The raccoon is a medium-sized mammal native to North America. As a
result of escapes and deliberate introductions in the mid-20th century,
raccoons are now also distributed across the European mainland, the
Caucasus region and Japan. Their original habitats are deciduous and
mixed forests, but due to their adaptability they have extended their
range to mountainous areas, coastal marshes, and even urban areas,
where some homeowners consider them pests. With a body length of 41 to
72 cm (16.1–28.0 in) and a weight of 3.6 to 9.0 kg (7.9–19.8 lb), the
raccoon is the largest procyonid. The dense underfur, which insulates
against cold weather, accounts for almost 90% of the raccoon's grayish
coat. Two of its most distinctive features are its extremely dexterous
front paws and its facial mask, which are also themes in the mythology
of several Native American tribes. Raccoons are also noted for their
intelligence; studies have shown that they are able to remember the
solution to tasks up to three years later. Raccoons are omnivorous and
usually nocturnal; their diet consists of about 40% invertebrates, 33%
plant foods, and 27% vertebrates. Captive raccoons sometimes douse
their food before eating it, which is most likely a vacuum activity
imitating foraging at shores. After a gestation period of about
65 days, two to five young are born in spring. The kits are
subsequently raised by their mother until dispersion in late fall.
Although captive raccoons have been known to live over 20 years, their
average life expectancy in the wild is only 1.8 to 3.1 years. Hunting
and traffic accidents are the two most common causes of death in many
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Syrian Wars: Forces under Ptolemy IV of Egypt defeated Antiochus III
the Great of the Seleucid Empire at the Battle of Raphia.
George V and Mary of Teck were crowned King and Queen of the United
KIngdom at Westminster Abbey in London.
World War II: As over 4.5 million Axis troops began their invasion of
the Soviet Union, the Lithuanian Activist Front took the opportunity to
start an uprising to liberate Lithuania from Soviet occupation and
establish a new government.
Working at the U.S. Naval Observatory, American astronomer James W.
Christy discovered Charon , then considered the sole moon of Pluto.
Argentine footballer Diego Maradona scored both the "Hand of God goal"
and the "Goal of the Century" against England during the quarter-final
match of the FIFA World Cup in Mexico City.
An earthquake measuring 6.5 Mw struck a region of northwestern Iran,
killing at least 261 people and injuring 1,300 others, and eventually
causing widespread public anger due to the slowness of the victims
receiving aid and supplies.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
A small European migratory bunting, Emberiza hortulana, once eaten
whole as a delicacy
Wikiquote quote of the day:
This earth is one of the rare spots in the cosmos where mind has
flowered. Man is a product of nearly three billion years of evolution,
in whose person the evolutionary process has at last become conscious
of itself and its possibilities. Whether he likes it or not, he is
responsible for the whole further evolution of our planet.
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