The Ring Tailed Robber By Leah Have you ever heard a bump in the night and the sound of a, “Chomp, chomp, chomp,” coming from your door? You go out to investigate… you see two little beady eyes shining in the dark, sparkling with the slight amount of light coming from your bedroom door. You think the worst, and move cautiously toward the light switch. You turn on the kitchen light and you hear a scuffling sound. You see a gray fuzz rush out your cat door. EEEEKKK! A raccoon was just inside your house eating your poor cat‟s food! Most of us know that raccoons are frisky little devils, but what else do we know about them? Well, if you‟ve ever wondered what raccoons eat, where they live, and what they„re all about, than you‟ve come to the right place. I‟m here to tell you all of these things. I concocted an experiment to find out whether the raccoon‟s nasty little stereo-type is true. Are they robbers of food, or are they simply trying to live? Will they choose human food, or food from nature? So go to the next slide and expand your knowledge! Raccoon Habitat Raccoon‟s live in a very wide area. They come all the way from the Pacific Northwest and go all the way down to Mexico and the eastern states. Even into southern Canada. They have also been introduced into parts of Asia and Europe. Their population is growing and doing splendidly! Raccoons prefer a mostly wet climate. Mostly in forest areas by rivers, creeks or streams. However, in the past few years they have been know to thrive in urban areas as well. Water is definitely a main source of life for raccoons. After all, their Latin name (Procyon lotor) does mean, “Dog Washer”. Fact! Raccoons “wash” their food before they eat it. Size, Color and Tracks Raccoons vary in sizes and shapes. Raccoons are normally 6-22 kg, and are 60-95 mm long. The tail accounts for approximately 20-40 mm of this length. They are pretty much the size of a medium dog. The raccoon has a masked face with a gray body. Their most recognized characteristic is their ringed tail. What would raccoons prefer? Manufactured foods (like restaurant and processed food), or elements of nature (like grubs, berries, and fish). I believe Raccoons will prefer food from man, like fried fish, sugar, and garlic bread. Maybe the fact that it is something new, and different will entice them to take a little nibble. • three pieces of cardboard (8” by 11”) • three pieces of aluminum foil (each preferably 15” long) • duct tape • paper cup • garlic bread, grubs, tuna fish, fried fish, sugar, berries • fluorescent tracking powder • digital camera • black light • clip board, paper, pencil 1) Gather materials and set up trays. 2) Take materials and trays with you and go to the trail. 3) Set trays in an area proven to have raccoons. 4) Take photos with digital cameras and take notes on location of the trays, and what they look like. 5) Leave, come back in a few days with materials. 6) Observe trays and take photos. 7) Pick up trays and other garbage surrounding and go back to the lab. 8) Based on data, make a conclusion. Observations and Data I observed that all of the man made food was gone. Some of the natural food was still there, but not very much. Also, the powder that I sprinkled over the trays, was dispersed everywhere. One of my trays was turned over, as if animals were looking for more. Another was moved from its original location, to several feet to the west. Conclusion Ideally, to come up with a proper conclusion, I would have to repeat my experiment several times. I would also only leave my trays out for only one day. Based upon my one experiment, I believe Raccoons prefer man made food to natural food, when given a choice. Therefore, raccoons are thieves! Those little robbers!!!
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