the travels & travails of an escaped lab rat

Animals: Raccoon

One family of mammals that has become totally acclimated to human encroachment and urbanization is procyonidae.

They are unusual for their thumbs, which though not opposable, when combined with their intelligence and dexterity, enable procyon lotor to get into containers and environments otherwise impregnable to the animal denizens of urban night. This makes them both respected and reviled.

As I have never been a victim of the mess they leave behind in their nightly quest for food, I generally find them cute and inquisitive. I’ve even had a baby raccoon come right up to me and gnaw at my shoes while I stopped to photograph it.

Raccoons are not all sweetness and light, however. They can be quite fierce if threatened, and they have sharp teeth and claws; many may also be carriers of parasites and disease, particularly rabies.

I generally make it a rule never to approach them, but rather let them approach me, and only let them get as close as they feel comfortable getting. If they start to hiss or if I think they’re becoming nervous, I start to back away — that’s what telephoto lenses are for anyway.

Whatchu lookin at?

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Posted in Things by madsci on June 4th, 2010 at 5:53 pm.

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