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Crazy Alphabet Challenge: The letter R: Raton-Laveur

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Good morning everybody. For the letter R, I thought at first of talking about the « renard » or fox but then the « raton-laveur » or raccoon or simply coon popped into my head. I have seen a fox only once but I have seen several raccoons in my lifetime and I never had any problems with them. I also just adore their sweet little face so here comes the « raton-laveur » presentation.

The raccoon is a carnivorous mammal that is also an omnivore. Actually the raccoon’s diet is quite extended from small aquatic animals (fish), to corn and fruits and nuts to snakes to small rodents and birds and even waste and garbage. Yes the coon is a rather opportunistic critter. How many of you have seen a raccoon ravaging your garbage can? I have on two occasions at least.

The « raton-laveur » was first found in North America and then brought in Europe. The « First Nations » used to hunt it mainly for its fur and it is still hunted to this day for its fur.

A raccoon looks like a little bandit with its black markings around its eyes. His fur is usually grey but some are light brown and the long tail has 5 or 7 rings on it. The nose is long and pointed with also a black or brown band descending along it. His ears are short and all this compared to a rather large head. An adult raccoon is rather large with a body length of 16 to 28 in (40 to 80 cm) and a weight of 11 to 57 pounds (5-26 kg). Also just like a husky, raccoons have thick underfur insulating him very well during the winter season.

It is to be noted that the coon or « raton-laveur » presents great dexterity with its front paws on which he has five digits with five non retractable claws. He has the same on his back paws. The raccoon is also extremely intelligent. Some studies suggests that a coon can remember, for up to three years, certain solutions to different tasks. Talk about intelligence: even I cannot compare myself to a coon…

Of course before the arrival of Europeans the raccoons lived in the forest areas mostly but today raccoons live just about anywhere they can even in the midst of cities and human population. In fact some of you might have heard about the raccoon who climbed a 25 storey building in St Paul, Minnesota. Here is a picture of the poor exhausted raccoon who rested up on a window ledge of the building before continuing its climb to the top of the building when it was finally caught on the roof…

Yes the « raton-laveur » is an excellent climber, robber and even pets to some people…

The origin of the word « raton-laveur » first off comes from the fact that a coon almost has the same shape as a large rat thus the word « raton ». The word « laveur » comes from the fact that a raccoon whenever eats fish seems to wash his hands while kneading its prey between his hands (wash is laver in French). The pronunciation of the word is fairly easy. The first part is « rat « whether in English or French. The second part is « on » the same in English but without pronouncing the letter « n ». The next word is slightly harder. The first part « la » sounds just like English « lard » but without the « rd ». The next part « veur » sounds like the last part of voyeur but with an l instead of a y.

Hope you enjoyed my presentation of the « raton-laveur » aka raccoon just as much as I enjoyed writing about this cute little critter. See you soon for the letter S.


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Written by HistoryGal

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    • Actually the Raton-laveur is a North American animal which was introduced in Europe. I do not know how it is faring in Europe but I would assume the Northern regions would see a fair amount of raccoons… Thanks (as always) for your visit and comment and up vote.

  1. I saw a Racoon in the Auckland Zoo a long time ago and have not seen another since..
    I saw one in a cage and chatted to it, it seemed to talk back to me. I allowed it to sniff my hand and it licked it and we had a good time.
    When I left I saw a sign…”Please don’t touch the Racoon!” Yes, I did pat it but it never hurt me…

    • Raccoons are generally friendly enough especially the ones living in or near people. They do have the cutest face… the ones that I fed was a whole brood with mother and three youngsters… Thanks for visiting and commenting and up voting.

    • I came face to face with a raccoon twice. Once three raccoons were clinging to the outside of my house probably scared of the neighbour’s dog barking. The second time a mother raccoon had toppled our garbage can to get to some scraps inside. Actually she toppled it three times until I gave her and her three youngsters some cat food. Then they left. It was quite the enjoyable experience. Thanks for visiting and commenting and up voting. BTW where do you live? I assumed you were American…

    • Sorry to disappoint you Ghulam but the Raton-laveur is not a dog although there is a species of raccoon dog in Asia including Japan. But they are totally different species. The raccoon dog is related to the fox while the North American and European raccoon is more related to the bear family according to my research. Still a big thanks for dropping in and commenting and up voting.

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