Raccoon, the little brother of the bear

   The raccoon is a mischievous animal often called "little brother of the bear." Like the bear, raccoons have stocky bodies, pointed muzzles, and feet with naked soles. They are plantigrades, meaning that they walk on the entire sole of the foot. These flesh-eating animals have sharp, curved claws that cannot be drawn in. Al
though the body is covered with coarse, grayish hair, black patches often mark the eyes and black rings circle the tail.
   Raccoons may be found throughout most of North and Central America. These curious little animals are nocturnal, usually sleeping during the day, and hunting at night. They eat fish, frogs, crayfish, and mussels which they catch in the shallow water along the edges of ponds and streams. They also eat fruit, berries, nuts, honey, corn and hunt birds, mice, reptiles, insects, and occasionally poultry. When water is available, they will carefully wash their food before eating.
   Baby raccoons are born in late spring, either in a hollow tree, in a crevice among some rocks, or in a burrow in the ground.
   Raccoons are wanted for their fur which is made into coats and coonskin caps in which the long bushy tail is used as a tassel.
   Raccoons are hunted at night with the help of dogs. Raccoons are courageous fighters. If captured young, these intelligent little animals are easily tamed and may be kept as pets.