Note: Information is dated. Do not rely on it.Raccoon. A small family of plantigrade carnivorous mammals, bear-like in appearance and of small size. The raccoons are peculiar to America, where they range from British Columbia and Canada to Arizona. The common raccoon is a pretty animal, about the size of a cat, but much stouter; it has a long brown or grizzled coat, a ringed and bushy tail, and a turned-up nose. Its legs are short, and are armed with strong claws, useful for digging or climbing. In its attitudes it is somewhat monkey-like, and usually sits upon its haunches when feeding, holding its food in its fore paws. It has a curious habit, too, of washing articles given to it, and of soaking any food in water before eating it. Its skin is highly valued as a fur, and is consequently much sought after in North America, where the animal is widely distributed.