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(Procyon lotor)


THE raccoon belongs to the Carnivora and is closely related to the bears. It weighs from 10 to 25 pounds, is of a brownish-gray colour with black tipped hairs over the back and dark rings on the tail, and, when captured as a cub, is easily tamed. It does not appear to have the fighting characteristics peculiar to the mustelidae and, there-fore, might possibly be easily kept in a wooded area where numerous dens and hollow trees are found. Its habits are somewhat similar to those of the bear. It hibernates in winter, so that probably mating takes place in the fall, and the young are born about May 1. It will eat meat of all kinds, frogs, corn and vegetables. One breeder said that he had fed his pair almost wholly on wheat shorts supplemented with table scraps.

A heavily-wooded area, several acres in extent, with a creek i unning through, affords a favourable site for a raccoon ranch. The fence enclosing it should be of No. 14 galvanized woven wire, 2-inch mesh, with a substantially constructed overhang. A sheet of iron around the top of the fence would also help to prevent escape.

Brass estimates the yearly production of pelts at 600,000-all from America. The northern pelts are best and No. 1 large northern are now quoted at $4.50 each, with prices advancing sharply. Near large cities the flesh also may be sold for fifty cents or more.

If the rich mahogany-coloured raccoons could be secui ed and bled true to colour, and if present prices were maintained, a profitable industry could probably be built up in northern districts after the necessary experience had been acquired.

The fact that raccoons are found in only a few portions of Canada does not mean that they cannot be successfully raised in more northern regions if food is provided. In general, it is safer to move a fur-bearer from a warmer to a colder home than to reverse the process.

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