When I was knee high to a grasshopper, I had a Fluppet in the shape of a raccoon. Regard:
See how adorable that is? Look at its plaintive face and fluffy little body. Imagine the delight that little hand puppet instilled in me when used by one or other of my parents as a tickling tool and/or storytelling device. Literally the cutest stripey little bastard in the world, a raccoon…. OR SO I THOUGHT.
Then I met one… dear Christ. Regard once more:
Ominous, no? Not the same thing at all. Not to mention that an actual raccoon is not a small critter that would fit snugly on a seven-year-old’s hand, but a big bulky bastard that outweighs our dog on something like a two-for-one basis.
Mind you, that’s not the best comparison I’ve ever made, because our dog is a Delicate Flower and two growth stages away from being outweighed by my kitten. For my English compadres, think of a raccoon as a whole new league of badger: fluffy in theory, bad-tempered in person.
The problem is, raccoons tend to come out in pictures like so:
This is not the truth. This picture almost certainly portrays a group of raccoons posing for effect. I’ve been told that a raccon around these parts will lead a dog to water and then hold its head under, and I believe it, because a raccoon, in my newfound experience, is a lot more like this:
I recently had dinner with Hubby’s best friend, along with his girlfriend and family, during which I was told there was a raccoon outside, in a cage, that they’d had to trap because it kept going after the chickens. They were planning to take it far, far away before setting it free.
I asked if I could have a peek, still under the impression it would want to give me a cuddle, and thus destroyed a lifelong belief. They are fluffy, it’s true, but they are also unnecessarily huge, sport claws the length of my fingers and hiss in an unnerving manner when approached.
Not cute, not cute at all. I’m dreading meeting a porcupine, which I’ve always assumed to be about the same size as a hedgehog, but am told is the circumference of a bin lid.
Still not convinced? Regard one last time:
See? Not cute, just bitey.