself comes from the Algonqin word "arah-kune-em" which literally meant "he who rubs, scrubs, and scratches". The spanish "Mapache" comes from the Aztec word "mapachitli" which meant "one who takes everything in his hands". "Orsetto Lavatore" in Italian means "washing little bear", and the German word "Waschbar" is exactly what it sounds like: "Wash-Bear".
Whatever people call them, they manage to live all over the planet, and always achieve a reputation as rascals and mischief makers. They were native to most of North America, but both their fur and their potential to be interesting pets caused people to take them all over the globe, and in most cases they were able to escape captivity and thrive in nature, fucking up who knows how many ecosystems.
Koi Pond? More like...just a bunch of water with some plants. Also, I took a shit in it for you.
In most places, wild raccoons will be afraid of people, but curious about them, and attracted by any food smells. They naturally hunt and forage, as well as fishing. They eat fish and frogs alike, but even more seem to prefer crabs and crayfish, or other small aqueous invertibrates. Using their poweful claws and teeth, they are able to crack through almost any stubborn shell, and rip out every bit of meat.
Raccoons are certainly stronger than they look, and capable of lifting themselves by even one paw. Is it a paw? It looks like a hand. A scary litte hand with claws. Sharp scary claws.
Yes, these claws are sharp, as much as any cat, but they do not retract like cat's claws do. They use these not only for self defense and to kill their prey, but to climb expertly on many surfaces. Many animals have an aversion to being pointed straight down when climbing, but not raccoons. Their ankles naturally rotate to give them a good grip with their hind claws, and every set of claws is capable of spreading out into a weblike semicircle of hooks.
Their claws also allow them to dig for bugs under the surface of the soil. Which they can hear. Just by standing nearby. That's like hearing what your downstairs neighbors are cooking, and then ripping open the floor and eating it before they have a chance to.
While raccoons seem to only have a limited range of color vision, their other senses do make up for it. Their noses are keen, especially at finding food, but their real advantages are hearing and touch. About a third of a racoon's sensory brainpower is geared entirely toward sorting out tactile sensations.
Raccoons can't actually fly*.
*Also, technically speaking, Mario was eating Tanuki leaves, which gave him the magical power of a japanese raccoon-dog, which is not an actual raccoon, and also can't fly, despite having enormous nuts.**
**This was only called the Raccoon Suit in the non-asian releases of the game. We hope this clears up all confusion (though we know damn well it doesn't).***
***However, we do NOT debate that this was one of the most awesome powers in any Mario game ever.
Raccoons and Humans both keep expanding their territory, so both species are nearly everywhere now. This means many people are likely to encounter raccoons at some point. Be prepared if you think they are nearby!
Even if you do like animals, you don't necessarily want to feed them, because they will come back. If you are prepared to have some food ready for them all the time, and you want some cute furry friends (as opposed to the "furries" you have for friends now...and important side note: keep them away from your raccoon friends), then just make sure you give them food that's good for them.
If you don't want to feed them, then never leave old food in an unsealed garbage can. In fact, most of the time, even a garbage can with a simple latch won't stop them from popping it open. Your best bet is to invest in one impossible to open can, and use that one for food garbage. They'll investigate any food smells, but if something is too hard to open, they'll move on and find something else to eat.
Seriously, they really will take a shit in any water they find.
Having a raccoon who lives with you isn't so much like having a pet as it is like having a small rude roommate who doesn't understand english very well. Try to imagine a midget Robin Williams who steals your food and rips up your furniture, except he can only understand less than half of what you are saying when you say "Please don't eat my dinner while I am trying to eat it. Hey! Come back here!"
Ok, they are cuter than Robin Williams, and probably somewhat hairier. But they know you don't want your food stolen. They're smart, after all. One of the biggest problems with having a raccoon indoors is making it believe you are the dominant raccoon. Otherwise, you are just the tall sucker who hands out food and delivers fresh furniture to destroy. This isn't too different from the average dog.
The other problem is hormones. They are adorable as hell when they are young, but if you don't get them spayed or neutered, when they go into heat, your life is going to be a living hell. They will go crazy trying to get outside, and can rip a window open better than a cat. They can even rip a WALL open if it's not stone or brick. They will also decimate a room to claim it fully (including marking it with anal glands...eww), and become so territorial that if you come within 12 feet of your furry friend, you may have to pay a visit to the emergency room to stitch your bites and scratches up, and maybe to push your eye back in.
