Death of a raccoon

Relax, not that raccoon.

But that raccoon got me exploring to find out whether raccoons have ever been elevated to the lofty status of NewsCut.

Yep. Twice.

Return with us now to July 2015, when Toronto made it cool to stop what you’re doing to give a damn about a raccoon before dropping what you’re doing to give a damn about a raccoon was cool.

We love you so very much, Internet.

In Toronto, authorities were slow to pick up a dead racoon. So people started creating a memorial to it, and created a hashtag on Twitter — #deadraccoonTO — to honor it.

Jason Wager got things started when he called animal control.

Someone placed a single red rose, and as the hours of neglect mounted, so did the size of the memorial to “Conrad.”

Night fell and candles were lit.

And then Conrad was picked up by a city worker, thrown in a plastic trash bag, and removed.

But his memory shall live on.

A Toronto city councillor summed up the mood of his city.

NewsCut and raccoons had an earlier relationship. In 2010, former MPR’er and occasional NewsCut fill-in David Cazares exercised a tried-and-true way to feed the blog beast: think of a word, find news about it.

Here’s one way to generate an idea for a blog post: Enter the first word that pops into your mind into Google News. For reasons I care not to examine deeply, the word today was “raccoon.” So, let’s look at raccoons-in-the-news, shall we?


In Alameda, California this week, raccoons descended upon a woman walking her dog in a park. Excerpt:

An Alameda woman was receiving rabies shots as a precaution after being attacked by five raccoons over the weekend during an ordeal she described as like something out of a horror movie.

The Sunday night raccoon attack in Alameda’s Washington Park was not the first such incident, according to wildlife officials.

The attack on Rachel Campos was the ninth since June and the worst so far as the victim found herself fighting off five raccoons while she walked her dog.

“I knew it was a bite, but I don’t remember pain,” remembered Campos. “I was just screaming bloody murder: ‘Help me! Help me! Help me!'”

In Kentucky yesterday, a driver flipped his car trying to avoid a raccoon, sending two adults and one child to the hospital.

Raccoons have taken up residence in a posh Staten Island neighborhood.

Last week, raccoons mauled a north Georgia infant:

Raccoon attacks are rarer than this Google News search makes them look. According to the Wikipedia entry on raccoons, “Serious attacks on humans by groups of non-rabid raccoons are extremely rare and are almost always the result of the raccoon feeling threatened…” And says the Minnesota DNR:

Although rabies is quite rare in raccoons in Minnesota, no bite by a wild carnivore should be ignored. Raccoons are normally not aggressive, but will defend themselves if captured or cornered. If you are bitten by a raccoon, every attempt should be made to capture or kill it (without damage to the head) so that it can be tested for rabies by the Minnesota Department of Health. Medical treatment and advice should also be sought.

Here are some raccoon-related things you may not know:

1. Estes Kefauver often wore a coonskin hat during his 1948 campaign for U.S. Senate.

2. The first edition of Joy of Cooking included a raccoon recipe.

3. Dakota people believed raccoons had spirit power.

4. Due to intentional and unintentional acts, the North American native raccoons are now spread across much of Europe and Asia.

5. Bobcats, coyotes, and owls are among the top raccoon predators.