Monday, January 11, 2010

A "coon's age" is approximately 7 years

A "coon's age" is approximately 7 years (I found a number of variations this number, and 7 was the average). Back in the day, in the early 1800's people believed that raccoons had long lives, around 5-7 years and referred to that length of time as a racoon's age, slurred into "coon's age."

While the raccoons can live up to 20 years, most wild raccoons only make it to about 3 years old. Contrary to the belief that the majority of raccoons are killed by reckless drivers (I once hit a raccoon on the way up to the "haunted" Clinton Road in high school - I felt terrible) The most common cause of death for raccoons in North America is distemper, a multi systemic viral disease that is fatal in raccoons as well as dogs, foxes and skunks.

Another common cause of death? Obesity. Yes. Even the raccoons in the US are overweight. Such was the case with "Bandit" - the world's fattest raccoon. Raccoons usually weight around 25 lbs, but bandit weighed in at around 75 lbs.

Growing up on the edge of the South Mountain Reservation, we had plenty of raccoons in our backyard. Sometimes we would have them trapped, and I always thought the little babies the trapper was going to take "to the country" were sooo cute, that is until their mad momma would jump out of our garbage cans. Some people keep them as pets - hmmm maybe its time for Chloe to get a friend...

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