Indeed, they can be dangerous during these times, but even if they are "fixed", you will still have to remember not to suddenly surprise them. They do not like loud noise or flashing light, so having a party near them is a bad idea, even if they are somewhat party animals.
The other thing to bear in mind is that they can eat a LOT, and need exercise to keep from getting fat. You also can't forget a feeding, or they will find the food on their own, along with everything else between them and the food. You get it? They like food. Yogi Bear really should have been a raccoon. He would have been smarter and gotten way more picnic baskets.
Actually, with the kind of mischief and destruction they can cause, and all these complicated rules you'd have to follow to avoid it, they kind of remind us of something else...
Yep, like that, except grey, and with much more teeth and claws.
We wouldn't even be that surprised if Chris Columbus and Joe Dante sent us an email saying "We saw a raccoon trying to nail a papillon one day, and thought 'WHAT IF???' and we cranked out Gremlins in like six weeks."
Shit. We have just recieved an email saying we are being sued for revealing the secret origin of the concept for Mogwai. And now we're being sued for using the term "Mogwai", but by the band, not the animal. They wouldn't sue us, they're too cute (the animal, not the band).
Raccoons will eat most things that are smaller than them, but anything the same size or bigger might be percieved as a source of entertainment, or perhaps it will give out food?
Raccoons are naturally nervous around other animals, but usually very curious, and intent to investigate. They are known to simply play with other playful animals on occasion, though any food will likely be stolen by the raccoon.
What's more notable is their occasional random desire to try to have sex with cats or dogs right in front of people's houses. For one thing, that is probably not going to work. Also, it's kind of wrong. You may think we're kidding, but these horny little bastards will try to jump on anything with a tail and pointy ears, kind of like a Trekker at a convention where there's alcohol.
Lots of mammals are just horny bastards, but Raccoons seem to have a special David Duchovny kind of status.
Besides trying to have sex with other animals, they indeed have sex with each other, and it's as much horror-fantasy as it is porn. Let's just start with the male raccoon's equipment. Like the bone. In his dick. Yes, his dick. Instead of relying on blood pressure alone to make their private stand at attention, the penis itself has a long curved bone inside, which...lets it get those hard to reach areas? We don't want to think about it too much.
Not only this, the raccoons natural oral talents are also used as...oral talents. In fact, when a male and female raccoon are going to mate, the usually start out with some oral foreplay...and this can go on for an hour or so. Yeah, before they actually have sex.
While we find all of this a bit difficult to believe, zoologists have assured us it was true.
Many cultures have a place for the Raccoon spirit as a Trickster, which is probably not very surprising.
The native american spirit Azeban is a raccoon spirit who tricks humans into giving him food, and performing tasks for him...which suggests that the native americans had dealt with raccoons before. Yep, that sounds about right.
There is just no way to tell what is going on here...
Some tribes of south americans also held the raccoon sacred, because it's eye markings resembled the painted faces of their medicine men.
Respected cuteologists say that raccoons are very high up on the "Cute Scale", so between their high level of cuteness and their ability to create mischief and hijinx, it's actually surprising there aren't more raccoon characters in cartoons and videogames.
However, they have by no means been forgotten, and many of them have earned a place in the public's heart.
"Over The Hedge" was the CGI animation movie based on a comic strip about animals who are losing their woods to the suburbs. In the Dreamworks movie adaptation, RJ the Raccoon (voiced by Bruce Willis) is an incorrigible food thief who tricks the other animals into helping him collect up enough food to pay off a debt. Cartoon mayhem unfolds at a pretty steady pace as they invade suburban homes and face a variety of nasty humans and other animals on their mission.
RJ teaches children that you don't need to pay for cookies to get them...IF you have a plan.
Mario does get what seems to be a raccoon suit, but as explained, it's a tanuki suit. By now, you may not be very surprised to find out that crafty shop owner and ripoff artist Tom Nook from Animal Crossing is also not a raccoon. Yep, another tanuki. "Tom Nook" is an obvious pun if you know he's a tanuki, and indeed the raccoon-dogs are culturally associated with shopkeeping.
Another tanuki mistaken for a raccoon. Now you probably owe him money for that too.
So are there ANY videogame raccoons that actually are raccoons, and not tanuki? Yes, though not as many as you'd expect. One of the best known so far is Sly Cooper, a raccoon bandit who uses a large hook to assist his missions of thievery.
You can tell from the mask that he's a bandit. Anyone else with a hook this big is probably a hooker though.