National Geographic : 1956 Dec
846 (ourtesy of the American Museum of Natural History Cornfield Raider Scurries to a Stream and Dunks Its Loot If water is available, the coon often wets its food. Scientists are not sure why. struck two balls of white fire: the coon's eyes! They blocked my only avenue of escape. I never force an issue when the odds are against me, so I waited for the raccoon to make the first move. She did. Warily at first, and then with seeming unconcern, she walked around me to the far end of the attic. Relieved, I headed for the ladder. But the moment I blocked the starlight from the win dow and cut off the coon's escape route, she squalled and we hit the hole the same instant. Coons Return to Attic Hideaway Perhaps she only meant to escape. I'll never know. We crashed down the ladder together, hitting about every sixth rung. Then she fled for the woods, taking along some scalp and skin from my right ear lobe. I nailed that window shut right away. But before morning the coons had the boards off the hole at the eaves again. They took the boards from the window, too. I gave up. Raccoons usually avoid a fight, but woe to the dog that meets a big male in the water. The coon will clamber on the dog's head, dig ging the five strong claws of each foot into the skin. He'll stick like a burr until the dog drowns. It is difficult to believe the raccoon capable of such ferocity, especially after watching a mother and her half-grown youngsters cavort ing at the edge of a field in the moonlight. The mother coon seems to encourage the kits to play. Then, while they tumble about, she sits back as if enjoying their antics. Rac coons give the impression of having a sense of humor. Young coons in captivity clown all the time. If raised with another animal -a dog, or cat, or squirrel-they learn to tolerate it (page 845). If caught young and handled often enough, coons make reasonably affectionate pets. It is a rare spring when metropolitan papers do not report a litter of young coons "rescued" from the den tree near someone's front door and being bottle-fed to maturity (page 852).