Also known as the wash bear, the raccoon is a mammal that lives in wooded areas. But do you know everything about this animal? Here are some raccoon trivia facts.
The raccoon is a mammal that lives in the woods that are near lakes or streams. Often the protagonist of cartoons, the raccoon is drawn as a bear.
In fact, this mammal is also often referred to as a washing bear. But do you know the real reason why the raccoon is also called so? Do you really know everything about this animal? Let’s see together some curiosities.
As mentioned above, the raccoon is often also called washing bear. Why?
Simply because it has the characteristic of immersing itself in water and cleaning food with its front paws.
But this is just one of the many curiosities of this cute mammal, here are some more.
Meaning of the name
Scientifically, the name Procyon, or raccoon, means «before the dog». This is because the raccoon represents a primitive form of canid.
While the English word raccoon, or racoon, which comes from the word aroughcun, and means «animal that scratches with his hands». The English call it that because the raccoon has very skilled hands.
The raccoon is a plantigrade mammal, that is, it is able to support itself on its hind legs while with the front ones it analyzes objects, especially food.
In addition, it has very long toes, equipped with claws that are quite strong and sharp.
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Runner, swimmer and climber
The washing bear is an excellent runner, in fact it can reach 24km/h.
However, it is also a good swimmer, thanks to its webbed paws.
In addition, this cute mammal is an exceptional climber, it can descend from trees upside down, finally rotating with its hind legs to land in the right way.
Where are raccoons found in Italy?
Forests are the natural habitat of the raccoon, which prefers wetlands, near lakes, marshes and rivers.
In Italy, this animal is widespread in several areas:
The importance of black «masks
The famous black «masks» of raccoons, those adorable black marks under the eyes, are very important for these mammals.
In fact, they help the animal to see better. How? The black fur absorbs the light that arrives towards the raccoon, in such a way as to reduce the glare, otherwise the latter would bounce in his eyes and prevent him from seeing in front of him.
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They «see» with their hands
While other animals use sight, smell and sound to see, these tender mammals rely on touch.
A raccoon’s front legs contain 4 times more sensory receptors than its hind legs, making it possible for the animal to see the object or food without actually seeing it.
This is essential for these mammals as being more active at night, in the dark they can hardly see with their eyes.
Also, when raccoons wet their front paws, their receptors have more functionality.
Is the raccoon dangerous?
Although it looks really cuddly, tempting many to wonder if you could adopt it as a pet, in reality the raccoon is a dangerous animal.
Keeping it in captivity would not only be unfair, since it is a wild specimen, but also illegal.
Moreover, although this animal is not aggressive towards humans, it can be a vehicle for serious diseases. Much better, therefore, to leave it free and happy in the wild!
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It has been proven that raccoons are very skilled and intelligent, especially when food is involved.
In fact, researchers have provided 12 raccoons with a series of locks to break or pass through to get close to food.
These fantastic animals were able to break and overcome, including hooks, bolts, levers, padlocks and buttons 11 mechanisms out of 13.
A raccoon in the White House
Strange and unusual curiosity, but true! Among the many pets that a man could live with, the president of the White House, Calvin Coolidge, decided to adopt a raccoon, her name was Rebecca.
However, she was not the only strange animal that President Coolidge had in the White House. In fact he also had at the time a lynx, an antelope, lion cubs, a donkey and a goose.