Well, it’s almost Thanksgiving, so a story combining raccoons and turkey seems appropriate. Much more so than some recipe for roasted raccoon for Thanksgiving dinner. Anyway, it turns out that paleontology delivered up just the right thing for the season! The gist of it is that once upon a time, roughly 126 million years ago, there were critters called sinosauropteryx. Roughly the size of a modern turkey, about four feet in length and weighing a dozen pounds, these animals were covered in a frizzy coat of feathers that featured a ringed tale and masked eyes. Of course, evolutionary speaking, dinosaurs became modern birds, so this creature would have no relation to the lovable modern mammals. That being the case, the similar characteristics are examples of convergent evolution. The striping is a means of disrupting predators’ ability to perceive the animals in grassy areas and the “mask” is to reduce glare. Interestingly, they were able to determine these characteristics because the darker feathers were actually preserved in the fossil record, due to the extra melanin they contained. The first fossils of these animals were found in 1996, which strikes me as weird because the revelation that dinosaurs were feathered seemed like a more recent development to me.
The Geauga County Fair (“geauga” being the Seneca word for “raccoon”) may be Ohio’s oldest county fair, but it’s otherwise not particularly well known. This year’s festivities, however, made national news as a raccoon (based on the pawprints left atop cakes) broke into the fairgrounds on August 31 and made a meal of seven of the elven best in show baked goods nominees out of about 1,500 baked goods products the animal had to choose from.
You can watch some hard hitting reporting on the burglary from Inside Edition below:
In response, the fair organizers put up wanted posters, although in an example of species profiling they used a generic picture of a raccoon versus one of the particular bandit(s) who engaged in the theft.
Not much to say about this one. A video from Lake Worth, FL showed up online showing a man offering a can of Coca Cola to a raccoon he refers to as “Booboo.” None of the links I found made it clear if this is his pet or what. But oh, it’s so cute when she’s using her little hands to try and open up the can. Spoiler warning: she doesn’t get the Coke. 😦
There’s been a lot about raccoons and food in the news, lately. Which is fine by me!
First, YouTube user Peter Jansen late last year this raccoon was spotted making a Mission Impossible-like heist of a donut from a shop in the greater Toronto area.
Then, Twitter user Ryan Nelson recently tweeted a Vine video (now deleted, but you can see a copy of it from Youtube below) of a raccoon putting what would have been a tasty, delicious hunk of cotton candy (which is called “candy floss” in certain backwards parts of the world) into the water (as raccoons are prone to do) only to have it vanish into the pool.
This lead to all sorts of mental masturbation about metaphors for life and futility and whatnot. Also people felt sorry for the poor little guy. That’s only because they didn’t look into the matter further. For, you see, this was only a clip from a longer segment of a Japanese television show. In the full footage, we learn that the raccoon tried wetting the cotton candy blocks twice before eating it directly on the third attempt.
So there’s you metaphor for you. Try and try but don’t forget to try it different ways. I feel sorry for the people who just saw the initial attempt and left it at the depressing ending!
And most recently a pair of chubby little raccoons recently invaded a Chinese restaurant in the Bronx (by strolling in through the front door.) A diligent employee had to fight them off with a broom before they got into the kitchen.
The holiday crass comedy The Night Before, from writer/director Jonathan Levine–who also did Warm Bodies (which I’ve yet to see, even though I keep meaning to) and 50/50 (which also starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen)–came out this week. Doing the usual press junket were the stars of the film, including actor Anthony Mackie (I forgot he was in Real Steel.) During a round table with most of the cast for Entertainment Tonight, Mr. Mackie talked about how he knows a place in his native New Orleans that will stuff a turkey with all kinds of other meat, including raccoon. While his fellow actors responded with a mixture of curiosity and a little revulsion, he went on to express that raccoon makes for some tasty meat, but that he doesn’t get to enjoy it too often.
So hey, if you’re looking for to add a little variety to your meal this Thanksgiving, consider some more exotic … yet entirely domestic … meats. Toss in a little raccoon of squirrel. It’ll certainly be more interesting than something with the Butterball label slapped on it.