Raccoon
Etiquette

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Sharing of Food

When there is enough food for all, and also enough bowls, food should be peacefully shared with other raccoons. If there are not enough bowls then it is allowed to growl, snarl, nip or wrestle to decide who gets the bowl. Really hurting each other is not allowed.

Butting-In

It is never allowed to attack another raccoon from behind. This rule can be used to peacefully force another raccoon to relinquish a bowl. One approaches butt first. The other raccoon will not attack, but instead will usually turn his butt toward you. Then it becomes a pushing match. If you can push the other one away, you get the bowl.

Sometimes, instead of a pushing match, this behavior can lead to sharing a bowl. The two raccoons end up butt-to-head on opposite sides of the bowl. Each one sort of reaches back to get food. As long as they don't face each other, peace prevails.

Family Ties

It is polite to remember your siblings (and your mom) for at least a year after Mom kicks you out of the den. A brief smell should verify that this is a raccoon you are related to. If you're real polite you will even share a bowl with your sibling. And if you really like each other you may share a den and travel your range together.

Mothers and Kits Rule

Mothers and their kits have absolute priority at the feeding site. It doesn't matter how big you are -- if a kit challenges you for a bowl you must act like a wimp and retreat. Mother raccoons deserve pretty much the same respect. And don't even look like you might interfere with the babies -- mother raccoons are fearless. But in general, because everybody is polite, there are no problems. The kits are always interested in other raccoons, be they kits or adults. Just act submissive and Mama will leave you alone.

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All Text and Images Copyright © 1999 David Wittler
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